I’ve taken this week of work as I was supposed to be heading up to Seattle to catch up with some friends. Long story short is I didn’t make it to the US due to a few issues Qantas were having with their planes, so I’ve put my trip on hold until the new year. Have you ever planned to do something exciting like that and had to cancel at the last minute? It’s a total bummer. But do you know what makes up for it? A whole week of nothing. Actually, a whole week of organizing in advance for Christmas. If you’re not into Christmas like I am then this probably sounds about as exciting as a stomach ulcer. But me, I’m in holiday planning heaven right now.
I started yesterday by baking this spiced gingerbread loaf to get me in the mood for putting up our Christmas tree. I’m a huge fan of gingerbread and its warm, spicy scent that snakes though the house as it bakes. This recipe has a gorgeous blend of cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, mustard, applesauce and two gingers: powdered and candied. I topped it with a lemon glaze and homemade candied orange peel, the recipe of which will follow shortly.
If you’re not a glaze person don’t worry – this loaf holds up very well on it’s own. I also made another one of these without the glaze, and gave it to my dad. He loved it.
Sparkling Gingerbread Loaf Recipe
As you can see in the photos, I chopped the orange peel into large pieces. I think next time I will mince the heck out of them and sprinkle them more liberally. Then it will be really sparkly. I made my own orange peel. Store bought is fine too.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1¼ stick / 5oz / 140g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup candied ginger, cut into tiny cubes
½ cup water
1 cup applesauce or 2 apples peeled and finely grated with microplane
zest of one orange
1 cup icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup candied orange peel, minced
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C, fan forced. Grease a 9×4-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and candied ginger.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the water, finely grated apple, and orange zest.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl, then quickly beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
Mix half the flour mix into the egg mix, then add half the wet mix. Repeat.
Bake until a toothpick or thin knife comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes.
Mix the icing sugar with the lemon until smooth and loose enough to drizzle easily. Wait until cake is completely cooled and drizzle over. Sprinkle with candied orange peel.
Makes a 9″ loaf.