Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread, with syrup

It is often a mistake to plan a particular recipe before you know whether you can lay hands on the ingredients. The idea is difficult to abandon, even when the ingredients are elusive; I get into my head the idea that no other recipe will do.

You cannot find black treacle or candied ginger at my nearest shops on a Sunday morning. Not allowing their absence to deter me, I used instead golden syrup and ginger preserve (from Sainsbury’s) for this recipe from Geraldene Holt’s Cakes (Prospect Books). I also used a round cake tin, because I did not have a 20cm square one.

As you can see, the cake sank in the middle, probably because my batter was more liquid than Holt's. But the texture was good throughout, and the flavour was delicious.

Lightly grease the tin with a drop or two of vegetable oil.  Put a couple of slivers of butter on the base. Lay the tin on a sheet of kitchen paper, draw a circle round it, cut round the line, and attach the circle of paper to the base of the tin.

150g butter
150g dark brown sugar
265g golden syrup (I spooned syrup out of the tin until I had taken what seemed to be the correct portion of the contents)
2 eggs, beaten
265g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2-3tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp cinnamon
Walnut-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1tbsp ginger preserve

Cream the butter and the sugar. I lack a food mixer, so find this pretty hard work. I’m never sure when to stop, tending to do so when I cannot bear the effort any longer. The mixture is supposed to be light.

Stir in the syrup, and then the eggs. Mix the flour and baking powder, and stir them in to the mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients. Spoon into the cake tin, and smooth level.

Bake in a gas mark 3/170C oven for about 60 minutes, or until an inserted skewer emerges clean. I found that my gingerbread was still liquid in the centre after an hour, though the perimeter was quite dark. I turned down the oven to gas mark 1/140C, for a further 15 minutes.

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