I was going to call this recipe 'old-fashioned' gingerbread, until I read this post about molasses cookies on Let Her Bake Cake! Anyhoo, it's the old-fashioned cakey sort of gingerbread that is better after a day or two in storage, when it begins to develop a sticky top surface.
I've been using this recipe since around 1974 - that's when the recipe book (Cakes and Cake Decorating, by Zoe Leigh, published by Octopus Books) was published and it was the year I got married, so it's a fairly safe assumption to make. All I've done to it over the years is to convert it to metric weights and increase the amount of ground ginger used. It's a particularly easy cake to make - it doesn't need an electric mixer or any precise techniques - just melt, mix and bake!
120g butter - cut into 6-8 large cubes
60g dark muscovado sugar
120g black treacle or molasses
120g golden syrup - see note about syrups
120mls milk (I use semi-skimmed)
2 large eggs
240g plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
3 level teaspoons ground ginger
Note - you can vary the proportions of the treacle and golden syrup, providing the total weight is 240g. The more treacle you use the darker and more bitter the cake will be. I often use 60g golden syrup and 180g treacle.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C, Fan oven 140C, Gas 3. Line a 20cm (8") deep square cake tin with baking parchment (or prepare as you prefer). I use a Silverwood adaptable tin for this cake - it rises to around 5cm high during baking.
Put the butter, sugar and both syrups into a saucepan, and heat gently, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar disssolved in the syrup.
Remove from the heat and add the milk. If necessary, allow to cool to blood heat (you don't want to scramble the eggs).
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir briskly until just combined - do not beat.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 - 60 minutes until a probe tests clean.
Cool in the baking tin. Store in an airtight container when completely cold, and try to wait at least one day before eating! I usually cut this into 12 pieces.
The picture below was taken 48 hours after baking, when the surface is glowing with gorgeous stickiness!