Gingerbread Cake with Lemon-Ginger Cloud Frosting

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What can I say about this cake?

It’s a pretty, delicious, mess.

See, the heady spices of the ginger go so amazingly well with the super-light lemon-ginger frosting. But, slicing it is a test of patience for sure. This cake don’t slice pretty, it just is what it is. It’s one of those cakes that leans toward the rustic with it’s appearance and slice-ablility. The flavors are magic–I mean, citrus and spice is so magical! The cake is full of warm and fragrant spice–it’s sturdy and totally holiday appropriate. The frosting is like eating a lemony, gingered, tangy cloud. It just melts on the tongue and the tarteness of the curd cuts through the rich spice of the cake. The flavors are all the best parts of the season and I could totally see this cake as part of a holiday spread, in all its messy glory.

Gingerbread Cake

Makes 1, 8inch round cake. 

Adapted from this recipe. 

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp.

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground, dried ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350*F, grease an 8inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. Set aside.

Melt butter–in a saucepan or microwave. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk  eggs, molasses, sugar, vanilla, and ginger. Whisk in the cooled butter, mix well to combine.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt ginger, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool one a rack for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely. Can be stored wrapped well in plastic for 3 days.

Lemon-Ginger Curd

adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cups sugar

6 egg yolks

1 egg

pinch of salt

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine everything in a saucepan and whisk to break up eggs. Whisk over medium-low heat, until butter is melted and everything is well combined. Continue to whisk over med-low heat until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Curd will thicken a bit as it cools. Scrape the curd into a mesh sieve over a bowl, press the curd through the sieve. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd. Cool to room temperature and then cool in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be stored, covered well in the refrigerator, for about 1 week.

Seven Minute Frosting

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This frosting is best the day it is made. 

2 large egg whites

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a heatproof mixing or mixer bowl, set over a pan of simmering water and whisk quickly and continuously until the mixture begins to get light in color, foamy, no longer has any sugar granules when rubbed between two fingers, and is just hot to the touch. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment for about 6-7 minutes or until the frosting is bright white, light, and holds a stiff peak.

To Assemble:

For the Lemon-Ginger Cloud Frosting, take about 1/3 of the Seven Minute Frosting and whisk it with 4 Tablespoons of lemon curd. Fold the frosting/curd mixture into the remaining Seven Minute Frosting.

When I next make this cake, I will definitely not cut it into layers. Cut your cake into layers, if desired, and create a dam using the Lemon Cloud Frosting about 1/4 inch from the edge of the cake using a piping bag. Fill the center with lemon curd. Top with second layer, chill to set up. Since, I am not going to do this layer thing again, I would do the same thing with the frosting dam and curd, but on top of the cake. Then, cover the top with the remaining Lemon-Ginger Cloud Frosting. It’s pretty messy, but this cake is best at room temperature. It would be nice to frost it just before serving.

 

 

 

Citrus Gingerbread Trees

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I am so not a “Black Friday” shopper. I don’t fare well in crowds of bargain insanity. Gifts at majorly discounted prices, while enticing, simply aren’t worth my mental well being and I’m not sure that I could recover from that sort of retail hell. I commend those of you that can handle all that spirited heat, but I’ll stick to weekday and internet shopping.

I’ll just be one less person in the holiday horde.

Truth is, I’ve been in the mood for Christmas since the beginning of November, but I held back my holiday-spirit-crazy and waited for the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of shopping it up on “Black Friday”, I like to bust out all of my Christmas decor, our well loved fake tree (don’t hate, it’s pre-lit and not a fire hazard), light some pine-y candles, drink some coffee with Bailey’s, and deck those halls. I love trimming the tree and I have quite the ornament collection. Most are from a childhood tradition of picking an ornament out every year–one each for my mom, brother, and myself. I carry on this tradition with Sean. It’s pretty much my favorite and makes for an eclectic tree covered in Barbies and robots, sweet treats and dinosaurs, dragons and glittered baubles. This year I discovered that I have nearly 20 heart ornaments as well…apparently I love heart shaped things.

