By Request: Gingerbread from McDonnell’s Good Food Cook Books

Gingerbread A recent request for the Gingerbread recipe from the first of Paula Daly’s McDonnell’s Good Food Cook Books brought back a host of memories. This was a cake that was often made at home, first by my mother and then, when I was allowed to get stuck into more complicated recipes, by me, standing on top of a chair to stir the sweet, sticky mixture (and sneaking tastes whenever I could!).

Although I still love Gingerbread I hadn’t made it for a while and hadn’t used this particular recipe in years. Although, unlike the loaf I made last year, there is no syrup drizzled over it when it comes out of the oven, this is still a lovely damp, moist Gingerbread, especially when you wrap it up and store it for a day or two before cutting it – if you can wait that long!

With this recipe, as with anything involving melting ingredients, I find it easiest to put the saucepan on the scales, measuring the ingredients as I add them. Makes life a little easier rather than trying to wrestle golden syrup or molasses into the measuring pan and then into the saucepan. The only changes that I made to the recipe was to substitute one of the teaspoons of ground ginger with cinnamon, use honey instead of golden syrup and molasses instead of treacle. And, of course, use butter instead of margarine.

Butter – 125g
Brown sugar – 125g
Golden syrup or honey – 125g
Treacle or molasses – 125g
Milk – 150ml
Plain flour – 225g
Ground ginger – 3 teaspoons
Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Bread soda – ½ teaspoon
Egg – 1, beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a deep 18cm square tin.

Warm the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and treacle or molasses with the milk in a small saucepan over a low heat until just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Sieve the plain flour, ginger, cinnamon and bread soda into a bowl, make a hollow in the centre and add the lukewarm butter-sugar-syrup mixture. Whisking from the centre, as when making pancakes, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients. Add the beaten egg and mix until smooth.

Pour and scrape into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes. Stand on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes before turning out from the tin and removing the paper. Allow to cool completely, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in a airtight tin.

Adapted from McDonnell’s First Good Food Cook Book by Paula Daly.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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3 Responses

  1. Sarah Bell says:

    Looks lovely, I love gingerbread, or most things sweet really!! Will have to make this one!

  2. Sue says:

    I’m delighted with this recipe which appears to have been a favourite in my husband’s family.Also, compliments on this terrific website. I’ve bookmarked it for future use.SusanTipperary

  3. Caroline says:

    I think most families in Ireland would probably have made this recipe at one time or another! Thanks for your compliment, Sue. Hope you and Sarah have fun making it – maybe we should have a Gingerbread bake-off?!

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