Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan, and cool down a bit. Mix the flour, spices, salt and zest together. Disolve the baking soda in the milk, pour into the warm sugar/golden syrup mixture, then pour onto the flour mix and stir just enough to make it a smooth batter, don't overwork. Pour immediately into a large loaf tin (or two small ones) and bake in the preheated oven at 160 degree Celsius for one hour (preheat oven to 200 degree, but drop temperature down to 160 once you placed the cake tin in the oven). Check after one hour with a skewer to see if done, if done, take out of oven, cool down for 5 minutes, then tip out of the cake tin onto a wire rack. Stores well in an airtight container for up to four weeks (in a cool and dark spot, e. g. bottom shelf of your pantry).
Add some crystallised fruit like lemon, orange or ginger. Use honey instead of golden syrup for a much more refined flavour. Or substitute some of the flour with ground hazelnuts or almonds for a deeper and richer flavour, making it an extra special treat. Bake a few days in advance, it will taste rounder when matured. Serve cut in thin slices, spread with unsalted butter, or with a little fresh sour cream (the slight sourness of the sour cream will give the gingerbread an appealling twist).
If you live in New Zealand, then you can order my own sweet treats online here.
Quakebake Ltd., Napier, New Zealand phone (06) 833 6446 © Copyright 2005 All rights reserved.