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On Her Majesty's Secret (Tea) Service

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's no secret that a lot of dishes have been made and named for Britain's queens. And with Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her diamond jubilee just recently, many of these dishes were reintoduced to the public.

Dan Lepard had this recipe for Queen's Gingerbread in The Guardian (his other recipe in the article was for Queen's Cakes). I made it the same day the article appeared because it was so tempting and fortunately, I had most of the ingredients. I would recommend this recipe to anyone who likes gingerbread. It is spicy and chewy, and I feel like I'm having something substantial even if it's just a slice – a thick slice is more than enough for a good snack. It will be, as Dan Lepard told a commenter, "really very little like the fluffy cake-like gingerbread of today".

My gingerbread looks like a brick and I think it has a kind of Sixties vibe to it. It looks just like one of those cakes in my mother's old cookbooks.

It didn't really resemble the picture in The Guardian and I said so in the comments. But Dan Lepard very nicely replied saying that my cake looks traditional, so I'm happy with the result, after all (and the reply!)

Here's what Esther Copley writes about Queen's Gingerbead in The Housekeeper's Guide: Or, A Plain & Practical System of Domestic Cookery (1838), available on Google Books :

In this honey is employed instead of treacle and almonds chopped fine are added in any proportion you please. Spice sugar candied peel at pleasure. Two pounds each of honey and sugar and half a pound each of almonds candied orange and lemon peel to three pounds of flour will make it very rich one ounce of cinnamon and one ounce mixed of nutmeg cloves mace and cardamoms. Melt the honey and sugar in a very little water not more than a wine glass if less all the better with this mix the other ingredients to a stiff paste. Roll out thin. It is generally cut in squares. When baked wash it over with clarified sugar.
Slabs of gingerbread are nice, but then I decided to cut thinner slices from the brick and bake them again.They turned out a like gingernuts, but softer, and I think they can keep at room temperature longer this way.
...or sliced thin and baked again into chewy rusks
I didn't have all the ingredients, but substitutes work well. I used crystallised pineapple for glace ginger, golden syrup for treacle and green and red glace cherries for dried apricot. I think I'll sprinkle more almonds on top next time.


  1. The last photo looks more like biscotti, bet the flavors are good if the queen likes it:)

    1. Oh ya, they are like biscotti, aren't they?

  2. Elizabeth Windsor ;)June 17, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    I'll like a slice with a hot cup of tea please!

    1. Oh my, a request from the Queen herself! I'm your humble servant, ma'am ;-)


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