8.7.09

Gingerbread

This is not really a blog post, just a fully blown boast-fest. May the gods of baking forever burn my pans for such pridefullness. Against the odds I have managed to bake the perfect gingerbread cake.


We don't really have a kitchen, just a tiny square matchbox about the size of a small entrance hall (we don't have one of those either). The original cottage was a one up one downer for farm labourers, and all the cooking would have been done on a range in the main fireplace. Naturally the last thing on our landlord's mind when he inherited the cottage was to provide adequate cooking facilities. (Or adequate anything really). So for the last seven years, I have baked, roasted, fried and grilled on this. If the kitchen door (just seen right) is open, you wouldn't even know we had a cooker.




In fact, this is the second cooker we have had here; I killed the first by using it. I think I'm going to kill this one too, as it is a rickety tin-box with heating elements. The knobs claim that the two hotplates go from 1 to 5, but they lie. There is only one temperature and that is hot; unless it times out and you have to wait another five minutes for whateveritis to start cooking. Now the fan oven seems to be going the same way and to my eternal shame I burnt a fruit cake the other month. So it is a minor miracle that last night I produced a perfect pillow of gingerbread.




Even though I dickered about with the recipe, from my old trusty 1950's Good Housekeeping book. (First port of call for everything).




I made a half and half mix of black treacle and golden syrup, put in less milk and baked it using only the bottom of the oven heat. It rose slowly and majestically, a big bronzed belly of a cake with barely a crack in the top. Overnight it has gone slightly sticky and a big slab has mysteriously been cut from it. Not me. I don't even eat the stuff.


30 comments:

Mary Beth said...

That gingerbread is beautiful, especially seeing what you cooked it in. In my family, everything happens in the kitchen and we wouldn't fit more than two of us in yours, let alone any of the animals:)

Deb said...

your gingerbread cake looks so nice! i bet a mouse snuck that slab that has gone missing. dx.

Sarah said...

That is beautiful and OH MY GOD I can't believe you make all the wonderful things you've shown us on THAT! Never again will I complain about my own modest (or so I thought) kitchen. And, it just goes to prove that a good cook does not need a big fancy kitchen. Now I'm hungry.

Ember said...

Ooooh! Just look at that! You GENIUS!

:0b...

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

well done you!
I am filled with admiration. And I know your cottage smells wonderful.

Helen/Dudley said...

I am so impressed that you produce anything out of your kitchen! I hate cooking and I have some room to move in ours. I would use your kitchen as the excuse to not cook EVER! It shows what a good cook you must be if you can create anything in those conditions :)

Rachel said...

That looks like perfect gingerbread. Well done you! And if it lasts more than a day, it should get stickier and deeper in flavour, but I'm willing to bet it doesn't survive that long...

Shelley Noble said...

Worthy of a boast post! Congratulations on this, a delicious achievement!

Celeste said...

Yum yum yum!
That looks delicious and I'm amazed that you can cook anything on that oven. I used one of those many many times when I was a Rainbow Guide leader and even the most basic biscuits came out terribly. Thankfully the kids never minded once everything was smothered in icing.
I think you deserve an award for using one day in day out.

janet said...

Oh..PG..how did you know I had just brewed a pot of coffee? Pass the gingerbread please!

Catherine said...

Ooooh that looks gooood!
I'm on a tedious diet and all cakey things are off limits until around November, but I may have to ask you for the recipe sometime.
My cooker is pretty much the same as yours (different make and slightly smaller oven bit I think, and it opens hinged at the bottom, presumably for using the grill)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

May the Baking Gods overlook your excessive pridefulness and instead acknowledge your achievement with a gracious bow of their floury heads. It looks delicious !!!!!!! Won't you have just a teeny bite?

Frewen said...

You must have known I was baking tomorrow (I've pinched back some of my ex chicken's eggs as chicken sitting payment). Now I want to make gingerbread as well as yoghurt cake and ginger biscuits!)

moonbindery said...

Yum! Makes me want to get out my old Betty Crocker cookbook. Oh, for those happy former days of eating fat, fat, and more lovely fat ("next, add 4 cups of butter...") without a care...

Over the Garden Wall said...

Gingerbread eh? My favourite.If I could find a wrinkle in time I would tesser over and bring my own whipped cream.

Liza said...

You deserve a much better kitchen than that! But the cake looks fab.

Frances said...

My little kitchen is also a challenge to use, although my petite gas stove is pretty reliable. I can regulate its heat!

It's grand what you create in your own small kitchen. Sometimes when I thumb through a magazine and see photos of huge, pristing kitchens with all sorts of storage space, and food prep devices, I do wonder what actually gets cooked or baked in these palaces.

Your photo of the gingerbread minus its first large, very large, slice shows what delicious fare can be created by someone like you! Cheers to spirit, imagination, patience perhaps ... and of course to those baking gods.

xo

Jessie said...

Well done! Well done making this prize cake and well done putting up with miniscule facilities. That is one big slice of cake missing - must have been too good to resist!x

Jessie said...

Oh yes, and I meant to say I love your cook book and your crockery! I've got a cookbook that was given to me (brand new) in the seventies and I still use that one the most.x

Jackie said...

Beautiful beautiful cake..and just when I took the vow ..(having done a bmi calculation online..)
I will try to forget cake.
But..I notice a Celtic mug or i
Irish Coffee cup just like some I bought in the tourist rip off shop on the Cliffs of Moher over 30 years ago!

My Bella Bleu said...

OH MY! Gretel that's one of my favs! Looks so good-congragulations....I hope you have the same success every time you make it.

the casbah kitten said...

Oh my, that looks so good! And what a tiny slice of a kitchen you have! But you know....it's that much less to have to clean. *wink* I KNEW I didn't need a massive kitchen to cook in.

Jemjoop said...

What, that's your stove and with all those delicious treats you post regularly.

It just goes to show the talent lies with the baker and not the equipment. I can only get lopsided cupcakes and brownies with burned edges out of a perfectly adequate stove. Hats off to you, that's one beautiful gingerbread.

Sue said...

Wow, I am sooooo impressed!And your kitchen looks about the same size as my gran's was. Room for a full size cooker and a sink and that was it. And the back door was on the 3rd wall, so it was always full of people going in and out!Well done you! That gingerbread looks divine!

Puddock said...

Gorgeous gingerbread - well done!

I have very happy memories of that old Good Housekeeping book - nice to see it again :)

littlesliceoflife said...

Mmmm, my mouth is watering. I love gingerbread and yours looks perfect!

natural attrill said...

I have a cookery book just like that, it was my Mums. Cake looks yummy.
Penny.

Merisi said...

Oh Gretel,
I don't know whether to call you Miracle Worker or Wonder Woman! Both, yes, you are both. ;-)

Rowan said...

Thhe gingerbread looks gorgeous. I have that Good Housekeeping cookery book too, use it a lot but haven't tried the gingerbread yet. Must do something about that!

Bee said...

What do you mean, you don't eat the stuff? Gingerbread: one of my favorites.

You are a miracle worker. What a sad little excuse for an oven.