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Everyday Gingerbread with Orange-Ginger Icing
A perennial treat from the tea trolley, quick and easy to make

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Everyday Gingerbread with Orange-Ginger Icing

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Adjust Servings:
1 Large eggs
1 cup Dark brown sugar 130g or 4 ounces
0.25 cup Treacle or molasses 140g or 4 fluid ounces
0.66 cup Butter 120g or 0.25 pound
0.5 cup + 3 tablespoons Hot water 150 ml or 5 fluid ounces
2.75 cups All-purpose flour 360g or 12 ounces
0.25 teaspoon Salt
1.5 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 tablespoons Powdered ginger
For the icing
0.66 cup Butter 120g or 0.25 pound
1.33 cups Confectioners' / icing sugar 240 g or 8 ounces
1 Zest of large orange
3 to 4 tablespoons Juice of large orange
0.5 teaspoon Powdered ginger

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    Sweet, rich, dark, spicy gingerbread -- with an added sweet/sharp accent from orange juice and zest and more ginger

    • 1 hour 20 mins
    • Serves 4
    • Easy


    • For the icing



    Gingerbread would have been a perennial adornment of the tea trolley over the last century or so when the Irish housewife was doing the baking. It didn’t call for exotic ingredients, children liked it, it was fast and easy to make, and gingerbread hot out of the oven has a cachet that not even baker’s gingerbread could match. Our recipe is dark, rich, moist, hot with ginger, and endlessly better than the gingerbread cake / cupcake mixes available in the North American market.

    This recipe, adapted from one in a locally published Irish cookbook of the 50’s, adds a little something extra: an icing based on orange juice and zest, with a touch of ginger of its own.

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    For the gingerbread

    Grease a 9-inch cake tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C.


    Combine and beat well the egg, brown sugar and treacle or molasses.


    In a heatproof / microwaveproof bowl, either beat the butter and water until the butter is melted into the water, or microwave both together until the butter is completely melted. (If microwaving, set the butter/water mixture aside for a few minutes to cool.)


    Add the melted butter and water to the egg/sugar/treacle mixture and beat until very well blended. (Note here: this can all be done by hand, but it works better with a mixer.)


    Sift the flour together with the baking powder and spices. Once this is done, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a third at a time, mixing just until completely blended.


    Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven.

    When baked, cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before carefully turning out onto the rack to finish cooling completely.


    For the orange / ginger icing

    Combine the butter and the icing sugar / confectioners' sugar and beat together using a mixer until starting to become light and fluffy.


    Using a zester or a small sharp knife, carefully peel the orange zest off the orange. Do not allow any of the white orange pith to come off with the zest.


    Chop the zest very finely and then, using a mortar and pestle, reduce it to a paste. (This takes some work but really makes the difference for the finished product.)


    Add the pureed zest and the powdered ginger to the butter and sugar mixture and continue beating at high speed.


    Add the orange juice one tablespoon at a time, slowing down the beater each time the juice goes in and then raising it to high speed as it goes in.

    Keep an eye on the fluffiness of the buttercream icing as the third tablespoon goes in. If you prefer a slightly denser icing, don't add the fourth tablespoon.


    Use the buttercream icing to frost the completely cooled gingerbread about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.


    Before cutting the gingerbread

    To ensure a clean cut, put the frosted gingerbread in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

    Using a long sharp knife, cut the gingerbread into strips of equal length; then cut each strip into squares. Between each cut, rinse the knife with hot water and wipe down.

    The gingerbread will keep well in a sealed tin for several days.


    I write for a living. But food is one of my favorite hobbies... learning about it, cooking it, eating it!

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