Gingerbread and sticky hands

October 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Aunt Fanny, Eating and Drinking | Leave a comment

Ginger is a signature ingredient of Famous Five food. There’s the ubiquitous beer of course, but also plenty of biscuits, buns and cakes. In Five on a Treasure Island the cousins return from an exciting day on Kirrin Island, during which a magnificent storm has thrown up the old wreck, and sit down to a ‘good tea’ provided by Aunt Fanny who has ‘baked new scones for them and made a ginger cake with black treacle’. The cake is described as being ‘dark brown and sticky to eat’ and George manages to wolf down three slices (good show George!) before her mother sends her off to wash her hands. The warm, dark flavours of gingerbread are just the ticket for a mid-morning or afternoon snack at this time of year so I decided to bake a treacly gingerbread as my contribution to Home Movie Day, which is taking place at the Cinema Museum in Kennington this weekend.

I seem to have quite a few recipes for gingerbreads in my various cookbooks but the one I plumped for this time was from Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer. I have made a few of her recipes now and all of them have worked and have been delicious, with her Battenberg being a particular winner. This gingerbread was quite easy – you melt butter, sugar, black treacle and syrup and then combine this with flour, ginger and mixed spices (plus bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt), and then add milk and a beaten fresh egg. It makes a very liquid cake mixture but seems to firm up rapidly once you begin baking. It needs an hour and a half in the oven so there is ample opportunity for the lovely smell to permeate the kitchen.

Gingerbread is apparently best when wrapped up and kept for a few days before eating as this makes the cake stickier and more gingery. So, the cake is tantalisingly sitting on my kitchen table as I write this, wrapped up in greaseproof paper and foil, much to the annoyance of my sweet-toothed housemate. We’re going to have to wait until Saturday to find out if it tastes any good though and I hope that, like Aunt Fanny’s sticky gingerbread, this one gets polished off swiftly.

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