Henry & Gramma Coe’s Heartwarming Gingerbread

2019 Baking Court of Honor Recipe.

Henry Coe

Henry W. Coe, Jr. and his family have always been very involved in the Durham Fair. This year, as we celebrate the 100th Durham Fair, the Baking Department decided to honor a Coe family’s favorite recipe by featuring Henry’s grandmother’s Heartwarming Gingerbread.

Five generations ago, in the 1890s, Lula Daniels Coe created her gingerbread recipe. Her creative skill at measuring and blending the ingredients is what made it so good. Lula passed her recipe on to her daughter-in-law, Nellie Strachiel Coe, Henry’s mother. She then passed it on to her daughter-in-law, Loraine Arrigoni Coe, who has passed it on to her daughter, Krista Coe Corazzo. Krista will soon be passing it on to her daughter, Taylor Aneilia Corazzo.

Krista recalls the gingerbread making its famous Christmas Eve appearance. As soon as you entered through Gramma’s front door, you were greeted by the smells of cinnamon, ginger and molasses. Instantly, you knew you were in for a treat. To the Coe family, the gingerbread bakes with a magic that will touch your heart, warm your soul and make you smile. No hero is known without a good sidekick. In this case the gingerbread’s sidekick is a dollop of Gramma’s freshly homemade whipped cream on top. The two together will make your taste buds jump, mouth salivate and create wonderful memories.

The Coe family extends to you the opportunity to experience the wonderful aromas that will fill your kitchen as you make this simple recipe. Made with love your gingerbread could be a blue ribbon winner in the 100th Durham Fair baking competition!

Heartwarming Gingerbread


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter and lard mixture
2   eggs
2 cups molasses
5 cups sifted flour
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
2 cups hot water (scant)
    confectioners’ sugar (to dust finished gingerbread)


  1. Cream shortening and sugar together.
  2. Add beaten eggs and molasses.
  3. Then add dry ingredients which have been sifted together.
  4. Add hot water last and beat until smooth. The batter will be soft.
  5. Bake in greased 9 × 13" pan in a moderate 350°F oven for 50 minutes. Test for doneness with cake tester.
  6. Set on cake rack to cool.
  7. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

For competition: Cut finished, cooled gingerbread in four equal quarters. Place one quarter on a 10" paper plate for entry. DO NOT TRIM ANY OF THE SIDES!

Note: Gramma Coe always served gingerbread with a dollop of fresh whipped cream (added just prior to serving). Because we lack refrigeration for the entries, we will have to forgo the whipped cream.