There is something terribly Enid Blyton-ish about ginger cake. It’s not the most glamorous cake to look at, it is not terribly exciting but it is perfect for comfort, for filling hungry tummies and, best of all, for picnics. You can wrap one up easily, especially if baked like a loaf, and cut huge chunks off in the open air. And that’s when the ginger cake comes into its own. When you are outside picnicking you do get so terribly hungry. A piece of sticky ginger cake, scented with ginger and other spices, is just the right cake to round off sandwiches with tea from a thermos.
The Island of Adventure is the first in the adventure series for Philip and Dinah Mannering along with Jack and Lucy-Ann. Both sets of siblings live with an uncle. Jack and Lucy-Ann because they have no parents. And Philip and Dinah because their mum is working to support them.
When Jack and Lucy-Ann’s uncle cannot take them back after a few weeks of being coached at a teacher’s house, they decide, without permission of the adults, to travel with Philip to Craggy-Tops where his aunt and uncle live and Dinah was waiting for him to return.
And that’s where the adventure begins. From Craggy-Tops they can see the Isle of Gloom. And for Jack, a keen bird-watcher, it offered a wonderland of bird watching opportunities. They see a man sailing around and go and investigate. It’s Bill Smugs and he offers to take them out in the boat. Their aunt gives them sandwiches, ginger cake and tea in a thermos flask. Perfect.
The only trouble is, when they finally do land on the island, they find something other than birds…
Recipe for Ginger Cake
Small saucepan, mixing spoon, whisk and bowl, 2lb loaf tin and liner.
- 125g butter
- 125g black treacle
- 75g golden syrup
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 3 heaped tsp ground ginger
- 2 heaped tsp mixed spice
- 150ml milk
- Squeeze of lemon
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 140 fan.
- Weigh the butter, treacle, syrup, sugar, ginger and mixed spice into a small saucepan. Heat gently until the butter and sugar have melted.
- Add a squeeze of lemon to the milk. (It will make it lumpy – creating ‘buttermilk’.)
- Weigh out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Give it a whisk to ensure its evenly distributed.
- Add the syrupy mixture to the flour. Whisk to ensure all lumps of flour have gone.
- Beat two eggs in with the milk mixture. Then add that to the cake mixture too. Make sure it is well combined.
- Pour into your lined tin and place in the oven for one hour.
- This cake will last ages as long as well wrapped or in an airtight container.