Ena’s Gingerbread

Now, I don’t personally know Ena, but I can tell you that she makes a mean gingerbread cake. The name, like the recipe, comes from the Frugal Feeding blog, and he states “This is a favourite recipe of Katherine’s grandmother, Ena, who lives in Sunderland [England]; though I think the recipe was originally taken from an old Be-Ro cookery book. Wherever it comes from it is utterly delicious and incredibly dense and sticky; just how gingerbread ought to be.”

Thank you Frugal Feeding for sharing this recipe; it went down an absolute treat at my work today! It is indeed dense, fudgy and moist beyond belief, not that surprising considering the amount of liquid in it really but still. This is (now) a must-bake Christmas recipe for gift hampers, Christmas celebrations and wherever plum pudding and fruit cake are generally shunned. I would go so far as to say this is a very festive-tasting alternative to plum pudding on Christmas day – it will go wonderfully warmed with cold vanilla ice-cream. Oh and please do check out the Frugal Feeding blog; so many lovely recipes to wander through (just click the link on the blogroll to the right).

Ingredients:

• 225g plain flour

• A pinch of salt

• 2 tsp ground ginger

• 1 tsp mixed spice (I didn’t have mixed spice so I used a mix of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, which worked well)

• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 55g light muscovado sugar

• 110g margarine or butter

• 165g black treacle

• 55g golden syrup

• 150ml milk

• 2 eggs

Method:

Heat the oven to 150C. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin. Sieve together the flour, salt, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda, before stirring in the sugar.

Melt together the butter, treacle and syrup over a gentle heat. Gradually beat in the milk and allow the mixture to cool a little. Beat the eggs before stirring them into the treacle mixture.

Stir the wet mixture into the dry, tip into your loaf tin and bake for 1 ¼ hours. If you make the mistake I did and stir the dry mixture into the wet, it will go alarmingly lumpy. However, a minute on high speed with the beaters smoothed it all out. Or just follow the recipe correctly first time around….

Check with a skewer and make sure it comes out mostly clean. Remove from the oven and sit in the tin for 10-20 minutes and then unmould onto a cooling rack. I would have loved to serve it immediately, warm with vanilla ice-cream but it was still beautifully moist the next day at work, having lost nothing in the cooling (about 2 hours on the cooling rack).

This recipe is unbelievably easy to make; a refreshing change from all the fiddly gingerbread, miniature tarts and week-long puddings so popular at this time of year. Make it for a gift or to share at your home. Enjoy!

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