For years now, I have been perfecting my Christmas Gingerbread recipe. Starting with a basic recipe from my ancient Betty Crocker cookbook, I have tweaked this and that until finally reaching my "perfect" result. The original recipe called for soft shortening and for that, I have always used butter. This year, I found myself wondering whether I could successfully substitute lard for the butter.
Before starting to bake, I did some online "lard +gingerbread" research and was surprised to find that most of the early Gingerbread recipes were actually made with lard. Even Laura Ingalls Wilder's Gingerbread recipe called for lard.
Reassured by my research, I fully committed to the experiment. The lard Gingerbread rose well, had fabulous texture, was much lighter and more cake like than the butter version, and was definitely delicious! This will be our go to recipe going forward.
Let's Make Gingerbread - With Lard!
Step One: Set Oven to 325 Degrees
Step Two: Gather Your Tools
2 Cup Liquid Measuring Cup
Dry Measuring Cups: 1 Cup, 1/2 Cup, 1/4 Cup, 1/8 Cup
Measuring Spoons: 1 TBSP, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/8 tsp
Rubber or Silicone Spatula
Large Flour Sifter
Large Bundt Pan - I have a beautiful Cathedral Pan that I use during the Christmas season.
Pot or kettle for boiling water
Small sieve or sifter for sugar dusting
Step Three: Put 2 Cups Water on to Boil
Step Four: Grease and Flour Your Pan - I make it easy on myself by using Bakers Secret spray.
Step Five: Gather Your Ingredients
3/4 Cup Lard (room temperature)
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Eggs (room temperature and the fresher the better).
3/4 Cups Dark Molasses
3/4 Cups Pure Maple Syrup
1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water
3 3/8 Cups White Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup Apricot or Peach Jelly for Basting
1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar for Dusting
Step Six: Prepare Your Gingerbread
Mix lard, sugar, and eggs together.
Blend in molasses, maple syrup, and boiling water.
Sift together - flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.
Add the sifted mixture to the liquid mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake @ 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Gingerbread is done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Invert Gingerbread onto cooling rack and, while still warm, brush with apricot or peach jelly.
Allow to cool for another 10 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar.
Step Seven: Serve & Enjoy! Best when served warm, but it is still quite yummy when cool. Whipped cream, applesauce, or ice cream are all wonderful accompaniments.