Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

Happy Holidays!!!
I feel like celebrating with...

Gingerbread Cake!!!

Gingerbread cake? Why yes! That's what I said! Gaahhh! I love the holidays! Just the lights and music and general cheeriness that occurs. Well, OK so that cheeriness kinda depends on the person and what they feel the holidays represent. There are some Grumpy-Guses out there. But I love the holidays. Sure they're a little stressful and spending money I don't have is a bit of a downer, but I love the feeling of giving someone a gift and watching their face light up. I especially love when I can give them something homemade and delicious, like this cake! Best part is, this cake is relatively easy as far as cakes go. It's not layered, there's no icing involved, it's just straight forward CAKE! I suppose you could frost it if you want. Mmmmm that would be delicious.

So for the holidays I always do a TON of baking. Everyone gets their own cookie tin of their favorite cookies, or a combo tin of a few different kinds...OK more like 5 or 6. This year I decided to include this cake in a couple of my combo tins. So I figured I would share the recipe with you as well! I spent a good part of the last 2 or 3 Sundays baking so I could get everything shipped out to people, since my family no longer lives in the same place. Holy hell shipping is expensive. Had to factor that into my Christmas shopping fund. Not the easiest thing to do.

Anywho, here's what you need for this marvelous dessert: either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, a 13 x 9 rectangle baking dish, and of course the ingredients...and an oven, but I'm sure you already got that part figured out. As far as ingredients...here we go!

1 cup of butter (2 sticks) softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup hot water
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus another 1/4 or so)
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped cream and additional nutmeg

Seems simple enough, right? Let's get started!!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, you want to cream the butter and sugar together until it's light and fluffy. More like the bottom part here, not the top where there's still butter clumps. :)

Next up, add in the eggs and beat that on a low speed for about 2 minutes.

Now is when I start to get my water hot. I sometimes just let water boil then let it cool down for about 5 minutes. That works out quite nicely actually.

Gradually add in the molasses. This sticky stuff always gets everywhere with me, stuck to the side of the bowl or on the top part where the attachment of the mixer connects, so try your best to just get it in the path of where the whisk goes.

You're also going to add in the hot water now. Let it mix together for about 30 seconds. It should look like this...

Yes? Excellent! Moving on...

Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Mix it together so the spices and baking soda/salt are evenly dispersed in the flour.

Gradually add the dry mix into the creamed molasses mixture. Once it's all in there beat on a low speed for about a minute...maybe 2. Feel free to add a touch more flour in here if it seem too liquidy.

Here's your batter! Now wasn't that easy? Didn't take too much time at all did it? OK So now grab that 13x9 baking dish and flour and grease it. By that I mean spread either some softened butter or shortening all over the pan in a thin layer, the shake some flour over it to coat it. This will help the cake from sticking to the pan. I even do this on my non-stick baking stuff just to make life a little easier on myself.

This is what your pan should look like once it's greased and floured. Now you're going to pour the batter into the pan and smooth it around so it is evenly spread, not really thick on one side and thin on the other. Also to make sure the edges are even with the middle.

Now I don't know if you can tell from this picture or not. But I have baking strips around the outside of my pan. Why you ask? Well you soak them in water and wrap them around your pan and it helps the cake cook really evenly so that it doesn't dome. Dome? I mean the edges cook too fast and don't rise as much as the center does. So I wrap these around the pan once they've been soaked in water and it cools down the edges so it has more time to cook like the center of the cake. Cool, right?

Pop that into the oven for about 45 minutes. Here's what I do, I put it in for 25 minutes. Then I turn the pan around and pop it in for another 10-15 depending on how the oven is. Sometimes I even go up to another 20 minutes. Basically you want a toothpick or cake tester to come out cleanly when inserted into the center of the cake.

Mmmmm baking cake...while you're waiting time to do those dishes!! Yep, yep, yep! And enjoy the delicious gingerbread smell that's filling the room!!

TADA!!! (You can see my cake strips better in this picture.) Your cake is done! Let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes before you dive in there and start eating it. I love eating it warm with a bit of whipped cream and nutmeg sprinkled on it.

So there you go! Simple, easy, delicious cake that is perfect for the holidays! With Christmas right around the corner this one is a definite hit! This cake keeps for about a week if you cut it up into pieces and wrap them in plastic wrap. Or if you just keep a piece of plastic wrap around the cut edges and cover the rest with foil, mine kept for a little over a week. Just ate the last piece today even and it was still delicious and moist. I hate dried out cake...

Just to leave you with a couple more pictures!

Enjoy this one!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
'Til Next Time!!

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