Gingerbread Loaf

The Princess is visiting so naturally I had to make a spice cake of sorts this weekend. I made this last night so I’m afraid there are no pictures of the method as it was already dark when I was whisking and folding and pouring. I experimented with the recipe in Bouchon Bakery which I have been dying to use ever since it arrived last year. I appear to be slightly useless at reading recipes before going to the shops so upon my return I discovered I was supposed to have both canola oil and lemon zest for the recipe so I had to do a little adapting. I left out the lemon zest – let’s be honest, I didn’t really have a choice there – and I used butter instead of oil. As a result I mixed up the method too, melting the butter and black treacle together before adding in the eggs. I had to use black treacle because I couldn’t find molasses. Personally, I like the result. This is a dark, dense, sticky gingerbread. I like to eat it with a little butter but the Princess is holding out for cream cheese icing. (I’ll let you know how that goes.)

Other things to note: the recipe says it makes two loaves. It is possible my loaf tin is very large but mine made 1 and 1/2 loaves. I also baked the loaves one after the other because I only have one loaf tin. Obviously if you have two loaf tins you can divide the mixture in half and then bake them simultaneously. My loaves consequently baked within 40 minutes and not the hour recommended. I was dubious about the addition of boiling water but I went ahead with it, although I added less than the recipe calls for. It changes the nature of the batter, making it much thinner and less sugary. So, even if it seems weird, do add the water.

Gingerbread Loaf
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery
340g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of salt
220g lightly packed brown sugar
320g black treacle
170g unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
Makes 2 loaves

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two loaf tins with parchment paper.
Weigh out the flour and then add in the bicarb, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and half the sugar.
Place the rest of the sugar with the butter and treacle in a pan and heat until the butter melts. I watched this carefully because I didn’t want the mixture to get very hot and I removed it from the heat when it was at about body temperature. Allow it to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then whisk them into the treacle mixture. (If your treacle is too hot you will end up with scrambled/cooked eggs at this point.)
Fold the flour into the treacle mixture (I added it all at once) and mix until smooth. Lastly stir in the boiling water, adding it in quarter cup portions so the bowl doesn’t get overwhelmed. The mixture will thin out but will take the whole cup of water.
Divide the mixture between loaf tins (or if you only have one, pour in half the mixture) and bake for about 40 minutes. I would check the loaf at 30 minutes – it’s done when it springs back and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely. Then wrap it in clingfilm and allow it to mature overnight before slicing and buttering for breakfast…