Grasmere gingerbread

Grasmere gingerbread
Grasmere gingerbread Photo: Marina Oliphant

A superior gingerbread to impress visitors at afternoon tea.


125g plain flour

60g soft brown sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp baking powder

80g unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool for a minute

1 tbsp soft preserved ginger, chopped


Travelling in the Lake District a couple of years ago, it was mandatory to visit Wordsworth's cottage at Grasmere where he lived with his doting sister Dorothy. I tasted the famous and wonderful Grasmere gingerbread that was quite unlike any other I have had. We bought it at Sarah Nelson's, said to have been producing it since 1852. It was less than a centimetre thick, with a sticky, treacle-like layer on the bottom and the top was biscuit-like, rather like a sweet oatcake. The postcard I bought had a quotation from Dorothy Wordsworth's journal telling us that "William had a fancy for gingerbread''. The recipe that came with the postcard does result in an unusual and, to my mind, highly superior gingerbread.

Preheat oven to 170C. Brush a 22cm x 12cm loaf tin with a little of the melted butter.

Mix all dry ingredients then combine with the melted butter. Press lightly into the prepared tin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool a little, but mark into fingers while still warm.

When completely cold store in an airtight container.

This recipes is featured in the book, Autumn which is available now in all good bookstores RRP $34.95. To order direct call 1300 656 059 or visit