There are many recipes for gingerbread, varying from decorated biscuits that are made into shapes, as in gingerbread men, to pale dry-ish cakes, which need a good thick spreading of butter or dark, moist sticky cakes, which last well and do not need any help in the way of icing or butter.
The recipe below is for the dark sticky type of gingerbread. The flavour comes not only from the spices, but also from the amount of black treacle, which contributes to the colour and stickiness of the cake.
The recipe can be made using raisins, dried apricots, dried pears, dried apples or other dried fruit, but it is also very successful left plain. This recipe uses drained tinned pears, which tend to sing a bit, but it is a great combination. The joy of this cake is that it seems to improve upon keeping for up to a week and if anything becomes more moist.
Dark, Sticky Gingerbread
Soft light brown sugar225g
Ground ginger2 tsp
Ground cinnamon1 tbsp
Tinned pears (drained weight), chopped225g
Bicarbonate of soda2 tsp
1. Melt the butter, sugar and treacle in a saucepan over a low heat. Do not allow to boil.
2. Sift the flour with the spices into a mixing bowl, add the pears, if using, and make a well in the centre. Pour in the melted mixture with the eggs. Warm the milk to blood heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir into the mixture. Stir well and pour the mixture into a 30x20cm/12 x 8in roasting tin, lined with greased greaseproof paper.
3. Bake in the centre of the oven, at 150C, for about 1-1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper if left in for over an hour.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out of tin to cool completely.
6. When cold, cut the gingerbread into squares.