It was only during Elizabethan times that the gingerbread evolved into something more like the sweet cake that we know today.
Here though is a classic modern version of gingerbread:
Ingredients:225g (1/2 lb) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g (2 oz) soft light brown sugar
100g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
175g (6 1/4 oz) black treacle (molasses)
50g (3 tbsp) golden syrup (corn syrup)
150ml (3/5 cup) milk
2 medium eggs, beaten
Method:Sift together the flour, salt, ground ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and set aside.
Combine the treacle, syrup and butter in a pan. Heat gently until the butter has melted and the mixture is liquid. Take off the heat and cool slightly then add to the flour mixture along with the milk and eggs. Beat all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth batter.
Turn the resultant batter into a greased 1kg (2 lb) loaf tin, the base of which has been lined with baking parchment.
Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 150ºC (300ºF, Gas Mark 3) and bake for 50 minutes (if the cake is colouring too quickly near the ned cover with kitchen foil).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.
Once cold, remove from the tin, dust the top with a little icing sugar, if desired, slice and serve.