It is the time of year to start thinking gingerbread thoughts, so I feel the need to add to the archive of historic Gingerbread recipes.
Here are a couple of gleanings from The Cookbook of Lady Clark of Tillypronie . It was published 1909, after her death, but the recipes are her lifetime collection and most date from much earlier. The names of the donors of the recipes are noted, and there are often little asides and comments included, such as in the second recipe given (in relation to “another copy”).
The first recipe contains yeast, so is a genuine sweet raised bread rather than cake.
Ginger Cake. No.3 (Isabel Heywood).
2 lbs fine flour, ¼ lb butter, ¼ lb sugar, 2 teaspoonfuls each powdered ginger and pounded allspice thoroughly mixed together, 2 tablespoonfuls yeast. Make into a light dough with warm milk. Bake.
This next one would make a very large cake, but it sounds delicious with a lot of citrus flavours and some caraway seeds. If you intend to try it, note that it is meant to be made in at least a week in advance. Also note that the method instructions say to include a dessertspoonful of soda, which does not appear in the ingredient list.
Gingerbread Loaf or “American Cake.”
For tea or for luncheon.
1 lb. 14 ozs. flour, ½ lb. butter, 2 lbs. treacle, ½ lb. powdered sugar, ¼ lb. candied lemon peel also ¼ lb. chopped citron peel if liked, a tablespoonful of caraway seeds, 1 lemon squeezed and its peel grated, 1 ½ ozs. of powdered ginger, ¼ lb citron, ½ teaspoonful beer (“a tablespoonful” in another copy), 2 eggs.
Melt the butter and the treacle together, and rub in the sugar with a dessertspoonful of soda which is not quite ½ oz. (another copy says a teaspoonful). Bake like any other cake, having ornamented the top with slices of citron or caraway comfits if you like, but do not cut it for eating in under a week.
For your reading convenience, these recipes have been added to the archive in the appropriate place.
I wonder, if at some point, you might comment on why historic cake recipes often yielded such very large cakes? The sheer volume of ingredients of some of these recipes is amazing, and it seems as if they were attempting to satisfy the sweet tooth of an entire community!
How delightful! I wonder if they made them so large to have extra to store for later or to offer guests. I love gingerbread especially around this time of year so enjoyed this post a lot!
I have been reading through my family’s hand written recipe books - dating back to my great, great grandmother from the 1840's and each generation have their favourite gingerbread recipe. It’s interesting to see how food tastes are reflected in such a simple recipe from generation to generation with the inclusion/exclusion of spices, candied peel etc. My contribution to the family gingerbread recipe is to use fresh grated ginger instead of powdered and to add cardamom powder.
Yes, it is interesting that all the older recipes are made on a large scale. I know from my family’s experience, who were farmers, that everything was made in bulk to feed all the farm workers and it was all cooked in large wood fired ovens built for mass baking which was done usually once a week.
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