Yes, this is the third recipe for sticky gingerbread I’ve posted on this blog. I know. I have a bit of a problem.
For the past few years, baking up a big pan of gingerbread on a rainy day and then sitting down to enjoy a still-warm-from-the-oven slice and a big mug of tea has become something of a fall ritual.
After all, what’s not to love about a big fat hunk of British-style gingerbread? I’m endlessly fascinated with the way it contradicts itself. It’s simultaneously densely thick and pillowy soft, sticky but not messy, simple and homey but with a surprisingly complex flavour that perfectly balances between sugar and spice.
This year’s version is a Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread that starts off with my basic recipe and stirs in a generous dose of pumpkin spice, thus bringing together my two autumnal obsessions into one convenient format.
The pumpkin flavour in the finished cake is quite subtle, more of a whisper than a shout, but it gives the finished cake an incredibly tender, moist crumb. (I mean, look at those slices – even with the sharpest knife in my kitchen, it refused to slice cleanly!)
I may have inhaled two pieces still warm from the oven, and then two more for breakfast the very next day. For testing purposes, of course.
I may have brought the rest to work, so that my coworkers could help make sure I wouldn’t eat more. And also for testing purposes, because sometimes it’s good to have a second opinion.
I may have eaten the one piece that was left over after all my coworkers helped themselves. Just in case it might be defective, you see.
And I may have absolutely no regrets about any of the above.
On that note, I’ll be checking myself into rehab. Or maybe the nearest Weight Watchers meeting. I’m still trying to decide.
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup golden syrup
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup water
- 2½ cups flour
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a lightly buttered 9"x12" baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat, combine the molasses, sugar, golden syrup, butter and water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool until just barely warm to the touch.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and cloves.
- Pour the cooled molasses mixture into a second large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add pumpkin, milk and vanilla extract, and stir until completely combined. Lastly, add the dry ingredients, stirring just until the mixture comes together (the batter will look fairly runny and a little lumpy, but resist the urge to add more flour or to continue stirring - this is exactly how it's supposed to look).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until the top is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a moist crumb. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then lift out using the parchment and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed, perhaps with a generous dollop of whipped cream if you're thusly inclined.
In a pinch, golden corn syrup makes a pretty decent substitute.