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Ena’s Gingerbread

A few weeks ago I purchased a beautiful loaf tin, which is actually made of tin, as part of my graduation present. I’ve been so excited about using it, but for some reason didn’t actually get round to doing so until today. However, it turns out that it works just fine – I have already decided what my next loaf cake shall be. This is a favourite recipe of Katherine’s grandmother, Ena, who lives in Sunderland; though I think the recipe was originally taken from an old Be-Ro cookery book. Wherever it comes from it is utterly delicious and incredibly dense and sticky; just how gingerbread ought to be. Just remember that any cake recipes those of a certain age make use of are generally sound, simply because they’ve been tested so many times they must be delicious.

The black treacle used in this recipe gives the cake an almost dark and intensely rich flavour. Despite this being a ginger cake I must say that the treacle really is the star of the show – it defines every positive characteristic of this cake, except for the flavour of the ginger. However, I must say that the inclusion of golden syrup was a stroke of genius on behalf of the author of the recipe. The flavour of the treacle is just about perfect, any more and it would perhaps have been a little overpowering – this is gingerbread after all.

I think I shall try to incorporate some more hand-me-down recipes as they are, in general, fantastic. Hopefully, though I’m not certain I’ll be able to, the next one shall be the family recipe for Christmas pudding. Gran wants me to help her make some as her arms are a little dodgy this year; she could probably cope if she was making just the one, but she’s actually making six – absurd.

Edit: For you Americans who live in America, a place where nothing is as it should be, black treacle is essentially molasses. Golden syrup, however, appears to be a rarity in America. Though, I suppose one could use any type of pale refined treacle or mosey on down to a specialised baking shop. Mixed spice is similar to what you would call pumpkin pie spice in America, according to a certain internet based encyclopedia. 


Fills a 2lb loaf tin


• 225g plain flour

• A pinch of salt

• 2 tsp ground ginger

• 1 tsp mixed spice

• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

• 55g light muscovado sugar

• 110g margarine or butter

• 165g black treacle

• 55g golden syrup

• 150ml milk

• 2 eggs


1. Heat the oven to 150C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Sieve together the flour, salt, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda, before stirring in the sugar.

2. Melt together the margarine, treacle and syrup over a gentle heat. Gradually beat in the milk and allow the mixture to cool a little. Beat the eggs before stirring them into the treacle mixture. Stir the wet mixture into the dry, tip into your loaf tin and bake for 1 ¼ hours.

Cost: Things like treacle and golden syrup really are very inexpensive – a whole tin of the golden syrup, which was roughly 5 times what I needed, set me back a mere 55p. In fact, every ingredient in this cake is reasonably priced – the entire cake should do one’s wallet out of a mere £1.20. That’s really quite unbelievable.

100 replies on “Ena’s Gingerbread”

i wonder what i could use instead of the treacle and golden syrup since i can’t really find this across the pond. but it’s not something i normally have on my list of ingredients, so maybe i can just get some at the grocery.

Super Lovely! I’ve unfortunately been accustomed to dry and relatively tasteless or over-cloved gingerbreads. I’m definitely giving this one a shot. When looking for the golden syrup I found that it can be ordered here: (they’ve also got the black treacle)
and these people seem to have a lot of opinions about substitutions:
I’m going to have to order the real thing and try it out =)

This looks fantastic! I know the U.S. gingerbread recipes I’ve used call for molasses, so I think that would probably be OK as a substitute for black treacle. Not sure on the golden syrup though. I will have to check at some specialty stores.

Mmmm….I love gingerbread. I have found golden syrup on specialty shops (was always creeped out by the dead lion being swarmed by flies on the label).

What is in “mixed spice”?

Lovely gingerbread recipe. Thanks for the “like” on my naan post today. I am a fan of British food (you may want to look back in my archives for a tongue-in-cheek glossary I wrote about Brit food). I will be following you on Twitter! Hope to see you there.

