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Bye-bye 2012, hello 2013!

Can you believe that 2012 is coming to a close already? I don’t know where this year has gone. I think I’ll forever think of 2012 as a quick moving current, a pleasant but very swift breeze! I resolve in 2013 to try to take things slower (if that’s even possible with two small children!) and make the most of every minute!

Yesterday, I baked up another batch of gingerbread. I’ve hardly baked much this whole year and yet in the past couple of weeks, our kitchen has been the center of the universe (as it usually is this time of year!) and I’ve done some successful baking! This time, I went with Nigella Lawson’s Guinness Gingerbread, which is every bit as heavenly as it sounds. There’s only a cup of Guinness in the recipe, but it’s enough to give the recipe a little something-something. The lack of molasses this time around also makes for a less strong, more child-friendly cake. I found it to be the best kind of spice cake imaginable – super moist and sticky, without screaming “Christmas.” It’s gingerbread for these post-Christmas days and the kids loved it.

Guinness gingerbread

Have a wonderful New Year’s and all the best to you in 2013! I’ll see you back here on Thursday!

Nigella’s Guinness Gingerbread

1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s)
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 rectangular aluminium foil pan or cake pan, approximately 13 by 9 by 2-inches

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat.

Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

Nigella’s sticky gingerbread

I feel like we need to tack an additional 14 days to December to revel in the fun of the season – more time to watch “Home Alone” and “Elf” and “The Holiday,” for Bailey’s Irish Cream nightcaps and for filling the house with the smell of baked goods.

I’ve failed on the last item this month – I’ve wanted to make these gingerbread houses, not to mention this and these. But one thing I did manage was a batch of sticky gingerbread from Nigella Christmas.

I’ve never made gingerbread before but after Starbucks abruptly ended their run on gingerbread loaf pre-Christmas, I had to get my fix elsewhere. Nigella’s recipe is absolutely fantastic – easy to do and actually gets better by the day! Here’s my adapted recipe. Enjoy the remains of the season and will see you back here on Thursday! Have a happy Christmas with you and yours.

Sticky Gingerbread Nigella Lawson

Sticky Gingerbread

Makes 20 squares

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

3/4 cup molasses

2/3 cup packed soft dark brown sugar

3 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs, beaten to mix

2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a roasting pan or ovenproof dish (approx. 12 x 8 x 2-inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper (if using foil, grease it too).

In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, molasses, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.

Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved baking soda in its water.

Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don’t worry. This is part of what makes it sticky later.

Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the pan before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it.

Make ahead tip: 

Make the gingerbread up to 2 weeks ahead, wrap loosely in parchment paper and store in an airtight container. Cut into squares as required.

Freeze ahead tip:

Make the gingerbread, wrap in parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 3-4 hours and cut into squares.