We've all seen the gingerbread houses. The ones that look a bit more like cardboard than anything resembling an edible delight.
How did we go so wrong?
In it's infancy, gingerbread was a delicious cake-like thing. Something that more resembled a British plum pudding. Heavily spiced, and full of butter and sugar.
Something to slice and serve with a spot of tea. Or that 2 pm cup of coffee. Or a glass of sherry after dinner...
Let's get back to the good old days, shall we?
Start off with butter, molasses, honey, brown sugar, and water. Melt it all together.
Once it's melted, pour into a large bowl to cool.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
Then, when the molasses mix is cool, whisk in eggs - one at a time. Then whisk in the milk and vanilla.
Dump the dry ingredients in and whisk quickly. It's ok if there's some lumps.
Now stir in the fresh grated ginger.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until it springs back when you poke it.
Let rest for 10 minutes. Cover in a glaze of powdered sugar and milk (or booze), or serve with a spoonful of whipped cream (with booze).
Makes 1 9x13 cake
Barely adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. molasses
3/4 c. real honey
1 c. tightly packed brown sugar
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 packed tbsp grated fresh ginger root
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, molasses, honey, brown sugar and water. Once the butter is melted, pour the mixture into a large bowl to cool.
Get out a 9x13. Butter (spray) and line with parchment. You can also serve this right out of the pan - and in that case you can skip the parchment. I chose a bunt pan. And sprayed the heck out of it. It still stuck like the dickens and had to be repaired with a powdered sugar glaze. It's up to you.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.
Once the butter/molasses mixture cools to room temperature, beat in the eggs - one at a time. Then beat in the milk and vanilla. Dump in the dry ingredients and quickly stir them in. Lumps are ok. Stir in the grated fresh ginger.
Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Lift from the pan (if not serving in it) and allow to cool.
Slice and serve with a powdered sugar glaze or a spoonful of whipped cream. If you want to add a drop of booze to either - that's completely acceptable.