Black treacle is something I seem to use only between October and January. Some goes in the Christmas cake, occasionally I put a spoonful in a bean stew or use it in a barbecue-type marinade but most goes in gingerbread. I usually save gingerbread for Guy Fawkes Night*. Dark, sticky ginger cakes are traditionally eaten in the north of England on Guy Fawkes Night. Parkin is eaten in Yorkshire and in Derbyshire they make Thor cake. Both have oatmeal in them. The extract shown below is from Alison Uttley's Recipes From and Old Farmhouse. Written in 1966 it is a description of the recipes she remembered from her Derbyshire childhood at the end of the 19th century. It's well worth tracking down a copy not only for the recipes but for the beautiful illustrations by Pauline Baynes.
This year I decided to make gingerbread for Halloween. Well, the decision was made for me really. Lyle's have produced this glorious 'Trick or Treacle' limited edition of their famous sticky black stuff.
I love these special tins. I am building quite a collection.
So for October's cake of the month I give you gingerbread. Not my own recipe -hard to come up with a new recipe for a traditional cake. This is by St Mary Berry of the Cake. From her Ultimate Cake Book. The only changes I made were to use butter in place of margarine and to mix the ingredients in a slightly different way.
Grease and base line a traybake or roasting tin about 12''x 9'' (30cm x 23cm). The sides need to be at least 1 inch deep.
Melt gently in a large saucepan
10 oz (275g) black treacle
10 oz (275g) golden syrup
8 oz (225g) light muscovado sugar
8 oz (225g) butter
In a large bowl sift
1 lb (450g) self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
In a small bowl beat
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons of milk
Pour the melted mixture slowly onto the sifted flour beating well with a wooden spoon. This will help ensure you don't end up with little clumps of dry flour in your gingerbread.
Once all is well mixed beat in the eggs, again making sure everything is blended smoothly.
Pour the mixture which will be quite runny into the prepared tin and bake at 160°c (140°c fan oven/gas 3) for 50 minutes.
The cake should be well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack. When cool cut into pieces (16, 21 or 24 depending how big you like your chunks of cake). If possible leave in an airtight tin for a couple of days as it will become stickier and more delicious.
Did you know that 100g of black treacle will provide you with your entire daily requirement of iron? So if the vampires are making you feel a bit anaemic this Halloween have a chunk of gingerbread and maybe a glass of Guinness to wash it down.
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