When was the last time you popped the lid on a jar of black treacle and watched it ooze over a stack of butter? Welcome back to the world of Scottish baking.
The first time I visited Scotland I was in my 20s and travelling Europe using a hospitality exchange programme called Servas. It was a great way to meet people and learn about different cultures. When I was in Edinburgh I stayed with a lady who made me a full Scottish dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties. For dessert she made a glorious sticky ginger cake, which she served with vanilla ice cream. I had never had anything like it and loved it.
I happened upon just such a recipe in Catherine Brown’s Classic Scots Cookery, a book which is quickly becoming my go-to reference when I’m feeling peckish for something that gives my arteries a trip to the Celtic carnival.
It’s the butter that does it, all 250 grams of it. You combine this with 275 grams dark brown sugar and a small, slow river of black treacle (to the tune of 175 grams), and warm it all up to a lava-like soup on the stove along with a wee spoon of ginger and cinnamon.
Take your lava off the stove and wait for it to cool a bit. Then mix in 4 eggs and a wee scoop of baking soda that has been sifted with 275 grams of plain flour. Finally you can add several tablespoons of finely chopped crystallised ginger and about 200 ml of natural yogurt or milk that has been soured with lemon juice.
Bake this runny mixture in an oven pre-heated to 350 F (Gas 4) for about an hour (less if it’s a fan oven).
The result is especially dreamy when served warm with vanilla ice cream. All the wee ginger pieces will have sunk to the bottom, which will be extra sticky.
There are several other recipes for sticky gingerbread around the web, so you’ll be sure to find one that entices you. Just get yourself some black treacle and start pouring.