While a lot of nations have a history with gingerbread in some form, if you could smell the clear, woody warmth of this cake mingling with dark treacle, you’d be reaching for a mug of tea, too—as is the English tradition. The particular combination of ginger and thick, sticky treacle is what distinguishes British gingerbread from its French equivalent (pain d’epice), which is made with a strong-flavoured honey and spices (not always ginger) according to Larousse Gastronomique.
Served in slices, gingerbread can be slathered simply with butter, spread with orange or apricot marmalade, or served with butter and extra treacle. Served as a pudding, a pour of custard would be the traditional partner. But in these warmer months, try vanilla whipped cream, mascarpone or a scoop of ice cream.
This recipe includes rich, sweet bursts of raisins. It’s easy to make, and can be served in so many ways that it’s little wonder gingerbread has earned its place in the canon of great British bakes.
- Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Put the flour, bicarb, baking powder, mixed spices and ginger into the mixing bowl and blitz 10 seconds/speed 9. Reserve aside.
- Blend butter and sugar 20 seconds/speed 4, then insert Butterfly and beat 1 minute/Butterfly/speed 3. Pour the treacle or molasses and whip again 30 seconds/Butterfly/speed 3, scrape the sides.
- With the blade running on 45 seconds/Butterfly/speed 3, drop eggs through the hole of the mixing bowl one at a time, leaving 10 to 15 seconds in between.
- Return the dry ingredients and mix 20 seconds/Butterfly/speed 2, scrape sides down and mix again 10 seconds/Butterfly/speed 2. Finally, throw in the raisins, add the milk and mix to a fairly thin batter 30 seconds/Butterfly/speed 2.
- Pour into a greased baking tin and bake for about 40–45 minutes, until the cake feels springy when touched in the middle.