Allergy Friendly, Cakes, Dairy Free, Loaves

The Little Loaf that Could


Prep Time : 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! I am fascinated by baking from different cultures and different times in history. I have recently been reading about cooking during the second world war under rationing (particularly in the UK). I found some excellent books at my new favourite online second hand bookstore World of Books. They are UK based and don’t price gouge on shipping which is nice.

A wonderful recipe for gingerbread is contained in “We’ll Eat Again” by UK national treasure Dame Marguerite Patten who spent many years teaching baking and cooking under rationing to help people make the most of what was available. I have made it several times and it is stupidly easy, produces a delicious loaf that keeps well and has nothing fancy in it (natch).

I spent a bit of time converting it (with help and spoons provided by my mother) to modern metric all around and in the process found out that it is infinitely adaptable to suit whatever flavour you fancy. The main recipe today is a chai spiced loaf using honey, but I’ll pop some other variations at the bottom including a few bonus ingredients that wouldn’t have been readily available during WWII – I’m looking at you freshly grated ginger!

Heat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a medium loaf pan with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a small saucepan mix together the butter/oil, honey/syrup, and sugar. Heat gently until everything has melted together and the sugar is mostly dissolved.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk/liquid. Test the temperature with a finger to see if it is cool enough to add the egg. If it still feels hot, set it aside to cool for 10 minutes. When the mixture is lukewarm whisk in the egg and vanilla.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and gently whisk or mix with a spatula until just smooth.

Scrape all the batter into the prepared pan and bake immediately.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until well risen, cracked, and the centre springs back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and lift the loaf out of the pan using the baking paper.

You can enjoy this loaf while it is still warm and unadorned or wait until it has cooled and add a boujee drizzle of glaze or crown of cream cheese frosting. Beat together a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of cream cheese and add icing sugar until the consistency is spreadable – about 1 cup) Dust with a little cinnamon.

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Honey Chai Loaf + Variations


Prep Time : 10 mins | Cook Time : 40 mins | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Makes : 1 modest loaf

A soft flavourful loaf cake that comes together in no time at all – the perfect teatime standby.

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/4 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup (100 grams) liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) unsalted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 mls) dairy or coconut milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gingerbread Variation:

  • use 1/3 cup golden syrup or honey
  • swap spices for 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Orange Variation:

  • use 1/3 cup fine shred marmalade instead of honey
  • remove spices
  • add the zest of an orange
  • use the juice of the orange and make up the volume of liquid to 1/2 cup using milk

Maple + Pecan Variation:

  • use 1/3 cup maple syrup instead of honey
  • swap spices for 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • add 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts

Lemon + Poppyseed Variation:

  • use 1/3 cup honey or lemon curd
  • swap spices for 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • add the zest of a lemon
  • use the juice of the lemon and make up the volume of liquid to 1/2 cup using milk

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Medium bowl
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk (preferably a sauce whisk)
  • Medium loaf pan lined with baking paper

Directions:

Heat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a medium loaf pan with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a small saucepan mix together the butter/oil, honey/syrup, and sugar. Heat gently until everything has melted together and the sugar is mostly dissolved.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk/liquid. Test the temperature with a finger to see if it is cool enough to add the egg. If it still feels hot, set it aside to cool for 10 minutes. When the mixture is lukewarm whisk in the egg and vanilla.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and gently whisk or mix with a spatula until just smooth.

Scrape all the batter into the prepared pan and bake immediately.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until well risen, cracked, and the centre springs back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and lift the loaf out of the pan using the baking paper.

You can enjoy this loaf while it is still warm and unadorned or wait until it has cooled and add a boujee drizzle of glaze or crown of cream cheese frosting. Beat together a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of cream cheese and add icing sugar until the consistency is spreadable – about 1 cup) Dust with a little cinnamon.

Cook’s Notes:

  • While I have given some flavour variations, so long as you have 1/3 cup syrup/honey/jam/marmalade and 1/2 a cup of liquid (milk, coconut milk, fruit juice, black tea) you can swap out flavours to your hearts content!
  • Baking times can vary quite a bit depending on how heavy your loaf pan is and what it’s made of so start checking for doneness early – at about 30 minutes.
  • This recipe can also be made as a small 6 inch round cake, or as mini cakes – baking times will vary so just keep an eye on them and test small cakes from about 15 minutes. As it doesn’t contain a lot of fat, if you want to make a double batch I recommend making it in a deep 8 inch square pan rather than a large loaf pan to reduce the cooking time and prevent the loaf drying out.

 – This loaf keeps very well and is still soft and delicious after a week in an airtight container – 

Adapted from We’ll Eat Again by Marguerite Patten.

© 2020 Wellington Bakehouse. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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4 thoughts on “The Little Loaf that Could

  1. I made the ginger version and doubled the amount of grated ginger – it is delicious but found the loaf to be on the dry side. We will definitely make it again but wondering how to keep it moist?

    1. Hi Rupa – this loaf won’t be a very sticky moist gingerbread like you may be used to and is quite good toasted with butter spread on it (if you didn’t ice it) you could make a syrup with 1/4 cup each of sugar and water and a little ginger and pour over like you would with a syrup cake? I also add much more ginger to recipes when I make them haha

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