I think December is the favorite month of the year for most people here, and I am no exception. The weather is nice and there's so much yummy stuff to eat this month - thanks to Christmas!
Christmas is a such a blessed and wonderful time of year, and this year I've been spending a lot of time explaining to Aimee that Christmas isn't all about Santa and cookies! We've been telling the Christmas story to her and she's starting to understand the significance of Christ's birth. And she's as excited about Christmas as any four year old would be - especially after she found Santa's been leaving her candy in the advent calendar every morning!
And Christmas baking is just amazing, isn't it? This past week, Aimee and I baked some gingerbread together. The aroma of gingerbread is just so Christmassy!
This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart book on cakes and I was pretty pleased with it! The flavors are amazing and the hardest part of making this cake is getting the cake into the oven - the batter is that yummy!
Makes one 9x5 loaf or 8-10 cupcakes or mini-cakes like these trees
150g all purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
180g unsalted butter, soft (slightly more than 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Icing sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350f.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices and set aside.
3. In large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy - about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture before adding the next egg. The mixture may appear curdled at this point but that's perfectly fine.
5. Add the vanilla and beat into the mixture.
6. Add the flour mixture and mix just until completely incorporated. Don't over-mix the batter.
7. Pour into a greased and floured mould and bake for approximately 45 minutes for the loaf or approximately 25 minutes for the cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes and turn out onto a plate. Allow to cool some more and dust generously with icing sugar.
I love my little Christmas tree moulds, and dusted with icing sugar 'snow' and decorated with jimmies, they sure make a a very pretty picture.