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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Muster Day Gingerbread

Muster Day Gingerbread
 (A traditional recipe enjoyed on colonial Muster Day,
as seen in Colonial Courtships by Carla Olson Gade)

The following recipe is taken from The Art of Cookery made plain and easy by A Lady, 1747 (Hannah Glasse was discovered to be the authoress in the 19th century).

To make Ginger-Bread.
TAKE three quarts of fine flour, two ounces of beaten ginger, a quarter of an ounce of nutmeg, cloves, and mace beat fine, but most of the last; mix all together, three quarters of a pound of fine sugar, two pounds of treacle, set it over the fire, but do not let it boil; three quarters of a pound of butter melted in the treacle, and some candied lemon and orange peel cut fine; mix all these together well. An hour will bake it in a quick oven.

Muster Gingerbread
(A modern version for you to try.)
1/3 c  Shortening
1/2 c  Brown sugar
1/2 c  Molasses
1  Egg
2 c  Flour (all-purpose)
1 t  Baking soda
3/4 t  Ground ginger
3/4 t  Ground cinnamon
1/4 t  Ground cloves
1/4 t  Salt
1/2 c  Water; boiling

Cream the shortening and sugar until very light. Add the molasses and egg, beating well. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, soda, spices and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the boiling water, beating after each addition. Bake in a greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan at 350øF for about 50 minutes. Cool a few minutes before removing from the pan, and wrap. This cake mellows and tastes best the next day.

Authors note: The treacle mentioned in the first receipt, as recipes were then called, is Molasses. Muster Day Gingerbread, sometimes called Training Day Gingerbread or simply Muster Gingerbread, was usually prepared as a loaf cake. I discovered a variation of this recipe that was rolled out and baked as a cookie. Muster Gingerbread was traditionally washed down with rum after militia training, though I recommend a nice glass of apple cider or fresh milk.


  1. Yummy! I can't wait to make this recipe!

  2. Sounds yummy!

    When I saw your site it reminded me of a blog post I recently did on Sackets Harbor which is in NY. A friend of mine wrote a book on their part in the war and I know she would love your site. If you want to contact her, she is lovely.

  3. This brings back memories. Mom often made gingerbread and we'd top it with ice cream (no lemon or orange peel). But I can't have eggs so I will be trying a substitute perhaps using banana or milk. It depends how dry the mixture is.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  4. Yummmmmm. Can hardly wait to try it.

  5. We made this, but had to change it to gluten free flour because of allergies. It was still very good!!

    1. I use gluten free flour, too, and am glad to hear this works fine too! I hope Carla sees this so she can make a note on her recipe card! Blessings!

  6. Oh, my goodness, that looks so yummy!!!


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