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Sinking Gingerbread

Asked by Pinkfairydesigns. Answered on 7th May 2014

Full question

I have baked the Gingerbread recipe successfully a few times but last night my cake sank completely in the middle, right down to the base of the tin. What did I do wrong? I measured the syrup using the conversion of 25g=1 tablespoon, did I use too much syrup and make my cake too moist?

Our answer

Nigella's Gingerbread recipe (from Domestic Goddess) usually rises fairly well and it is unusual for it to sink quite so much. Converting the weight of syrup and/or treacle (molasses) into tablespoons can cause a bit of error, but we doubt that this is the main reason for the cake sinking. Most likely too much bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) was added. Bicarbonate of soda is an extremely active raising agent and if you add too much then the gingerbread will rise up a lot during baking, then sink back fairly dramatically. If the surface of the gingerbread is wrinkled then this is also a sign that there was too much bicarbonate of soda. Make sure you measure the bicarbonate of soda with a proper (5ml) measuring spoon. Also make sure that the oven is fully preheated before you make the gingerbread as it needs to go into the oven as quickly as possible after the batter has been mixed.

If possible weigh the syrup/treacle ingredients. This can be done directly into the saucepan if you have an adjustable scale. Set the saucepan on the scale, adjust the weight to zero and then spoon in the syrup until you have the desired weight.

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