01 November 2006

Gingerbread and Procrastination

One evening I couldn't bring myself to study, so I avoided my books by baking—a common procrastination technique for me. Feeling in the mood for gingerbread, I roamed the internet for a recipe. One attributed to Laura Ingalls Wilder caught my eye, as I read all her Little House on the Prairie books as a child.

I did modify recipe, because this modern girl just wasn't going to use lard—I used 1/2 cup butter, instead. I also processed the mixture more like a cake. First, I creamed the butter with sugar and then added the eggs and folded in the the dry ingredients. And finally, I incorporated the hot water.

I was more liberal with the spices and used heaping teaspoons of the spices, except for all-spice, which I didn't have in my cupboard, and I interpreted a "moderate oven" as 350 degrees.

I was actually disappointed in the recipe when I nibbled on a bit of the gingerbread that same night. It tasted flat like the spices were weak and unformed in the cake. But some kind of magic happened overnight and it had much better flavor the next morning when I had a piece for breakfast; the spices seemed to matured and mellowed in those 12 hours and the gingerbread tasted more like itself–rich, warm, and now wonderfully spicy.

But here's the recipe, as I got it from the website.


1 cup brown sugar blended with
1/2 cup lard or other shortening.

1 cup molasses mixed well with this.

2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
 (Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
 Mix all well.

To 3 cups of flour have added one teaspoon each of the following spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.
Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.
The mixture should be quite thin.

Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
 Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

In addition, I added a lemon icing from Nigella Lawson's Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing in How to be a Domestic Goddess.

1 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon warm water

Whisk the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar first, then gradually add the water.
Spread over a cool cake and allow to harden before cutting.

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Blogger Jasmine said...

Looks amazing. I've recently discovered I have a glut of chocolate gingerbread recipes I've never made...I think I need to fix this situation.


11/08/2006 6:01 PM  
Blogger Blue Plate said...

I can't wait for your chocolate gingerbread recipes. It's not a combination I've tried, but I'm open to the possibilities.

11/11/2006 10:57 AM  
Anonymous paz said...

It looks really good! Love the last photo! I'm glad it tasted better for you the next day. I love Laura Ingalls. ;-)


11/16/2006 6:18 AM  
Blogger Blue Plate said...

Thanks, Paz.

I'm a Laura Ingalls fan, too. I wonder if she's still read by the young girls of today....

11/22/2006 1:37 AM  

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