Search Results for "gingerbread"

Recipe of the Week: Gingerbread Latte Trifles


If you’re not keen on Christmas pudding then swap for Gingerbread Latte Trifle from the 2017 Dairy Diary, it’s divine.

Gingerbread Latte Trifle

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 353 per portion
Fat 40g (25g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians


  • Espresso ground coffee 2 tbsp
  • Trifle sponges 8 (approx. 200g/7oz), each cut into 3
  • Custard 500g carton
  • Double cream 300ml pot
  • Gingerbread syrup 1 tbsp
  • Dark chocolate with ginger 50g (2oz), finely chopped


  1. Spoon coffee into a cafetière and add 250ml (9fl oz) hot, not boiling, water. Stir and leave to brew for 3 minutes. Plunge, then leave to cool.
  2. Place sponges in the base of six trifle bowls. Spoon over coffee then top with custard.
  3. Whisk cream with gingerbread syrup until softly whipped. Spoon on top of custard then sprinkle with chocolate. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.








Recipe of the Week | Coffee Sponge with Gingerbread Cream

Coffee Sponge with Gingerbread Cream

This beautiful cake is so easy you can make it every weekend – or decorate with edible flowers and bake for a birthday.

Coffee Sponge with Gingerbread Cream

  • Servings: 8-10 slices
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Instant coffee 2 tsp 
  • Unsalted butter 175g (6oz), softened
  • Caster sugar 175g (6oz)
  • Eggs 3 medium, beaten
  • Self-raising flour 175g (6oz), sifted
  • Double cream 600ml tub
  • Gingerbread syrup 1 tbsp
  • Icing sugar 1 tbsp
  • Blueberries, crystallised ginger and/or edible flowers to decorate (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4 and grease and base-line two 18cm (7in) sandwich tins. Mix coffee with 1 tbsp boiling water.
  2. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in coffee and eggs, a little at a time. Fold in flour and then pour into tins.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until sponge springs back when lightly touched. Cool in tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whip cream with syrup and icing sugar and use to sandwich cakes together. Spread remaining cream on top and decorate with blueberries, crystallised ginger and/or edible flowers, if wished. Chill until ready to serve.




Bank holiday bake – the best gingerbread you’ll ever taste

Gingerbread animals recipe


Bank holiday bake – the best gingerbread you’ll ever taste

Wow, I’m glad it’s a bank holiday! It’s been super-busy during the last couple of weeks, kicking off the books that will go on sale next year.

Each book requires meticulous planning to ensure that everyone shares the same vision and plays their part at the right time to fit in with the rest of the team. I need to ensure that recipes are ready for the editor and the testers and then I need to ensure that recipes are tested and edited before photography commences.

Food photography is a very expensive business as there are high studio costs as well as the cost of the photographer, food stylist, props stylist and prop hire, and so you don’t want to be shooting a recipe that doesn’t work properly!

I begin the whole process with a synopsis of the book, and then I create a schedule for the year, which shows everyone’s responsibilities, this is followed by written a brief for each member of the team.

It’s like a huge jigsaw puzzle,
which is why I am relishing
the extra day off this weekend!

I plan to relax and bake some gingerbread with the children.

This is my favourite gingerbread recipe. We like to use quirky cookie cutters, such as pigs and sheep and decorate with icing and other bits and bobs from the baking basket.

They taste really treacly, quite different from a shop-bought gingerbread man, but that’s one of the reasons they’re a family favourite.



Gingerbread Animals recipeGingerbread Animals

Makes 26
Preparation 25 mins
Cooking 15 mins Per portion 268 kcals, 11g fat (6.6g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

110g (4oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
50g (2oz) butter
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp black treacle
Currants to decorate

1 Place flour, sugar and ginger in a bowl and mix together. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients.

2 Put butter, milk and treacle into a small saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted. Remove from heat and cool for 2–3 minutes.

3 Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to a soft ball.

4 Leave mixture to cool until firm to touch.

5 Roll out on a floured work surface until 0.5cm (¼in) thick. Cut out with a gingerbread man cutter. We use any animals cutters that the children choose and then decorate with icing (made with icing sugar and a couple of drops of water) and cake decorations.

