You can see from the spine that it has been well used over the years. As my cookbook collection has grown there are not many recipes I cook from this book anymore, but this one STILL has a post it note marking the page!
First of all prepare your cake tin. It should be 9" by 12" according to the recipe. This is the closest I had. Grease and line the tin.
Weigh 250g of butter or margarine into a saucepan.
Add 250g of dark muscovado sugar. Now this is where my secret weapon in the battle of the gingerbreads comes in. I use this wonderful stuff:
Now add 250g of treacle (molasses to my American friends).
OK, so I went over the 250g, but seriously I am NOT trying to get stuff back out of that gloopy mess.
Put that onto a low heat and stirring occasionally,
wait until it all comes together.
It will take a while, but you need to do it over a low heat because we just want to melt it all together, not get it too hot.
While that is melting, or while it is cooling get your other ingredients ready.
375g plain white flour (I think my American friends could use all purpose flour here)
Now I know the scales are reading higher than 375 in this picture but I promise you before I picked the camera up it was correct, maybe I moved the scales a bit and the number changed, I don't know!
To that add
5 tsp ground ginger and
2 tsp ground cinnamon
I did not have enough ground ginger, but don't worry, I am going to correct that with something else later. Ideally though, I would stick to the recipe as I know it works!
You need to sieve those together.
Next you need two eggs.
Yes, I can count, yes I know there are 3 eggs in that mug. I get my eggs from the son of a friend who keeps chickens and at the moment they are very mixed sizes. You can see how tiny two of those yolks are. I felt justified in using 3 of them today.
You need to beat the eggs.
Then you need 3 pieces of this wonderful stuff:
It is very sticky and truly the easiest way I have found for chopping it is to use a small plate, a fork and a small sharp knife. You want to chop it fairly small but it does not need to be neat.
Finally you need
300ml of milk and 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda for my American friends)
When your butter, sugar, treacle mix has cooled slightly you can move on to the next stage.
First, you need to add the spice and flour mixture to the saucepan.
And mix until it is all combined.
Sometimes it will come away from the pan like this, sometimes not. I think it must depend on how much you have cooled it.
Now you need to add the eggs and the stem ginger. Remember how I said I would correct the lack of ground ginger earlier? I just poured a little of the syrup straight from the jar of stem ginger into the pan.
You need to mix that until it is all combined and then move the pan to one side while you heat the milk.
When the milk is nice and warm, add the bicarb. It should puff up like this:
Pour that into the other saucepan
where it will immediately look as if everything has gone wrong.
Do not panic, keep stirring and eventually it will all come together.
Pour that into the prepared cake tin and bake at 160c (325f)
for about 1 hour until well risen and springy to the touch.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.
This cake is even better on day two or even three. Store in an airtight container to prevent it drying out.