A couple of years back I posted on ‘how to bake in tin cans‘ as a means to put to use the many tin cans we seemed to be sending to the recycling depot. The focus was on the tin can, and the recipe an afterthought. The gingerbread – a soft, rich and very dark cake studded with candied ginger, waiting to be toasted and smeared with lemon glaze – was outstanding however, and deserved to be made again and the recipe shared (I have since updated that post to include the recipe).
This year, we’re doing terracotta pots.
Terracotta pots are cheap, and easy to pick up at craft stores. I found a pack of three for two dollars at Dollarama – in a smaller city you might have better luck at a gardening store.
Before the pots can be used for baking, they will need to be seasoned – the repetitive process of oiling and baking the pots.
Wash pots in soapy water. Dry well (ideally let dry overnight). Pour a good tablespoon of oil into each pot and rub into the terracotta until well coated. Leave to allow oil to be absorbed. Once the oil has dried up, repeat until no more oil will be absorbed by the terracotta, then place pots in a cold oven. Heat to 400˚F then turn off oven, leaving pots inside to cool down. Once cool, rub liberally with oil and return to cold oven. Heat once again then let cool fully.
Pots are now seasoned and ready to be baked in.
Gingerbread Loaf in Pots
Recipe from Your Home & Garden magazine
This makes a very rich, dark gingerbread. Using golden (or maple) syrup instead of molasses will lighten it up. The batter is light and fizzy, from the baking soda activation, and is quite a treat on the tongue. This is one of those recipes where the batter is almost better than the cake…
220g dark cane sugar
½ cup each: golden syrup and treacle (molasses works too)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk (or scant 1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar, stand until kinda thickens)
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp water
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice
100g candied ginger coarsely chopped (optional)
First, prepare the terracotta pots as above. Line with large squares of baking paper that rise above the edges of the pot.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Melt butter, sugar and syrups in saucepan. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs and buttermilk. To this add baking soda dissolved in water. Mix into the melted butter and sugar mix. Sift in flour and spices. Fold in the chopped ginger, reserving some for the top. Carefully pour into terracotta pots, filling to two-thirds only. Don’t be tempted to overfill as they WILL rise a lot in the oven! Arrange a couple slices of ginger on top of each pot.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. It really will depend on how much you fill the pots and the size of pots being used. Test with a cake tester. If still gooey, return to oven for 4 minute stints. Leave in pots to cool. Wrap and decorate as appropriate.
Optional: Make a lemon glaze of icing sugar and fresh lemon juice and smear on each cake just before serving. (If gifting the cakes, attach a little note with recommendation for the glaze.)