Old-Fashioned Spicy Gingerbread


Preparation info

  • Serves


Appears in

Spirit & Spice

By Ghillie Basan

Published 2019

  • About

This is what I call a Granny classic that is so moist and sticky that it doesn’t need any butter – although please feel free to smear a little on if you wish! It is best made a day or two in advance and it keeps moreishly moist for over a week. When I used to cook in shooting lodges, it was perfect for the guests and stalkers to take as their ‘piece’ for the hill and it is a grand addition to a dram with all the fictional backdrop of a warm fire, leather chair and a black lab at your feet. Once I have a dram in one hand and a piece of this gingerbread in the other, my biggest problem is not eating the whole loaf! Whiskies that are fruity and spicy, rich and round, creamy or oily – The Glenlivet and Macallan 18 year olds, Craigellachie 14 and Clynelish 14 – are made for this.


  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 110g/4oz chilled butter
  • 110g/4oz treacle
  • 110g/4oz golden syrup
  • 300ml/10fl oz milk
  • 110g/4oz muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 900g/2lb loaf tin


Grease and line your loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl. Dice the butter and rub it into the flour, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

In a small pot, melt the treacle and syrup together. In another small pot, heat the milk with the sugar until it dissolves, but don’t let it boil. Leave both pots to cool to blood heat or lukewarm.

Using a balloon whisk, beat the milk into the flour mixture, followed by the treacle/syrup, and then the egg. Tip the batter into your prepared tin and pop in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. It is ready when firm and springy to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave the gingerbread to cool in the tin before turning it out and wrapping in greaseproof paper. Store in a tin for a day or two before eating.