Along with banana bread, gingerbread loaf is something I clearly remember from my youth.
It was actually my dad's favourite, might still be in fact! He loves anything with ginger. If you're South African you'll know what Stoney is. The strongest gingerale I've ever had, it would have me in a coughing fit so I just couldn't drink the stuff. My dad? Loves it. So every now and then my mom would bake a gingerbread loaf if there weren't old bananas ready to be used.
The smell is so distinct, as is any baked good with ginger, but when I had my gingerbread loaf baking I was immediately hit with the feeling that I was a kid again. What an incredible aroma filled the house, I almost thought it was Christmas.
As for the taste, I guess it's what you expect from gingerbread. Warming, spicey and just sweet enough. And it gets better as it sits. Nothing hidden or complex, it is what it is. I'm ok with that. Sometimes you just need something simple.
Looking at the photos you may be thinking that it actually looks a little dry. It is dry in one sense, only that it's not soaked with a simple syrup like most other gingerbread loaves, but I can promise you it's not desperately-need-milk dry either.
The molasses in the brown sugar gives the loaf a lovely chewiness, and yes, you may want to enjoy this with a cold glass of milk, but no, it doesn't actually need it.
I actually love that this recipe isn't soaked in a syrup, it's less sweet so I'd happily have a slice for breakfast and not feel as though I was eating a slice of cake in the AM.
It would also be great as french toast or in a trifle as it will happily soak up whatever liquid you feed it.
I would call this a retro recipe, something from the Tupperware generation, and my small mission in life is to revamp retro recipes 'cause I think they're great, anything that reminds you of happy childhood memories is great!
So, what did I revamp?
I thought it would be great with some dried apricots added to the mix, and it was. Thickly sliced chunks of sweet and tangy apricot was a fantastic addition and went beautifully with the ginger and spices.
I also paired it with a delicious spread. Now, you are more than welcome to enjoy your gingerbread loaf as I remember, warm out the oven and slathered with salty butter (YUM!!!) but if you'd like something a little different I'd highly recommend my orange & honey cream cheese spread.
Honey, orange and ginger go so well together, and when you mix the coolness of cream cheese with the heat of ginger, it's a fantastic mix of flavours.
I chose to use a light cream cheese just as a personal preference, but you're more than welcome to make it with full fat cream cheese, I won't judge! The full fat spread will have a thicker consistency, but my hubby and myself can vouch for the light spread too, even if it isn't as luxuriously thick.
2 cups Plain Flour
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger (you can add up to 2 Tbsp if you like a stronger ginger taste & heat)
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp / 15g Unsalted Butter or Margarine
1 Tbsp Syrup or Honey
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Recently Boilt Water
1 cup Dried Apricots, sliced and tossed with a bit of flower
- Preheat oven to 160°C / 325°F (140°C Fan Assisted)
- Grease & flour a loaf tin, or line with parchment paper
- Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl
- Rub the butter or margarine into the dry ingredients with your fingers
- Add honey or syrup, egg and water to the dry mixture
- Beat until well combined and the mixture is glossy and soft, this will be a very thick and sticky batter
- Tip: Add a little dash of milk or water if batter's a bit dry
- Fold in sliced dried apricots
- Bake between 1hr & 1hr 10mins or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (a few baked crumbs are fine, just not wet batter)
- Cool on wire rack for 15-20mins then turn out of tin to cool completely on cooling rack
- Tip: Or enjoy while still a little warm!
Orange & Honey Cream Cheese Spread
1 tub Philly's Cream Cheese (light or full fat)
2 Tbsp Honey
Zest from 1 medium Orange
Juice from 1/2 a medium Orange
- Stir cream cheese and honey together in a bowl
- Mix in zest & orange juice
- Serve with your delicious gingerbread loaf
Keep fresh by wrapping in foil or in a ziploc bag