Another thing I love about the holidays are the cookies. If there were a season for cookie-baking and eating, this would be it. To commemorate this season of sugar and spice, I baked up a batch of citrus-y gingerbread tree cut-outs. When I worked in a bakery before we moved, I cut-out, literally, thousands of sugar, chocolate, and gingerbread cookies, then decorated them and it really wore me out on cut-out cookies for a while. I enjoy decorating cookies for fun these days but, nothing too fancy. They are spicy from ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little black pepper, and zesty from lemon and mandarin. They aren’t too sweet, but a little vanilla scented royal icing makes them just sweet enough and pretty too.

Citrus Gingerbread Trees

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies Magazine 2010

Makes about 24 trees

2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed, dark brown sugar

zest of 3 mandarins and 1 meyer lemon, about 2 tablespoons of zest, loosely packed (can use any citrus zest you like)

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the rolling surface

royal icing , sanding sugar, disco dust, and sugar pearls for decorating

Beat the butter, brown sugar, zests, and fresh ginger together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and mix well. Beat in the molasses. In a separate bowl whisk together cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, baking soda, salt and flour. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Divide dough into quarters, shape into disks and wrap well with plastic. Chill for 3-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using desired cookie cutters and place on parchment or silicone lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling scraps as needed. Chill cut-outs on baking sheets for 20 minutes, until firm.

Bake 2 sheets at a time, rotating pans halfway through, for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.

Royal Icing

adapted from Joy of Baking

4 cups sifted confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons meringue powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons warm water (more or less for desired consistency)

Using an electric mixer, combine sugar and meringue powder, add vanilla and water and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Dilute with water as needed for desired consistency. Spoon icing into bowls and stir in food coloring to combine. Either use immediately or store in an airtight container. Fit icing bags with tips and fill with desired colors. Ice cookies as desired, sprinkle with sanding sugar while icing is wet, and allow to dry uncovered, at room temperature overnight to harden.

 

 

 

ginger!

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i know it’s only the beginning of november, but i have the fever.

holiday fever, that is…

i can’t lie…i’ve had it for some time now. i can hear the chorus of grumbles already, but i love seeing holiday displays. even when it’s still warm enough for me to forgo a cardigan or jacket. i’ll walk into a store and slowly drift away from sean, eyes like saucers, one hand stretched out longingly…towards the holiday displays.

i can’t help it, i’m a sucker for candy cane stripes and gift wrap, twinkly things and sparkly do-dads.


the other day i walked into such a store and came home with a mean hankering for some gingerbread. back in the day, long, long ago when i worked for the coffee giant we all know (green aprons and venti cups), i loved to set up the pastry case. especially during holiday season. though, at that time, all of their goods were laden with hydrogenated oil (you could tell because we used to squish up an expired pastry from time to time…which would result in a puddle of clear oil…nice). i’ve been told they have changed their ways. anyways…the gingerbread came in a nice little loaf with a heavy slick of cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of candied ginger.


though i don’t remember exactly how it tasted, as i was cracked-out on eggnog lattes for the duration of the season, this gingerbread is better. i just know it.


ginger-spice bread

this is adapted from a martha stewart recipe. i swapped some of the spices and also changed some of the measurements as well. i also used fresh grated ginger since i always keep a good chunk in the freezer.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten

preheat oven to 325 F. grease an 8-inch sqaure pan (i used two small loaf pans). in a bowl rub brown sugar with the ginger to combine. add flour, salt, baking powder, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

place butter and water in a small saucepan to melt. stir into dry ingredients until smooth. stir in molasses and egg to combine. pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (the mini loaves tooak about 25 minutes). cool on a rack before removing from pan.

cream cheese frosting
i just added powdered sugar until i got both a consistency and flavor i liked.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon grand marnier
2 cups powdered sugar

in the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese and liquer on medium-high until creamy and fluffly. add powdered sugar in increments to combine. frost cake and garnish with chopped candied ginger.