While living in Bequia (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) one summer, I had the pleasure of being a taste tester for a new café opening up, called The Gingerbread House. Who knew there were so many ways to enjoy one of my all-time favourite treats … which by the way is not just for the winter season! Upon my return home to Toronto, I went in search of the perfect gingerbread which lead me to meeting Ann Vanderhoof, Canadian travel writer and foodie. Ann and her husband quit their jobs, rented out their house, moved onto a 42-foot sailboat called Receta (“Recipe” in Spanish), and set sail from their home in Canada for the Caribbean.
Spicy Island Gingerbread
From “An Embarrassment of Mangoes” a Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof
During their two-year mid-life interlude Ann wrote a book about her experiences exploring 47 islands in the Caribbean. When Ann and I participated together in a Toronto event, I tasted the perfect Gingerbread – a recipe Ann discovered while in Grenada. It’s a dark, almost chocolatey-looking cake, very moist, and not too sweet. The four types of ginger give it a really spicy, almost hot, kick.
¾ cup dark molasses
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup ginger beer (open a bottle and drink the rest while baking)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
2 tbsp chopped crystallized (candied) ginger
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp dark rum
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9”x 9” pan and cover bottom with baking parchment.
- Combine first six ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts, then set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and spices.
- Stir eggs and rum into cooled molasses mixture, then stir in flour mixture. Mix well.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 30 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes about 20 squares