Gingerbread, most certainly a delicacy of Yorkshire. God's Own County. It's a wonderfully easy bake, utilising the melting method. The bake produces a lovely soft sponge packed with flavour, which keeps incredible well, definitely improving as everyday passes. The cake becomes stickier and far more flavoursome, so it's wise to wrap the cake well and store in an airtight container for a day or two before cutting into it. And, the smell in your home as the cake bakes is simply wondrous!
Gingerbread is certainly a firm favourite in our household. As children, my maternal Grandma would regularly make a tray-bake version of this and generously packaged most of it up for us to enjoy at home. It certainly didn't last long! Grandma always referred to her bake as 'Parkin'. Sadly she took her recipe to the grave, she was one of those fabulous bakers who knew her recipes like the back of her hand so had no need to write it down. Therefore, when we fancied re-creating it after her passing we were unable to, despite being present when she made it on more than one occasion. Thumbing through recipe books we noticed that parkin actually contains oats/oatmeal and the recipe Grandma actually made was definitely more akin to gingerbread.
When we first tried this recipe, which comes from The Great British Book of Baking, we were transported back to the days when Grandma made her 'Parkin'. So, although this recipe isn't actually what she made, it is most certainly VERY VERY similar.
So, if you've never made a gingerbread before (why not?) or tried this version, then we must encourage you to try it. It's divine.
Yield: 12 generous slices
Cost: £1.97; that's just over 16p per slice.
Time: about 15 minutes, plus 40-45 minutes baking time, and cooling time.
Adapted from: The Great British Book of Baking (accompanied GBBO series 1)
You will need
900g loaf tin (approx. 26x13x7cm)
225ml full fat / semi skimmed milk
115g dark brown muscovado sugar
115g golden syrup
115g black treacle
225g SR flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
115g unsalted butter, cold
1 egg, beaten.
How to make it
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c / Fan 170c / Gas 4.
2. Grease and line your loaf tin.
3. Place your milk and sugar into a heavy bottomed pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved (it will no longer sound or feel grainy). Remove from the heat and allow to cool down until it is lukewarm (blood-warm).
4. Weigh your golden syrup and black treacle into another heavy based pan, and place over a low heat to loosen. Don't allow it to become overly hot. Remove from the heat once the syrup is runny, and allow the mixture to cool down to lukewarm.
5. Meanwhile, sieve your flour, bicarbonate of soda, and spices into a large bowl. Add the butter and cut into cubes. Rub the butter between your thumb and fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
6. Once the milk and syrup mixtures are lukewarm (blood-warm), make a well in the breadcrumbs and pour the milk, syrup and beaten egg into the well. Beat with a balloon whisk until combined. It may bubble at this stage, due to the reaction with the bicarbonate of soda.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. If the mixture looks slightly sunken after pouring into your loaf tin, gently run a fork through the length of it. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. You may need to rotate the tin 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
8. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.
9. As the loaf improves with age, either store in an airtight container or wrap thoroughly with greaseproof paper and tinfoil for 2 days before slicing into.
Enjoy with your favourite pot of tea!