The Lyle’s golden syrup label shows bees (not flies) around a lion. It’s a biblical myth – bees created honeycomb inside a lion, hence the Lyle’s slogan ‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness’, as golden syrup was discovered as a lucky byproduct. Can’t believe golden syrup isn’t available in the US…but I guess it is classic British – reminds me so much of being a kid, my mum having to wrench open the sticky lid with the end of a knife, drizzling loads of it into flapjacks and then giving me the spoon to lick.

I’ve always made gingerbread cookies (am planning to make them soon to post) but i’ve never seen gingerbread. I am definitely trying your recipe as I know my husband and family will love the look of your gingerbread. Cheers!

Congratulations on your graduation (Master’s degree, yes?) — what an accomplishment! It made me smile to know that you treated yourself to this baking tin for a gift — what a treasure. (Your bread knife is wonderful, too — worthy of the job!)

I was fortunate to inherit my grandmother’s recipe box, along with many of her utensils and baking pans — can’t tell you how much I love using them. I think of her when I do and feel “hugged.” You (& your Gran) will have your work cut out for you during the holidays, but what a special time, baking together. Looking forward to your/her pudding recipe if your Gran will part with it! 🙂 By the way, I made your butternut squash risotto last night — my husband took one bite and said: “I could make a meal out of that.” 🙂 We did! It was fabulous!

this looks so nice and moist. I have recently had a recipe for gingerbread with pears, you put the pears at the tops on a bundt pan, and then gingerbread under the pear slices. I do think that Iwill try out your gingerbread recipe rather than the one they gave, this one sounds great!

That is a beautiful loaf! I love the rich color – it really says ‘autumn flavors’ to me. Treacle is something I don’t get round to eating often, but is something I really do enjoy. I think I’ll add this recipe to my “Thanksgiving in Australia” menu this year 🙂

Yum! This looks so good. I have been dying to make gingerbread and this seems like the perfect recipe. Maybe a little candied ginger mixed in would add a touch extra of goodness. Cant wait.

I’ve got a loaf in the oven right now. Luckily treacle, golden syrup nd mixed spice are all staples in my Aussie pantry, so didn’t even have to go shopping. I’m sure the finished product will be as delicious at the batter. So happy I stumbled upon your blog.

I have to try this recipe. But where did you find Golden Syrup for 55p? Was it Lyle’s? The small tins here cost about a pound. I grew up in Canada and Dad used to moan that he had to use corn syrup for flap jacks, though I seem to remember seeing Lyle’s in some shops in the late 90’s before I left.

This looks absolutely heavenly, but I have to say you sent this crazy American on a google search to learn what black treacle and muscovado sugar are!

I absolutely love “grandma” recipes like this. Thank you for sharing.

This is why you shouldn’t sign up for over 400 amazing blogs in your rss feed reader… I am flat out just keeping up with day to day posts let alone amazing back posts…sigh…I think I am going to have to stop sleeping and just spend my life reading posts if I am missing AMAZING recipes like this. This has to be the reason that I trawl online food blogs. This particular recipe is a sort of Holy Grail moment to me. When I find something like this it reinforces my blog hoarding and gives me a reason to keep stumbling out of bed at 5am every day because it would be more than a sin to miss something as fundamentally beautiful as this perfect recipe. Can you please thank Katherine proffusely for sharing this wonderful family recipe. My gran had that be-ro book…time to hit my sister (keeper of the family treasures) up for it methinks!

Past good…entering my blood stream at a date coming VERY soon (need to get treacle and some more golden syrup in town). Until then I am boosting my need for more ginger (exponentially more ginger…) by starting a ginger and chilli beer plant to make some knock your socks off Christmas explosions for our no-doubt overheated day. Can you imagine it being hot on Christmas day? Blue sky…sun burning (doesn’t shine here in Tassie…we have no ozone layer left thanks to the “rest of the world”…sigh…) cicada’s so happily stinking hot that they actually unite their clicking into something approximating a soundtrack from a Stephen King movie? Neither can poor Steve :(. He says that he will NEVER get used to our Aussie Christmases no matter how much turkey and plum pudding I make.

Not sure what I’ve done…..followed the recipe to the T and there’s way too much mixture for a 1lb loaf tin – it came to the top when it went in….1/3 of it is now on the bottom of the oven

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