Old Fashioned Gingerbread

I’m a sucker for any dessert that includes molasses. I just love that flavor. So naturally, gingerbread is a favorite of mine. Often just relegated to the holidays, gingerbread deserves a place on the dessert table at any time.

An early European gingerbread seller

The history of gingerbread is a long one. The gingerbread we eat today harks back to the Middle Ages in Europe. Many different immigrant groups brought their gingerbread recipes with them. My interest lies with the English/Scottish style gingerbread which is made from molasses (or treacle if you are actually making this in England or Scotland).  Those from Germanic countries brought over a type of gingerbread made from honey.

An interesting side note that I learned was that the first gingerbread man was created by Queen Elizabeth I’s chefs. These little gingerbread men were made in the likeness of important visitors and presented to them. One wonders if they then snapped their own heads off to eat them?

But I’m digressing as I didn’t make gingerbread men, but a good old fashioned gingerbread cake. My recipe came from 250 Classic Cake Recipes, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer for the Culinary Arts Institute, dated 1952. There were a number of gingerbread recipes to choose from including one with maple syrup instead of molasses and another using honey. I’d love to try them all, but the one I chose was Miss Rosa’s Gingerbread.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 c. flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. melted shortening (I used butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 1 c. boiling water

Sift flour, spices and soda together

Stir brown sugar into melted shortening

Add molasses and unbeaten eggs and beat well

Add sifted dry ingredients and hot water alternately in small amounts beating thoroughly after each addition

Pour into greased 10 x 10″ pan and bake in moderate 350 degree oven for 25 minutes (I had to use a slightly smaller pan and so it took 35 minutes to cook)

Super simple and the result was divine! Moist and filled with a lovely ginger/molasses flavor. To top it off I whipped up some heavy whipping cream. A dollop on top is the perfect accompaniment. We served this for dessert at a dinner party this weekend and it was a hit. Hope you’ll want to give it a try.

5 Responses to “Old Fashioned Gingerbread”

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  1. Bev says:

    Yum!!I love gingerbread!! If I can get the flour and whip cream tomorrow I’ll be making some!

  2. Bev says:

    hey, where’s Dan’s photo “licking” the bowl?

  3. Bev says:

    Umm! I made Aunt Lil’s gingerread today. It turned out okay ,. It tasted okay but not very gingerbready! Hey, folks, I know that’s not a word but didn’t know how else to describe it! I was a half cup short on the molasses but made it anyway, It had a very light brown color. I liked it but my daughter hasn’t tried it yet. My pan was smaller so it baked about 37 minutes. It is a rercipe that I’ll try again in the future!


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