Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf - Bake Then Eat

Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf

First off a quick Happy ThanksGiving to my American friends. I hope you have a great day. 😀 Have I told you before that that Michael’s mums side of the family are from the Orkney Islands in Scotland? In recent years we have visited the Islands a few times. On our last visit I went in to a local bookshop in Kirkwall and picked up a reprint of this old fashioned cook book ‘Recipes from the Orkney Islands’. This collection of recipes was originally gathered together in the 1970’s. They have republished this book and I picked up a copy of it. This is where todays Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf recipe comes from.


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Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf | BakeThenEat.com

A Few Alterations.

The original recipe is credited to Ms Groat of Orphir and I knew I had to try it both Michael and I love gingerbread and its been far too long since I made some. Because the recipe is old and the publishers have done their best to modernise the measurements there were a few things I altered. While making it I felt the liquid ingredients were just too much and would make the batter far too wet, so I reduced the amount of milk the recipe called for and swapped it out for almond milk. For no other reason then I just really like it. But the original recipe does call for cows milk.


Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf | BakeThenEat.com


I also used unsalted butter rather then margarine (vegetable fat) and I added a lot more spices then the original recipe called for. On first bake I had already made the above alterations and doubled the spices. And while it was lovely the flavours were very mild, I like my gingerbread to have a little more of a punch. So on second bake through I altered the amount of spices again and while it was still quite mild it really did hit the gingerbread jackpot!


Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf BakeThenEat.com

Easy Peasy!

This Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf is an easy peasy recipe to put together. All you need is one bow, a small saucepan and a wooden spoon and it all comes together. Mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl, gently heat the molasses & butter together till melted. Then allow it to cool a little and add in the eggs. Pour into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients and add in the milk. Pour the batter into your 2 pound loaf tin and bake, eat and repeat. Simple!


Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf BakeThenEat.com

Loaves of Love.

You will be rewarded with a sweet, soft, moist gingerbread loaf that slices like a dream. Actually it tastes better the day after baking as it gives time for all the amazing flavours to mature a little. Slathering butter on individual slices is completely optional but still highly recommended. 😉


Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf BakeThenEat.com


Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Old Fashioned Orcadian Gingerbread Loaf is a sweet, soft, moist gingerbread loaf that slices like a dream and actually tastes better the day after baking as it gives time for all the amazing flavours to mature a little.
Recipe type: Quickbread / Loaves
Cuisine: British
Serves: One 2 pound loaf (12 slices)
  • 280 grams plain / all purpose flour (2 and ¼ cups)
  • 110 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 75 grams unsalted butter (1/3 cup)
  • 110 grams dark molasses / black treacle (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 240 millilitres unsweetened almond milk (1 cup)
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4 and lightly grease a 2 pound loaf tin or use a liner like I did.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl add in the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda and salt and give it a gentle mix so everything is well combined.
  3. In a small saucepan over a low heat add in the butter and molasses / black treacle and very gently heat until the butter is melted into the molasses.
  4. Give it a few minutes to cool down a little bit and whisk in the lightly beaten eggs.
  5. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and add in the milk. Then carefully mix it all together to form a light in colour pourable batter.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared tin and pop it into your hot oven.
  7. I have a notoriously slow oven so it took 50 minutes to bake through but check it at the 35 minute mark to see if its done. Insert a pick and it should come out clean.
  8. Once baked through take it out of the oven but leave it in its tin to cool for 10 minutes then transfer it to a wire rack to fully cool down.
  9. Slice and enjoy.
  10. I have found this loaf freezes well for at least 2 months.


Original recipe by Ms Groat of Orphir is called Grandmas Gingerbread can be found in the ‘Recipes from the Orkney Islands’ page 85.


Author: Emma

Always Vegetarian and sometimes Vegan. I'm a Sugar & Banana addict. I make healthy treats when I have just inhaled my body weight in sugar!

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  1. I can’t get enough of gingerbread this time of year! This looks perfect, Emma! Definitely wish I had a big slice!

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    • There is something lovely about gingerbread at this time of year 🙂

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    • Thanks Anu, there is something special about festive baking 🙂

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  2. I am ALL about gingerbread this time of the year! I would love a loaf of this! The way it makes the house smell … gah I love it!

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  3. First off, I bet that this is going to make my house smell like HEAVEN when I make it. Second, I adore breads or baked goods that get even tastier on day 2 because I’m an evening baker for sure!

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    • I’m the same I almost always bake in the evening so things tasting better on day 2 is always a bonus 😀

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  4. I love my gingerbread to be well spiced, too! Your loaf looks fabulous!!

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  5. Emma, what a gorgeous loaf! So many old recipes call for margarine but, like you, I always use unsalted butter. I love your photos. They really show how perfect the texture of the loaf is.

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    • Thank you Jean, I remember my mum always used margarine in cakes but I have always opted for unsalted butter 🙂

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  6. So very moist and I really love its deep dark colour from the black treacle…simply festive and makes me HAPPY!

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    • Thank you Angie, its definitely time to get out all the festive favourites 😀

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