6 Transfer to a greased baking sheet using a palette knife or fish slice. Allow room for them to spread.

7 Decorate with currants for eyes, nose and buttons.

8 Bake at 180°C (350°F) Mark 4 for 10–15 minutes.

9 Leave to cool for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave until cold.


Dairy Book of Home CookeryCan you guess where this recipe is from?

Yes, of course, it’s one of those family classics from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery.

Our family could not survive without this book!

Buy Dairy Book of Home Cookery












Gingerbread clowns

Makes 16
Time 55 mins
181 calories per clown
4G fat of which
1.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Mixed spice 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Dark soft brown sugar 50g (2oz)
Black treacle 50g (2oz)
Golden syrup 25g (1oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Ready-made royal icing 225g (8oz)
Smarties 2 tubes

1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 2–3 baking trays with non-stick baking foil. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in centre.

2 Put butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup into a saucepan, stir over a moderate heat until melted, then pour into flour. Add egg and mix to a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface and roll out to 3mm (1⁄8in) thick.

3 Using a gingerbread man cutter, stamp out as many men as you can and place on baking trays. Re-knead trimmings and repeat until you have 16.

4 Re-roll trimmings as necessary, cut out 4 rounds with a plain 9cm (33⁄4in) round cutter. To make clown hats, cut each one into 4 triangles. Brush undersides lightly with water and place across heads.

5 Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm. Cool for 2–3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Decorate the clowns with royal icing and Smarties, as shown in photograph.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

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Regional British Food Part 2 (and quirky customs!)

Regional British Food – Western England

Regional British Food part 2: Western England

Rarely celebrated today, 29 May is also known as Oak Apple Day, the former public holiday held to commemorate the restoration of the monarchy.

In some regions, and in particular the midlands, celebrations of Oak Apple Day continue to this day where it is common for people to decorate their houses with oak branches or wear a sprig of oak as their ancestors once did.

In Northampton, a garland of oak apples is laid at the statue of King Charles II, whilst in Castleton, Derbyshire, the Garland King rides through the streets of the town at the head of a procession. The medieval Great Hall at the Commandery in Worcester, where a portrait of Charles II portrait hangs, is festooned with garlands of oak leaves and its gardens filled with Morris dancing, garden games and living history.

As with every region of Britain, Western England is also famed for its culinary heritage. From the Staffordshire oatcake to Birmingham Bacon Cakes, Malvern Cherry cake and Shrewsbury biscuits, Worcestershire sauce and, of course, Cadbury chocolate.

Our Around Britain cookbook showcases some classic recipes from this region of central England and introduces us to more of its culinary history.

Don’t miss this bargain bundle!

Around Britain cookbook, plus Just for 1 or 2 for just £15.50 (plus p&p).


Around Britain + Just for 1 or 2 Cookbook Deal £15.50

Around Britain Cookbook Western England Guide

The shire counties are sometimes known as the Heart of England and certainly, the rolling Malvern Hills, the honey-stone Cotswold cottages and the orchards seen in these western regions are quintessentially English sights.

The region is a foodie’s delight for every year the Ludlow Food Fair highlights the huge variety of excellent fare on offer. The warm, moist climate and rich, heavy soil create fertile conditions for fruit and vegetables, while the grassy hills have long been populated by sheep, which provide meat and wool for the weaving industries. 

But it is dairy farming in this region that provides ingredients for its well-known chocolate bars and yogurt desserts. Also renowned are its cheeses, such as the golden Double Gloucester, excellent in a variation of Welsh rarebit called Gloucester cheese and ale (page 34), where cheese and mustard are baked in brown ale. Land where cows graze happily will also fatten beef cattle and this region hosts the famous white-faced Hereford breed, which produces meat of great flavour and tenderness.

