July 30, 2010

Summer Colonial Cooking: Gingerbread Cake Recipe

It's been so hot recently! The sun has shone bright without a cloud in the sky. What a great day to spend in a Colonial farmhouse, cooking?

I love animals, but the door of the farmhouse has been altered to let smoke out. Unfortunately, it also lets small (and not so small) critters in! Cooking with critters is nearly impossible.

I once heard that cats can contort and fit anywhere their head can fit. I wasn't sure how cats did this until I saw this barn kitty slide in the kitchen under the door.

The rooster has been testing the waters in the kitchen for a while but today he decided to come all the way in and see what crumbs he could scrape from the cracks in the floor.

I was waiting for cat and chicken brawl, but it never came. After the cat was done sticking his nose in all of the whipped cream, the cat and chicken sat down together.

I spent a good while chasing both the cat and the chicken around the kitchen but it was impossible to keep them out.  I tried my best to keep them off the cooking utensils. The chicken was fond of standing on the dutch ovens. There was also a cooked chicken on the table which he didn't seem to mind. 

Here's a period recipe for Gingerbread Cakes if anyone is brave enough to try it. I don't think our modern palates are used to real ginger used in sweets.

The recipe makes a lot of dough! Remember they baked a lot at once and stored it up.  I wrote the recipe up in modern terms and also in modern "sizing."

Ingredients: (Makes a lot.)
-12 Cups Flour
-2 Cups Sugar
-1 pound Butter (4 sticks)
-2 ounces Ginger
-2 teaspoons ground nutmeg or 1 freshly ground nutmeg
-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
-16 ounces of Golden Syrup (Treacle)

 Annotated Ingredients: (Makes 4 small cakes or one 9 inch one.)
- 3 Cups Flour
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 pound Butter (1 stick)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 1/8 cup Heavy Cream 
- 4 ounces of Golden Syrup (Treacle)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix Flour, Sugar, and Nutmeg in a large bowl. Cream Butter with the grated Ginger. Mix the Butter and Ginger in with the Flour mixture. Add Golden Syrup and Heavy Cream. Mix until a stiff dough. Roll out to 1/2 inch on a floured surface. Cut out small circles. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.


  1. Oh my gosh, is this what I'm to expect next week? How did the kids behave with critters in the kitchen? Or did they leave before the kids got there? The recipe looks good. Are the cakes hard like biscuits, or soft?

  2. Jodi, The chicken and the cat were surprisingly good with each other and the kids but the kids are always trying to touch them which isn't good when they are cooking. I am more worried about the raccoons and things that can fit in at night. I haven't tried the recipe yet, I was going to make it tomorrow or Sunday at a time-line event we are doing. I think it is more like cake. There was a recipe for regular gingerbread in that same book.

  3. I love the rooster in the kitchen. I had a cochan bantam hen who liked to try and visit every time the door was opened at our house. And she loved to help out when we cooked outside or hung out the clothes. I also had 2 hen turkeys who insisted on following me around the yard and loved to break into the garden when I wasn't looking. Aren't animals fun!
    Can't wait to try this recipe. It looks yummy and the weather's turning chilly here so I'm in the mood for gingerbread.

  4. Hi! I would like to try this recipe, but Im a bit confused. Is this really a gingerbread CAKE recipe, or is it just gingerbread, as in the cookie? Cause isnt the gingerbread cake more like a soft cake? :)


  5. Ellen, I hope you do make this.This is spongy gingerbread not the kind you make cookies out of.

  6. Okay, thats what i hoped it was! :) Im going to try this, but how come the amount of butter is the same even after reducing the value of other ingredients from the original recipe? One pound sounds like a lot :)


  7. Ellen, thank you for catching that! It should be one stick of butter. I'll correct that above.


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