: Nova Scotian gingerbread cake


By mid-morning I was surprised to look out my patio doors and see it snowing. We were expecting slight flurries, but not actual accumulating snow.


I knew my warmth-loving- shovel-hating husband would be at work when one of his co-workers broke the news to him. I can’t help but chuckle a little. How fortunate he fell in love with this Canadian gal before he spent a full winter here.

But all joking aside, virgin snow is wonderfully beautiful. It’s romantic. It’s magical. And all this is more true when you are inside, looking at it from a comfortably warm vantage point.

I recently bought this recipe book, “Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”. I had been meaning to try the gingerbread recipe. Not the German gingerbread cookies, but the cake. Today seemed like a good day.

recipe book

Shakespeare once said, “ had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread”

If Shakespeare swooned over it, it should suffice in lifting my guy’s spirits.

I remember the first time we ate gingerbread together. It was at the Sou’Wester restaurant at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.  If you are ever there, try a piece. It’s excellent! Especially if it’s a blustery day at the old lighthouse.

Interestingly, gingerbread is a very old recipe. It is thought to have been brought back to Europe in the 11th century, by the Crusaders, after they obtained it in the Mediterranean. Before that, it is not certain where it originated from. This particular one was perfected by our Nova Scotian Grandmothers.

start by creaming together sugar, butter & shortening

start by creaming together sugar, butter & shortening



pan lined with greased parchment paper

If there was any fault I found with this recipe, it is that I had to bake it 10 minutes longer than suggested. And because I took it out prematurely, the center fell. I got over that when I tasted it.

It is a balanced, moist, and dense cake. Though laden with molasses and white sugar, it does not taste terribly sweet as one might expect. As far as a sweetener goes, molasses is a good choice that you can feel less guilty about. It’s got vitamin B6, potassium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals.

This cake is best served warm with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


¼ cup butter

¼ cup vegetable shortening

½ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 cup molasses

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

1 cup hot water


Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy.

Add the egg and molasses, mix well.

Sift together flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and add to creamed mixture. Lastly, add the hot water and beat until smooth.

Bake in a greased, 9×9 inch pan in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until done.


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