Baking Advent: sticky, syrupy gingerbread loaf with rum

Baking Advent: celebrating the festive season with a different daily baked good.

Sticky gingerbread loaf

This ginger cake is another recipe I have used for a long time, again gleaned from avid food blog reading. The recipe makes a small cake, a simple unadorned loaf that could even be called humble; certainly homely, with all the comforts associated with that word.

What I love about this cake is that I’ve very rarely been without the wherewithal to make it at a moment’s notice. If I only have a scrap of butter, a lick of golden syrup and a single egg rattling in the cupboards, I can make this cake. I’ve baked it in a loaf pan and a square brownie tin, and doubled it for bake sales; it is incredibly forgiving. Once, I added the egg too quickly to the sticky mixture of syrup, butter and sugar which is first melted together, and the egg coagulated in the mixture. I strained out the bits of cooked egg white and continued as normal; the cake baked up perfectly.

Homely, homey, and delicious

Straight out of the oven a slice is warm, sweet and mild: the gingery flavour and stickiness develops over the next few days, and is enhanced if you wrap it in foil between servings. Personally I like my gingerbread the way my grandmother eats it, which is to say sliced and buttered.

It’s a flexible and infinitely adaptable gem. You could add additional spices, or add-ins such as sultanas soaked in a little brandy or apple juice, or even small chocolate chips if you like the combination of chocolate and ginger. The version I made below includes a splash of rum and some chopped preserved stem ginger to add an additional warming, spicy backnote. It doesn’t require any embellishment to be a lovely little cake, but it makes a nice change. Recipe below the jump, as always.

Sticky gingerbread loaf
Tweaked from a recipe published on Lisa Randel’s blog Sunday Hotpants

  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 TBS golden syrup
  • 100g caster or granulated sugar (caster will dissolve more easily)
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 1 TBS rum (I would use dark rum here)
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 knobs/balls preserved stem ginger, drained of syrup and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Butter and lightly flour a loaf tin
  3. Place the butter, sugar, golden syrup and boiling water together in a medium bowl (it will need to hold all the other ingredients later) and stir together until the butter has melted. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and add the rum.
  4. Whisk in the egg until thoroughly combined.
  5. Sift together the flour, bicarb, baking powder and ground ginger. Remove about a tablespoon of the dry ingredient mix to a small bowl and toss this with the chopped preserved stem ginger; this will prevent the ginger from sinking later. If you forget to do this step, it’s not the end of the world.
  6. Mix the remaining sifted dry ingredients into the butter and syrup mixture. Stir in the chopped ginger. Pour into the prepared loaf tin. The mixture will be quite thin and shallow.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean
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