Nigella Lawson's Luscious Vegan Gingerbread

As seen on the Christmas special of her BBC series, Cook, Eat, Repeat, Nigella's rich, spiced vegan gingerbread is a triumph of vegan baking know-how.

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Introduction

I am preposterously proud of this squidgy gingerbread, and I don’t mind who knows it. It’s everything you want out of a gingerbread – sticky, spicy, deeply aromatic – and you would never miss the butter or eggs.

Eat darkly on its own, or with the glow of the Pomegranate-Poached Quinces (p.319 of Cook, Eat, Repeat) and some oat-milk crème fraîche

Warning: ideally you need to make this at least a day before you plan to eat it. Harsh, I know.

Gives 12 slabs but could easily be cut into 18

Ingredients

150ml vegetable oil
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle
75g pitted soft prunes (about 8 in number)
30g fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
⅛ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ready-ground black pepper
¼ tsp fine sea salt
250ml oat milk
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 x 15ml tablespoons warm water
2 tsp regular cider vinegar

Essential kit

You will need: a 23cm square tin.

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan. Line a 23cm square tin with a sheet of baking parchment, so that it covers the bottom and comes up the sides of the tin. Leave something heavy on it to keep it down while you melt everything together.

2. Measure the oil in a jug, and pour it into a fairly wide, heavybased saucepan; I use one of 22cm diameter. Measure the syrup and treacle using the oily jug, as this will stop them sticking and help them pour out easily into the saucepan.

3. Tip the sugar into the pan, and chop the prunes finely before adding them. Peel the ginger with the tip of a teaspoon and grate it finely into the pan. Sprinkle in the spices and salt and warm over gentle heat, whisking to combine. But don’t whisk too much: you do not want to get a lot of air in the mixture.

4. Once everything’s melted and mixed, take the pan off the heat; it should be warm at this stage, rather than boiling hot. Add the oat milk, whisking gently to make sure it’s incorporated.

5. Whisk in the flour in 3 or 4 batches, getting rid of any lumps patiently as you go. This will take a few minutes; the only lumps you should see are the little bits of prune, although they will melt into the gingerbread as it bakes.

6. Dissolve the bicarb in the warm water in a bigger cup than you think it needs, then add the vinegar and quickly whisk the fizzing mixture into the pan.

7. Pour the gingerbread batter into the lined tin carefully and bake for 50–55 minutes, though start checking at 45. It may look cooked at 45 minutes, but as it’s so damp, a cake tester won’t help enormously – you’d expect some crumbs to stick to it – so take it out of the oven and touch the top quickly; if cooked, it should bounce back a bit under your fingers.

8. Leave to cool in its tin on a rack, although I’m afraid I’m going to caution you against eating it the minute it’s cold. To taste this at its best, wrap the tin first in baking parchment and then in foil, and leave for a day or two before cutting into it.

Store – Store, wrapped in baking parchment and foil or in airtight container, in cool place for up to 5 days.

Freeze – Tightly wrap whole cake left on baking parchment or slices in double layer of food wrap, then wrap whole cake in layer of foil or put slices in airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months (cake) or 1 month (slices). Unwrap and defrost on wire rack at room temperature.

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