We are great lovers of Gingerbread in this house. There is something about a gingerbread baking in the oven that just gets my tastebuds to tingling. If we were Hansel and Gretel we would be gonners, because we'd be nibble-nibble-nibbling at that old witches house non-stop!
There is nothing fancy about it. It's just a simple recipe. You beat together some butter and sugar, beat in an egg and molasses. The original recipe didn't call for it, but I have added vanilla and lemon extracts because I have found through the years that they enhance the warm spice flavours of a good gingerbread.
You stir dry ingredients into wet and then you beat in a cup of hot water that you have dissolved some baking soda in and pour it into the pan. Older recipes like this usually called for dissolving the soda in hot water. I am not sure why that is.
My guess is so that the activation, or bubbling action starts sooner. But I am not an expert on these things. Another guess would be that it helps the baking soda to really get mixed into the batter evenly, and if you have ever bitten into a cookie or a cake and bitten into a lump of soda, you know that is a yukky yukky thing to have happen to you!
This cake cooks in a very short period of time. It takes about half an hour and makes a lovely large cake. The smell when it is baking is amazing. Warm and spicy and home sweet homeish.
No frosting is needed . . . its fabulous just as it is, but we can never resist splitting warm slabs of the cake and buttering them. SOOOOOOOOO delicious that way! (I know we are very naughty!) Of course a scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting on top of a warm slab is also a very tasty way to enjoy!
*Grandmother's Gingerbread*Makes one 9 by 13 inch cake
1/2 tsp ground cardamom1 1/s tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 13 inch non-stick baking tin really well. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the egg. Beat the egg, molasses and extracts together. Stir this into the dry ingredients. Stir the soda into the hot water to dissolve and stir this into the batter, mixing in until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched. The top will look sticky and shiny. Leave to cool in the pan. Serve warm with butter, if desired.
There is no time like the present to bake this simple and easy cake. You will thank me for it afterwards. And your family will be thanking you. Thanks Grandmother! Bon Appetit!
NOTE - Don't be tempted to use dark treacle in this. It is a lot stronger than molasses. If you must because you cannot get molasses use a mix of dark treacle and golden syrup.