Friday, November 18, 2011

From My Collection: Haddon Hall Gingerbread

I'm amassing quite the collection of vintage magazines and cookbooks! The November 1933 issue of Better Homes and Gardens has an ad on the back page for Gold Medal Flour that features Haddon Hall Gingerbread (see illustration below). Unfortunately, there was no recipe provided because housewives were supposed to send off for the recipe booklet! Too bad I'm only seventy-eight years too late...

So, I cobbled together my own version from recipes in All About Home Baking and the Joy of Cooking. If I say so myself, it was very tasty (I think the lemon sauce was my favorite part.) If you double the gingerbread and the frosting recipes, you can have a filled and iced cake like in the original illustration.

Haddon Hall Gingerbread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cup cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8" square cake tin and line the bottom with parchment. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the egg.

Alternate between mixing in the flour (about 1/2 cup at a time) and milk (about 1/4 cup at a time). Beat well to combine, but don't over mix. Add the baking powder, salt, ginger and mixed spice with the last addition of flour.

Pour batter into the prepared tin, smooth out and bake in the middle of the oven about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool cake in the tin 10 minutes, then leave on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

6 ounces cream cheese, very soft
1 1/2 tablespoon milk
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon brandy

Stir together the cream cheese and milk, then sift in the powdered sugar, a bit at a time. Stirring after each addition. Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest and brandy and stir to combine. Spread over the top of the cooled cake. Refrigerate to set the icing.

Lemon Sauce:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (strained first)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens. It should be slightly thicker than you want your finished sauce to be. This will take 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in butter, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Leave sauce to cool to just above room temperature or cooler, so it won't melt your cream cheese frosting. Serve sauce alongside slices of cake.

Serves 12

Adapted from All About Home Baking (1933), p. 36 and The New Joy of Cooking (1953), p. 704 and p. 757.

Print recipe at Food52
Print recipe at

Haddon Hall is in the Peak District and has been used in several films including three versions of Jane Eyre (however, not the one with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine). These photographs are from Cornell University's A.D. White Architectural Photographs collection, available on flickr. These photos were taken in 1865:
Haddon Hall

P.S. Don't forget Stir-up Sunday is this weekend!


  1. Oh this look delicious definitely want to try it I love ginger!

  2. That lemon sauce looks fantastic.What a great pairing with gingerbread. I collect vintage German cookbooks and I love discovering new/old recipes in them.

  3. Karen/Small Earth VintageNovember 19, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Oooh, I love those Haddon Hall photos! I could sure use a slice of that cake right now. Yum.

  4. Karen @ Lavender and LovageNovember 20, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    GREAT looking cake and a good recipe representation too!

  5. That cake looks and sounds luscious . . .

  6. What a lovely gingerbread you created! The frosting looks luscious and the addition of lemon sauce sounds intriguing. Love the photos of Haddon Hall!

  7. Hi Lauren! Your recipe really looks great! I wish I could cook, but I never get anything right in my kitchen!

  8. This is the perfect time of year for ginger in any form. Cake is always welcome. Lemon Sauce is never out of fashion. Cream cheese frosting is classic. Love it all. :)

    Loved looking at the castle, too.

  9. That looks delicious! And I love those hadden hall photos too!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

  10. Your gingerbread looks devine - I desperately want to lick off the glorious icing on top.

  11. oooh how yummy does this look! We've been looking for something a bit different for xmas morning, so bookmarking this for the shortlist! xxxx


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