Easy Gingerbread Loaf
Dark, moist and sticky, with a wonderful treacly sweetness and a hint of spice, this easy Gingerbread Loaf is the perfect autumn or winter treat. It is truly one of the easiest cakes to make and, if you follow my instructions (!), you will have very little washing up too.
Treats not tricks
I associate this cake with autumn and it has been a regular at Hallowe’en Parties and Bonfire Night celebrations over the year. When you have been out in the cold for a few hours, this is exactly the kind of cake that you need! It is not the healthiest recipe – and includes a lot of sugariness and quite a bit of butter – but I firmly believe that everyone needs the occasional sweet treat.
In my family, this cake is actually know as Trick Cake. This is because the finished cake looks very much like a chocolate cake although, obviously, it tastes totally different. When my youngest son was very young, he was adamant that the only cake that he would eat was chocolate cake. He was given a helping of Gingerbread Loaf, wolfed it down and announced that it was the best chocolate cake he had eaten!
An easy and versatile cake
This cake is made using the “melting” method. This means there is no faffing about with creaming butter and sugar or rubbing them together to resemble fine breadcrumbs. The butter is melted and, basically, all the ingredients are stirred together and then poured into a tin and baked. There is really very little likelihood of anything going wrong.
This cake also keeps very well. If you wrap the cooled cake in foil, it will keep for at least a week. In fact, it actually improves if it is kept as it will become stickier and the flavours will deepen. Needless to say, in my household, with three ravenous teenagers, the life expectancy of one of these loaves is generally measured in hours rather than days and they very rarely last a week!
Despite its autumnal associations, I make my Gingerbread Loaf recipe pretty much the year around. Partly because it is so easy to make and the also because it is so versatile. It is great with morning coffee or afternoon tea but it is also a really good cake to include in a lunchbox or a picnic or in your back-pack if you are going for a hike as it is quite robust. It has a sustaining quality which is a great pick-me-up if you are feeling a bit tired!
…but not very pretty!
The one slight negative point about this cake is that it doesn’t look particularly attractive. It is basically a big brown square! In order to make it a bit more attractive in the photographs, I was inspired to produce leaf silhouettes on the top of the cake. It is the matter of minutes to do this. You just need to gather some nicely shaped leaves (making sure that they are not poisonous!), wash and dry them, place them on top of the cake and then sift a little icing sugar over them. When you remove the leaves, you should get a nice leaf-shaped pattern to jazz up your boring brown cake!
Other autumnal bakes..
This Gingerbread Loaf is one of the easiest, no-fail cake recipes. It is dark, moist and sticky with a wonderful deep treacly sweetness and a hint of spice. Perfect on a cold autumn or winter’s day!
- 225 g butter
- 225 g soft brown sugar (dark or light)
- 1 tin of treacle (454 g)
- 350 g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 300 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
- Set your oven to 140C, 275F or Gas Mark 1.
- Grease and line a square 25cm cake tin. Do not use a loose-based tin – the cake batter is very liquid and will run out of any gaps!
- Put the butter, sugar and treacle in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
- Sift the flour, ginger and cinnamon into the saucepan. Stir to combine with the melted butter, sugar and treacle.
- Heat the milk either in a small jug in the microwave or in a separate pan until it is “blood heat”. That is, warmed to the point where you can just keep your finger in the liquid without it being uncomfortable. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the warmed milk. Then pour the milk into the large saucepan with the other ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs lightly and then add them into the saucepan. Stir the mixture to combine.
- Then pour the batter, which will be very liquid, into your prepared cake tin.
- Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove the tin from the oven, place it on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin.
- If you want to make your rather boring brown cake look a bit more fancy, you can use a little icing sugar to make leaf-shaped silhouettes on the top. Instructions are included in the blog post.
Keywords: Gingerbread, loaf cake, recipe