Easy Gingerbread cake

Although the weather in London this week’s has become fairly mild, we are officially in the depths of Autumn. I know this as my craving for sweet deep and warming flavours like ginger, nutmeg and other spices has started creeping in to my mind.

This recipe I worked on with my fellow baker Sam and I have to say is now a firm favourite. This tray bake is a winner not only because of the taste but also it is  multi-purpose! Hot, cold, fresh or a few days old it still tastes wonderful. The rich flavours are so warmly wonderful you almost want it to be cold outdoors so you can snuggle up with a hot drink and a slice of this gingerbread cake.

Image of Gingerbread cake

Gingerbread cake I made for Halloween 2012

Last year I prepared these for my annual Halloween party and used ready made icing to cut out little ghosts to put on top which were very popular! This is definitely also something you could do for Christmas, and replace the little ghost with a little christmas tree or holly leaf. I love versatility in a bake!

Ingredients

425g Golden Syrup

115g Unsalted Butter

65g Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

50g Orange Marmalade

2 Large Eggs

160ml Milk (I used semi skimmed)

115g Self Raising Flour

115g Wholewheat Flour

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

4 tsp Ground ginger (This is for quite spicy gingerbread cake, if you don’t want it quite as spicy use only 2 tsp)

0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

A pinch of salt

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160c

2. Line a traybake tin or any tin you have (I used a foil traybake tin from Lakeland) with greaseproof paper or parchment

3.  Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and marmalade in a pan together and heat over a medium/low heat until well mixed. Put this aside to cool for 10mins.

4. Whisk in a bowl the eggs and milk and add* to the liquid mixture whisking these both together. *Make sure the liquid mixture is cool enough other wise the egg mix will scramble!

5. In a large bowl or alternatively in your food mixer mix together all the dry ingredients – all flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt

6. Add the liquid mix to the dry ingredients mix thoroughly till fully combined and smooth

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin

8. Bake for 50-60mins, check after 50mins just in case. You will know when it is ready as the cake will be springy and when prodded will come out clean

9. Keep the gingerbread cake in the tin to cool on a wire rack, it may shrink away from the sides of the tin, don’t worry that is ok!

10. Whilst this was cooling I rolled out some ready made icing, cut out the ghost shapes and then used black icing colour to dot on the icing to make the eyes.

11. Once the gingerbread cake had cooled I cut the cake into 15 pieces

12. I used orange marmalade to brush on the back of the cut out ghosts and then fixed one per square of cake

After a few days if you still have some of this cake left, I recommend taking off the icing shapes, placing in a dessert bowl, heating up in the microwave for 1 minute and serving with custard! YUM!

American Bread Stuffing

American Bread Stuffing - perfect for Thanksgiving!

As Thanksgiving is approaching I thought I would post one of my favourite side dishes. Traditionally in the UK stuffing is thought of as the Paxo sage and onion standard or sometimes it is sausage-meat based.  In the USA they use bread as the base to their stuffings, this gives it a softer almost creamy-like texture, a great alternative!

This recipe was handed to me by my wonderful friend Danie who is originally from Hawaii but grew up in San Francisco.  She shares my passion for great food and great company and I have spent many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners with her as we try to re-create the American traditions here in London!

I don’t tend to do this that often, but when I am having a big gathering for a roast dinner, this is a filling addition to bulk up the meal and fill those hungry bellies! Try it for yourself and see what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any other great Thanksgiving recipes.

American Bread Stuffing up close!

American Bread Stuffing up close!

For this meal I teamed the stuffing up with some roasted pork belly, corn on the cob, peas, spinach, roasted potatoes and gravy. Generally this stuffing is used  more with poultry meats but I’m not one to stick to the rules of what should be served with what!

American Bread Stuffing - perfect for Thanksgiving!

American Bread Stuffing – perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients

340g cubed bread (I used stale french bread but you can use thick cut sliced)

400ml chicken stock

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

2 tbsp Sage (fresh chopped or dried)

2 tbsp Thyme (fresh chopped or dried)

Salt and Pepper

50g Butter

Optional additions: 50g dried cherries and 50g pecans

Method

1. Cut the bread into cubes of approximately 1-2cm. Ensure the bread you are going to use is dried out completely, if not pop in the oven for 10 mins on a temperature of 100c. Bring out and let it cool completely.

2.Transfer bread cubes to a large mixing bowl, pour in the chicken stock and mix completely. Put it to one side

3. Add half the butter to a frying pan, and heat on medium. Add the chopped onion, sage, and thyme.

4. Fry them off in the butter till they are soft and glistening

5. Transfer to the large mixing bowl and mix through the bread and stock mixture

6. If you want to add the optional cherries and pecans stir these in after you have added the onion mixture

7. Baste an oven proof ceramic dish with the remaining butter

8. Add all the mixture to the dish, cover with foil and pop in the fridge for at least an hour. (If you have the time, leave this overnight to soak)

9. The next day bake at 180c/Gas Mark 4/350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until heated through (Just before you pop in the oven, you can drizzle a bit of sherry on top. Not essential, but it adds a little something)

10. Bake until the top is golden brown

11. Let stuffing stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

12. Enjoy!