In December, Darlene Delavau asked for a recipe for the gingerbread cake once made at the Tea Cozy in Osborne Village. That request brought back some memories for me. I worked at the Tea Cozy many years ago, washing dishes and doing prep, and I remember the gingerbread well. Dark and spicy, it was served warm in big, generous squares, with whipping cream melting over the top.
Thanks to Mary Janzen, who sent in a recipe taken from the autobiography of former Tea Cozy owner, Roswitha Scharf-Dessureault. Thanks also to Enid Barnes, who got her recipe from a friend who once worked there. Her version is scaled down for a loaf pan. As you can see, both recipes use applesauce, molasses and a good amount of ginger.
This week, Gail Thompson is hoping she can replace a lost recipe for large-batch bran muffins. And she means really large-batch: The batter fills a one-gallon ice cream pail that can be kept in the fridge for weeks to be baked as needed. Failing that, she would love a recipe for bran muffins made with All-Bran, not oat or wheat bran.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 204-697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Tea Cozy gingerbread
375 ml (11/2 cups) granulated sugar
7 ml (11/2 tsp) cinnamon
22 ml (41/2 tsp) ginger
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
850 ml (33/4 cups) all-purpose flour
375 ml (11/2 cups) vegetable oil
1 x 398 ml (14 oz) jar unsweetened applesauce
125 ml (1/2 cup) water
250 ml (1 cup) blackstrap molasses
250 ml (1 cup) honey or corn syrup
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking soda
Grease a 22 x 33 cm (9 x 13 inch) or line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). In large bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and flour. Add vegetable oil, applesauce, water, molasses, honey or corn syrup, and eggs. Mix thoroughly. In small bowl, mix boiling water and baking soda, add to mixture and mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 75 minutes, or until pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan. Serve warm, with whipped cream. Makes 12 large squares.
Tester's notes: This cake is moist, dense and spicy, with a lot of ginger and the strong, resolute flavour of blackstrap molasses. I did find the amount of batter overfilled my baking pan. Next time I would fill it to about the three-quarter level, and maybe make the leftover batter into cupcakes.
Gingerbread loaf, like the Tea Cozy's
175 ml (3/4 cup) unsweetened applesauce
175 ml (3/4 cup) molasses
125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
7 ml (11/2 tsp) baking soda
125 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
425 ml (13/4 cups) all-purpose flour
175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
11 ml (21/4 tsp) ground ginger
3 ml (3/4 tsp) cinnamon
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
Grease a 22 x 12.5 cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). In large bowl, beat together applesauce, molasses, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla. In separate small bowl, combine baking soda and boiling water. Add to wet mixture and stir until blended. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then on rack until completely cool. Freezes well.
Tester's notes: This scaled-down version still has all the flavour. (In fact, you really need to like the dark tang molasses to like this recipe.) It can be served with whipped cream, ice cream or even cream cheese frosting.