During our vacation, I learned a lot of things about how people lived in the late 1700s and 1800s in America, and this got me to thinking about how and what they ate. And then I got a craving for gingerbread. So when we got back home, I searched for an old recipe. I was hoping to find a 1800s pioneer recipe, and I did, but the problem with recipes that old is that they give really vague directions, like “bake in a hot oven”.  How many degrees is a hot oven? Or, “add enough flour to make dough stiff”. Well, that’s kinda open to interpretation.  People did a lot more cooking from scratch back then, they cooked in wood stoves (no thermostat to set), and a lot of pioneer women didn’t even write their recipes down, they just cooked meals from memory. So in my search for a newer old gingerbread recipe, I came across this one. It’s from the 1930s, and I had to make a few modifications(it didn’t give a pan size, tell how to make sour milk, and the oven temp and cooking time were slightly off). So I did some research, figured it all out, and tested the recipe. And it made perfect old fashioned gingerbready goodness.

(WARNING: As it bakes, it will fill your house with the most heavenly, warm, gingery smell. It’s a feast for the nose, and you’ll never want to leave your home again.)

This week, I’ll be sharing more old fashioned recipes with you, like corn fritters and johnny cakes. But first up, here’s the gingerbread:

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½ cup butter ( 1 stick)
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
½  cup sour milk (add ½ tbsp lemon juice to milk and let sit for 15 minutes)
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
2 cups all purpose flour
¾  cup raisins*
1/4 cup chopped pecans*

*Note: You can omit the raisins or nuts if you like.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Soften butter in the microwave (not liquid, just really soft). Put butter in medium mixing bowl. Add sugar,

and mix well. Then stir in eggs,


and molasses.

Add baking soda,


and ginger,

and mix well. Stir in flour.

Mix in the raisins

and pecans.

Pour mixture into greased and floured 8 X 8 inch pan.

Smooth into corners and make sure it is level.

Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 50 – 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm or cool. And have a glass of milk with it. Go ahead and dunk it in the milk.

Or add a dollop of whipped cream, or maybe a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!


———>  UP NEXT: A walk through the winter woods.

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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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25 Responses

  1. Cassandra says:

    I love old fashioned recipes. This looks great and can’t wait to see your other recipes!

  2. Oh, lordy, that sounds fabulous!!! I’m gonna make a batch today and I’ll have it all to myself, cause hubby has gone out of town!!!! Thanks, Suzanne!!

    • Suzanne says:

      You guys in Florida have had some really winterlike weather this year, so you definitely deserve to enjoy this winter treat. 🙂

  3. GinMT says:

    Oh my, I was going to make a Red Velvet cake today, but now I cannot resist making this. Gingerbread warm from the oven on a chilly night is simply a little slice of heaven, and you are so right about the aroma!

    Thanks, Suzanne!


    • Suzanne says:

      I made it yesterday Glendus, and it still smelled like gingerbread in the house today. One of the joys of winter baking.

  4. Christina says:

    I’m enjoying your web site – someone linked it and I surfed in about a month ago and have been checking in every day since.

    Here’s a delicious and unlikely addition to perfect gingerbread – don’t remember where I got this recipe, but I do it this way every time – add BLUEBERRIES to the batter at the last minute. Toss them in some flour to make sure they don’t all sink to the bottom, and use fresh ones if at all possible, otherwise frozen. Just incredible.



    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Christina,
      Never thought about blueberries in gingerbread, but the more I consider it the more I like the sound of it. And the hubby loves blueberries. Will give it a try. Thanks!!

  5. Sally Bishop says:

    When my son was in 1st grade we checked out a book about cowboys on the trail. Inside there was a recipe for baking soda biscuits and soda crackers. They weren’t too bad but the directions were iffy, like you found.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Sally,
      I know. And I could probably troubleshoot and figure out how to make those old recipes, if I had the time.

  6. Lisa says:

    My mother-in-law serves gingerbread like this with a warm lemon sauce that is made with lots of fresh squeezed lemon juice and butter and sugar and it is divine!!

  7. Julie says:

    OH yum, that G-cake looks deeeee licious!

  8. I can smell it from here. Thank you Suzanne… I love your blog, your photos and your recipe posts!

  9. This looks delicious. I never thought to make it homemade, but now I think I might need to try!

    • Suzanne says:

      Go for it Marie, it’s one of the easiest, and tastiest desserts to make. And the smell – wish blogs could share odors. Wonderful.

  10. Joani says:

    Oh, please send me a slice. I’m not into baking. Too many ingredients I don’t have or don’t use & would have to go buy. I tried making cowpuncher’s pudding the other day & it did not work. So much for that!

  11. Chester's Mom says:

    Oh thank you Suzanne! Finally a gingerbread recipe that has nuts and raisins – two requirements if my husband is going to eat it. I’m heading for the kitchen right now!

  12. I have never made gingerbread. Of course I have made gingerbread cookies, but not gingerbread. It looks so good. I am sure I would love it! I’m loving the pecans and raisins that go in it…that would taste so delicious!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      The pecans and raisins really capped off the recipe. We ate off that gingerbread for a week, every night for dessert. We at pieces of it with our hands dunking it in milk. Mmmmm.

  13. Ray says:

    Do we use fresh or powdered ginger for this recipe

  14. Timo Wilson says:

    Absolutely wonderful. My whole family really enjoyed this recipe. Look forward to more window on the prarie

  1. December 17, 2014


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