The sheep that graze the Cotswold Hills have inspired many lamb dishes, including the curiously named Gloucestershire squab pie, which blends the meat with spices and apple, and the equally misleading Oxford John steak (page 124), which is actually leg of lamb with capers. Other popular meat dishes in this region are faggots (originally made from offal with herbs and spices) and the beef-based Warwickshire stew. However, pork is the meat mainstay, perhaps because pigs once did the job of removing the windfalls in the apple, pear and plum orchards of this region. There is even a ‘Midlands cut’ of bacon, and a dish popular on the borders of the Welsh Marches is loin of pork with cabbage cake.

Recipes from Western England
Gloucester cheese and ale (page 34); centre: Painswick bacon chops (page 119) and, above, brandy snaps (page 71).

While we’re on the subject of cake, there are several notable recipes from Western England. Brandy snaps (see page 71) and gingerbread are both local favourites. Staffordshire fruit cake is a well-known recipe made extra rich with the addition of black treacle and brandy; there is also a spiced Oxford cake and, best known of all, the Banbury cakes originating from that north Oxfordshire town. These are made from puff pastry filled with raisins and dried fruits.

Other eponymous recipes include Shrewsbury biscuits (page 77), which are rather like shortbread, Coventry God cakes (a traditional christening gift from godparents) and the great favourite of Staffordshire, oatcakes, which are closer to pancakes than oat biscuits and can be eaten with sweet or savoury accompaniments. 

No review of the food from this area can omit to mention the famous Worcestershire Sauce, a liquid that adds flavour to almost any savoury recipe and which originated when the Governor of Bengal returned to his native Worcester and tried to re-create an Indian recipe. The sauce was a complete disaster until tasted after several months when it had matured into the fine ingredient still used today. Similarly bizarre is the heritage of Cooper’s Oxford marmalade, which is famous for its chunks of bitter peel from a variety of Seville oranges grown in Andalusia. Apparently, hardly anybody else can use the fruit because it’s so bitter! 

Castles, Cotswolds and Crockery

Western England provides a miniature history of Britain. It starts with the infighting between different regions and the quest for the English crown, which led to the building of huge fortresses to protect land and power. The best-preserved example of a medieval castle in Britain is at Warwick, where the immense proportions of this 1000-year-old fortress are still a formidable sight. 

Ludlow Castle

Less intact but full of history is Ludlow Castle, home to Princes Edward and Richard, the sons of Edward IV who were taken to the Tower of London and most probably murdered there. Another fine ruin is Kenilworth, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his nineteenth-century novel of the same name.

In medieval Britain, the unlikely power base of the economy was the Cotswolds because this sheep-rearing region produced the wool vital for clothing and trade. Numerous homes and churches were built in the local honey-coloured limestone and today these form the ‘chocolate box’ landscape of middle England. 

The decline of the wool trade (which, ironically, helped to preserve this landscape) reflected a change to an industrial economy epitomised by the Potteries in Staffordshire. Abundant local supplies of the raw materials clay, salt and lead for glazing and coal for firing kilns, led firms such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Spode to manufacture their earthenware and stoneware here. It wasn’t pretty, but it created the English ceramic industry. 

Emily Davenport

Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Regional British Food Part 1: North West

One of the most enjoyable books I’ve worked on has got to be the beautiful Around Britain Cookbook

We shot the images of the iconic flowers to denote each region on a glorious summer’s day in my garden. And many of the recipe shots were also taken outside in Steve, our photographer’s, stunning garden.

This wonderful book takes you on a tour around the regions of Britain, explaining its culinary heritage and showcasing gorgeous regional recipes.

Here, I’m sharing my region – the North West, which includes the Lake District, Cheshire and Lancashire, taking in the great cities of Liverpool and Manchester. From the tarns of Cumbria to the grassy plains of Cheshire, there is a wealth of fantastic scenery and superb food.

Wet Nellie has to be my favourite recipe from this region – what a wonderful name.

Around Britain + Just for 1 or 2 Cookbook Deal £15.50

Don’t miss this bargain bundle!

Around Britain cookbook, plus Just for 1 or 2 for just £15.50 (plus p&p).

Around Britain Cookbook North West Regional Guide

The North West includes the Lake District, Cheshire and Lancashire, taking in the great cities of Liverpool and Manchester. From the tarns of Cumbria to the grassy plains of Cheshire there is a wealth of fantastic scenery and superb food.

