Gingerbread’s long history pretty much concludes in the British Isles, where it is a standard. This is an adaptation of a 1940s British recipe.
Makes one 9-inch round gingerbread, about 8 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
One 9 x 2-inch round pan, buttered and the bottom lined with a disk of parchment or buttered wax paper
- Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.
- Stir the flour and spices together in a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over low heat, then (still on low heat) stir in the brown sugar, molasses, and most of the water, leaving a couple of tablespoons in the measuring cup. Stir together to combine and increase heat to medium. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the baking soda into the remaining water. Remove the butter mixture from the heat and pour the baking soda mixture into it.
- Add the liquid to the bowl of dry ingredients and use a large rubber spatula to quickly fold everything together.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake the gingerbread until it is well risen and feels firm in the center and the point of a paring knife inserted in the center emerges clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then loosen the gingerbread from the side of the pan with a small paring knife if necessary and invert it to another rack. Peel off the paper and replace it with a rack. Cool completely before serving.