When I was a child I just adored the story of Mary Poppins. I had been given the first book in the series as an award for good work at the end of the school year in Grade 2 and I practically wore out the pages, reading it over and over again. Oh how I longed for a nanny such as Mary Poppins . . .
The book was filled to the brim with wonderful characters and adventures, pictures and fabulous treats.
Characters such as Mrs Corry, an extremely old woman who ran a sweet shop with her two large daughters . . . A magical sweet shop where you could purchase such lovely delights and cakes such as Gingerbread Stars . . . Star shaped little gingerbread cakes, adorned with golden paper stars . . .
But not just any golden paper stars . . . these ones were special, for, on any given night one could see ( and only if they were very, very observant) . . . the little old lady perched on a very tall ladder pasting the gold stars in the sky along with the help of Miss Poppins herself . . .
How could one resist such a recipe. Taken from the book Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, a cookery book with a story.
This brought back childhood memories and imaginations . . . wonderfully spicy and the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon hot cup of whatever strikes your fancy!
Makes 2 six inch stars or one 7 inch cake
Deliciously spicy no matter what the shape!
105g of plain flour (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, ground cloves and ground allspice
a small handfull of sultanas
4 TBS butter
85g of soft dark brown sugar, (1/2 cup packed)
2 TBS dark treacle (dark molasses)
1 large egg, beaten
baking sheet, lightly buttered and dusted with flour
2 6-inch star shapes buttered and floured, or 1 7-inch sandwich cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4. Prepare the star shapes, and place on the buttered and floured baking pan, alternately prepare the sandwich tin. Set aside.
Sift the flour into a bowl along with the spices and the soda. Set aside.
Melt the butter and the brown sugar together. Allow to cool, then beat in the molasses and the egg. Stir into the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the sultanas.
Divide the batter equally amongst the star shapes or pour into the baking tin. Bake the stars in the heated oven for 30 minutes and the cake for about 40. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.