I had the pleasure of having my parents come up for a visit for Mother’s day. It was a wonderfully relaxed catchup filled with good wine, good food and great conversation. It wouldn’t be a visit without us spending some time in the kitchen together and it was a great opportunity to chat about The Cookbook Guru and this month’s book, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Good Housekeeping (also known as Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery). Mum brought up her 1907 version that had been inherited from her Grandma and we compared it to the 1963 version that I have on loan at the moment. They are hardly the same book but it is very interesting to see how the book has evolved and the intent and spirit is still true with each version giving advice that is relevant to the era about good housekeeping and creating meals in the home.
I chose to create this recipe as my first thing from this book as it is very reminiscent of the Gingerbread Cake that Great Grandma used to make for Mum and we were curious to test the recipe and see if it was where she had gotten her recipe from. We think its pretty similar in flavour, but there is some differences. The texture of these loaves was much lighter and the treacle more dominant to create an almost aniseed like flavour. I also found it much drier and over time is has not softened up like Great Grandma’s did. This is a delicious savoury style cake for those of us that might not want something uber sweet but still like a bite of cake.
Mrs Beeton’s Thick Gingerbread
* from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Everyday Cookery 1907
- 500g treacle
- 750g plain flour
- 30g ground ginger
- 30g allspice
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 150ml milk (soy or almond milk will work here)
- 100g butter
- brown sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pre-heat your oven to 180c and prepare 2 loaf tins by greasing lightly and lining with baking paper.
Combine the flour, sugar and spices in a large bowl until well mixed.
In a saucepan combine the treacle, butter and milk and heat over a medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture well combined. Whilst hot, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir until it bubbles up. Pour the liquid into the flour and mix until well combined.
Pour the batter into the tins, splitting it evenly. Place them into the middle of the oven and bake for approx 45mins – 1 hour. The gingerbread will be ready when you can stick it with a skewer and it comes away clean.
Cool on a rack and it is ready to eat. You can also choose to serve this with a smear of butter. This cake will keep, wrapped in foil, up to 2 weeks in a cool, dry location and will only get better with age.
Happy Baking and Happy Eating,