Dorothy Tremble’s Gingerbread Cake


Guy Fawkes

When Guy Fawkes first planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament, I doubt he would have thought his legacy would extend over four centuries.

Ironically, our catholic family loved Bonfire Night, which we mainly celebrated at our house. Wood and debris piled high in the middle of the vegetable patch, sun-loungers, benches and food-covered pasting tables, circled the mound, with a suited Guy perched on top. Our guests, arriving in warm attire and wellington boots, enjoyed the warmth of the burning glow. With precision, Carlo would assemble the fireworks, set them alight and stand back. To a succession of colours, a peripheral of bangs and amongst a chorus of admiration, we cheered and saluted our very our Guy Fawkes, for a magnificent display. The evening closed with a group sing-a-long of campfire songs from ‘Ging Gang Ghouli‘ to ‘Roll out the Barrel‘. Thank you, Guido, you have left a really enjoyable custom.

My recipe for this bonfire night classic is from Dorothy Tremble, given to me by her granddaughter. Please note Dorothy’s advice for a perfect execution: turn the mix in one direction.

Dorothy Tremble’s Gingerbread Cake

Serves 8
225g (8oz) plain flour * 225g (8oz) self-raising flour * 2 tsp mixed spice * 3 tsp ground ginger * 85g (3oz) demerara sugar * 225g (8oz) butter, softened * 1 tin of black treacle * 500ml (1 pint) milk * 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda * 2 eggs, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 30cm x 23cm / 12 inch x 9 inch traybake tin. Sieve the flours and spices into a bowl and mix in the demerera sugar. Stand the treacle tin in a bowl of hot water to soften. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the treacle, allowing it to cool. Warm the milk over a low heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. Important advice from Dorothy Tremble: do all this by hand and in the same direction.

Mix the butter and treacle into the flour. Then slowly add the milk, mix, then slowly add the eggs. Pour into the traybake tin. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until spongy. This can be served warm with custard or cooled and sliced.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book, FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section TRADITIONAL PUDDINGS, a selection of the best of British cakes and desserts.