I've alluded to health problems within the family in a few of my recent posts, which have cut down on my free time and resulted in very little baking taking place. I'm sad to say that I'm now entering a new phase of my life - living on my own for the first time ever. My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June, after becoming ill while on holiday in France; an operation failed to halt its aggressive growth and he passed away last week, just 4 months after diagnosis.
I'm not sure what this will mean in terms of this blog - I love baking, but a small cake suitable for two to eat over a few days is too much for me to get through, especially as I'm prone to gaining weight easily. I could bake things suitable for freezing, but if I'm taking slices of cake, or rolls of biscuit dough, out of the freezer, that still means fewer opportunities to try new recipes. We'll have to see how things work out!
This gingerbread was baked when I was expecting family to visit over the weekend; what wasn't eaten was taken home by my children. It is as good as a traditional gingerbread, which gets a sticky top over time, but uses oil instead of butter. My original recipe uses plain flour, but this time I used a mixture of plain wheat flour and spelt flour - only because I haven't managed to keep my storecupboard well stocked lately, and didn't have enough plain flour. Because of the strong flavours of the spices and treacle in the gingerbread, I don't think the flavour of the spelt was evident at all, but it's nice to know the recipe worked with one of the more 'fashionable' grains.
150g plain flour
200g spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
150g caster sugar
1 large egg
250mls of roughly equal amounts of golden syrup and black treacle, mixed with 250mls hot water (ie 500mls liquid in total)
Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan), and line a 20cm (8") square deep cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the flours, bicarb, spices and salt into a medium sized bowl and whisk together to distribute the spices evenly.
In a large bowl whisk the oil, egg and sugar to a smooth emulsion.
Add alternate portions of the flour mix and the syrup mixture to the emulsion in the large bowl, stirring just enough to blend the mixture together - no need to beat.
Transfer the batter to the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until a test probe comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the baking tin.