Gingerbread
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Ingredients / Shopping List

300g flour
200g black treacle or molasses
100g butter
50g soft dried apricots
50g soft brown sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
75ml milk
2 eggs

 

Prep Time:   0:15
Cook Time:   100:30
Makes:   1

Prep to Cook:  Pan, tablespoon, weighing scales, tablespoon, wooden spoon, teaspoon, knife, sieve, mixing bowl, measuring jug, whisk, basin, scissors.  loaf tin (lined with non-stick paper)  or deep muffin tray
Pre-heated oven 170°C or Gas Mark 3 

 

Prep:  Sift the flour ground ginger and bicarbonate together into a mixing bowl.
Finely chop the soft dried apricots, using the scissors or a knife and add to the flour
Put the treacle, butter and brown sugar in a pan and warm until runny.
Beat the eggs in a basin and add the milk.
Combine all the wet and dry ingredients together and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a loaf tin that has been lined with non-stick paper.
Cook gently for about 1 ½ hours.  For quicker cooking: divide into 6 deep muffin tins that have been greased and lined with a circle of non-stick paper.  

 

Check it out !

Gingerbread loaf is only moist and sticky if it is left to ‘mature’ for about 2 weeks.  Make in advance and wrap in foil to keep.  It is a classic ‘melting method’ cake.

Cooks Know How:  Gingerbread loaf is a classic example of a ‘melting method’ cake. This means the dry ingredients are sieved and the sugar, treacle and fat are melted together to become runny, then poured into the dry mix.  The loaf needs gentle cooking and is therefore hard to make in a I hour lesson at school.   It can however be demonstrated and cooked later. Try ginger biscuits to experience the same ingredients and functions but making a different end product that can easily be made in a lesson.   Gingerbread is also a classic example of the use of bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. The cake relies on bicarbonate of soda to produce carbon dioxide gas in order to make it rise.  The ground ginger spice masks any slightly soapy flavour coming from bicarbonate of soda, as does the black treacle.  The eggs are beaten prior to adding to the mixture and therefore the air they trapped also helps to make the cake rise.  The texture of gingerbread is firm and reasonably dense.  The darkness of the cake is helped by the use of black treacle or molasses.  It is sticky, non-crystallised syrup collected during the refining of sugar.  It is easy to see that each of the ingredients have specific functions in the recipe. Black treacle or molasses has a rich flavour that verges on being bitter-sweet so that it contributes to the characteristics of gingerbread.  It is because of the treacle that the cake ‘matures’ after cooking as it softens slightly and the ‘crumb’ becomes more moist.  Gently baking ensures the bicarbonate of soda has time to produce the gas, carbon dioxide, the sugars dissolves and some caramelise on the surface of the cake.  The flour protein, gluten along with the egg proteins set to hold the cake in its risen shape.  The finely diced dried fruits add a little extra flavour alongside the intense ginger and treacle tang.  It is easy to make and keeps well. 

Next Time

You can add raisins or walnuts to this cake mixture. As a classic gingerbread loaf, I would go no further and keep it very traditional.  Parkin (Yorkshire) is a similar cake using oatmeal to replace the flour.

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