Most of the traditional dishes are clearly developed to be suitable for feeding hard-working people who have to cope with a bracing climate.

Many meat dishes would be made with lamb because so many sheep graze on the hills of this region. A typically robust meal would be Lancashire hot pot, a lamb stew incorporating the potatoes and other root vegetables grown so widely in the area.

Similarly appealing to the thrifty is tripe, which is a cow’s stomach lining, usually served with onions, and black pudding, an earthy dish made from blood and oatmeal with many variations, all claiming to be the best.

The famous long Cumberland sausage is another dish that uses the less appealing parts of an animal so that nothing is wasted.

Around Britain Cookbook North West Regional Recipes
Morecambe Bay potted shrimps (page 40); above right: roast lamb with apricots (page 126) and, right, Simnel cake (page 178).

The sea, lakes and rivers provide more delicate flavours, such as the shrimps of Morecambe Bay (page 40) and stuffed herring and trout, which are caught on the line and increasingly farmed in the region. A real local speciality is the mild-flavoured char (page 105), a relative of the salmon, which got left behind in the Lakes after the Ice Age.

This region also boasts two of the finest British cheeses: Cheshire and Lancashire. White, crumbly Cheshire is mentioned in the eleventh-century Domesday Book and was the only cheese that the British Navy would stock on board in the eighteenth century. Lancashire is creamier and is regarded as one of the best cooking and, especially, toasting cheeses as it melts into a velvety mass when heated.

If you’re fond of a cheese sandwich, large wholemeal flour bread rolls, or baps, are popular in the region, being an ideal way to eat in a hurry. They are also known as ‘barm cakes’ after a Lancashire word for the froth on liquid that contains yeast. Similarly long on history are Eccles cakes, small, flat, raisin-filled pastries, which date from at least the eighteenth century. They are closely related to the larger but equally convenient sweet, hand-held and fruity Chorley cake.

Another great Northern comfort food is gingerbread,
closely identified with the Lake District village of Grasmere.

It is usually a crisp spicy biscuit and therefore offers a contrasting texture to the more moist parkin cake that originates across the Pennines in Yorkshire.

Simnel cake (page 178) is now closely identified with Easter, but one early version of it was known as Bury simnel cake at a time when it was traditionally a gift taken by serving girls returning home on Mothering Sunday. Its link with Easter probably stems from the 11 pieces of marzipan used to decorate its top – one for each true disciple.

Finally, have you ever wondered where the Liverpool term ‘scouser’ comes from? It seems to be from a popular Merseyside dish rather like Irish stew, which was similar to a Scandinavian dish known as lobscaus. The stew became known as ‘scouse’, and use of the name broadened to mean a local person.

The Lakes, Lowry and Liverpool

Around Britain Cookbook North West Regional Guide The Beatles

The North West has inspired some of England’s best-known poetry, painting and music. The postcard-perfect mountains and tarns of the Lake District attract walkers and lovers of beautiful scenery from around the world. The landscape is fundamental to the romantic poetry of William Wordsworth, who lived here for over eight years. It was also later home to Beatrix Potter, author and illustrator of the charming children’s stories that introduced us to Peter Rabbit and his friends.

By way of contrast, the industrial landscape of Manchester with its smoking towers forming the horizon was the setting for many paintings by L. S. Lowry. Lowry lived and worked as a rent collector and cashier in Salford, using his spare time to paint scenes of local life populated by his distinctive ‘matchstick men’ in drab urban colours. Although he painted in other styles, too, it was these pictures that eventually earned him fame towards the end of his life before he died in 1976.

By then The Beatles had also made their contribution to popular culture with a huge catalogue of music that is still much loved. The extraordinarily varied songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, combined with the experimental leanings of guitarist George Harrison and the rock-solid drumming of Ringo Starr, reflected the changing lives of four Merseyside ‘mop tops’ who became the world’s greatest pop stars in the 1960s and led the way in innovating new ways to write and record music.

Emily Davenport

Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

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