Gingerbread to me is one of the ultimate comfort foods. If I can eat it with a hot cup of tea and a good book, I am in heaven. (You see, my needs in this life are very simple).
Anyway, this loaf freezes well and is totally delicious for about 4-5 days if kept airtight.
I love gingerbread to be rich, dark and spicy. If you don't, substitute white sugar instead of raw sugar, golden syrup instead of treacle, and leave out the fresh ginger. The result will be a lighter, sweeter loaf.
Using molasses is ideal but its hard to find sweet molasses here in New Zealand ... the stuff you can buy at the supermarket here will make it taste awful!
¾ cup raw sugar
3 heaped dessertspoons treacle
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 2/3 cup plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (optional - makes it gloriously spicy!)
In a large saucepan boil together the butter, sugar, syrup, baking soda and milk.
Allow to cool (this is really important or it will go lumpy. I just pop the saucepan in a sink of cold water for five minute).
Add sifted dry ingredients and fold together.
Place in a greased and lined loaf tin and bake (not fan forced) at 160°C for 1 hour