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There's a generic term 'gingerbread' that seems to cover everything from a moist ginger loaf right through to a ginger 'snap'. We make ginger 'cake', gingerbread men and houses, ginger snaps and ginger loaf. Each is different in their mix and very different in their look and taste.
In the UK, Market Drayton, in Shropshire, is home to gingerbread. Billington's in Market Drayton has been baking gingerbread since 1817 and the recipe is a closely guarded secret. At one time, there were four gingerbread bakers in the town - and gingerbread, as a sweetmeat dates back to the Crusades.
We're going to bake a ginger loaf. I'm using black treacle instead of golden syrup to increase the taste and a little grated ginger, because you can't have enough ginger in a ginger cake!
200 gms semi-skimmed milk
2 large free-range eggs (beaten)
175 gms light muscovado sugar
175 gms black treacle
175 gms unsalted butter
250 gms plain flour (or all-purpose or Type 00)
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C.
Grease or line a loaf tin and put to one side.
In a saucepan, weigh and add the butter, sugar and treacle and heat gently until it's all dissolved and combined.
Remove from the heat and add the milk, stirring it in thoroughly.
Allow to cool to luke-warm and then all the beaten eggs.
In a large bowl, sift in the flour, the bicarbonate, the dried ginger and the mixed spice. Add the finely chopped fresh ginger.
Mix and then beat in the liquid from the saucepan until you have a slack batter.
Pour into the loaf tin.
Bake for 45 minutes. Do not open the door until the 45 minute mark.
Test with a needle to ensure it is done in the middle
Cool on a rack.
When cold, slice or, better still, wrap and save for 24 hours in an airtight tin. The cake will stay fresh for a week in an airtight container.