A squidgy gingerbread is one of life’s great pleasures. It is one of my favourite cakes to bake and requires very little effort. It also gets better with age, the flavours developing after two or three days wrapped in foil. As there is fresh fruit in this version it won’t last as long as a plain gingerbread but I don’t expect it’ll hang around for too long. You can serve it on its own-completely cold as a cake- or warm with the very delicious caramel sauce –and of course, custard.
- 3 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
- 2 knobs stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
- 280g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 140g light muscovado sugar
- 80g golden caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter
- 250ml black treacle
- 25ml golden syrup
- 250ml milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- For the caramel sauce
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cardamom pods, split and seeds scraped out
- Pinch nutmeg
- Heat the oven to 170˚c, fan oven 150˚c, mark 3. Line a 9 x 9 (23cm) inch square cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Slice the pears and arrange over the base of the tin. Scatter over the chopped ginger.
- Mix the flour with the ginger, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice. Put the sugars, butter, treacle and syrup in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Take off the heat and stir in the milk. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes then stir in the beaten eggs. Gradually beat the contents of the saucepan into the dry ingredients, until no lumps remain. Pour the batter over the pears and ginger and smooth to the edges. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until firm in the centre and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes- if you’re serving the gingerbread as a pudding- then cut into squares. Serve with the caramel sauce –which you can make while the gingerbread is cooking.
- For the caramel sauce, put the sugar in a saucepan with 80ml water. Place over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Don’t stir the liquid-just swirl the pan around gently to move the sugar around. When it has dissolved turn the heat up and boil until the liquid caramelises and turns a deep golden brown. This will take from between 5-10 minutes. Pour in the cream-the mixture will bubble up and the sugar will stiffen but stir over the lowest heat until the caramel is smooth. Stir in the spices and pour into a jug.