Recipe: Gingerbread Cake

Hi! How are you? How was your Thanksgiving? Are you still in a food coma and eating leftover turkey sandwiches? Are you wondering how you went months without really buying anything and then bought everything on Black Friday? Oh, just me? Hmmm...

ANYWAY. Thanksgiving has come and gone and we're gearing up for Christmas and New Years, which honestly feels nice to me. I'm ready for 2016 because 2015 was HARD. So lets talk about something easy today, shall we? Let's talk about cake instead.

As someone who isn't a big cake person, spice cakes have to be my ultimate favorite (evident by nutmeg donuts, chai tea cupcakes, snickerdoodle cupcakes, applesauce cupcakes, and these baked pumpkin donuts). So we are diving into the holiday season head on and making a gingerbread cake. And like every good spice cake, we're topping it with a cream cheese frosting and maybe a little toasted coconut for good measure. Nothing fancy but still pretty dang good.

Gingerbread Cake 

Yields 8 slices

1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature (I used salted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep two 9 inch cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until fluffy and light yellow. Add in each egg and beat until just combined. 

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until everything is mixed together. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then add the buttermilk, then another third of dry ingredients, then the molasses and vanilla, and finally the last bit of dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine each time.

Split the batter evenly between the two 9 inch cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough for entire cake

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted coconut for topping (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until completely combined and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop halfway through and scrape down the bowl. Add powdered sugar slowly and beat until combined. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk and mix. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if the frosting is still too thick. 

To assemble the cake, place one cake on the platter which you plan to serve the cake. Using a rubber or offset spatula, spread about a 1/2 inch thickness of frosting on the top of the cake. Place a pile of frosting in the center of the cake, and spread outward. Place your second cake on top and repeat that process on the top of the cake. To do the sides, use an offset spatula to work your way around the cake, making sure all the cake is covered. Once the entire cake is covered in frosting, use your offset spatula to smooth out the sides and top. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and enjoy!

A tiny tip: If you don't want to get frosting all over your cake stand, take strips of wax paper and slide them underneath the bottom cake so the cake stand is covered. Once you are done frosting, slide the wax paper out and throw it away, leaving a clean base to display the cake.

Happy Valentine's Day

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I just popped in to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day! I know a lot of people out there aren't huge fans of this holiday, especially if you don't have a special someone to share it with. But in my opinion, Valentine's Day is just another day to feel a little bit special and let your family and friends know they are important to you. Oh, and gorge on chocolate and Sweet Tart candy hearts....

This sweet valentine is from PaperSource!

Baked Brie Recipe

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You should be warned that if you are going to make this baked brie appetizer, you better have people over quick. Once you break into that crust, you might eat the entire thing yourself. I had to force myself to stop eating, and it was quite a struggle.

This isn't a recipe as much as it is a how to. Take a few ingredients that are fabulous on their own and wrap them all together and serve it to your friends and family. If they like brie, they'll love it. I promise.

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Baked Brie

Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent seamless dough sheet
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • optional: 1 granny smith apple in slices and crackers for serving; chutney, jam, preserves, etc, for topping

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Start by removing the rind of the brie. You don't have to do this, but I don't care for the rind. It taste very medicinal to me. Just cut it off with a large knife.

Unroll your crescent dough sheet and place the brie in the center, slightly to the left. Using a pairing or steak knife, cut a 3 inch strip off the right side of the dough, leaving enough room to fold the rest completely over the brie.

Fold one side of the dough up over the brie and work your way around, folding the dough onto it's self. You want to entire top to be covered and overlapping, but feel free to remove any extra (especially once you fold the corners up. Once you're sure the entire top is sealed, flip the wrapped brie over and press it down slightly so it sits flat.

If you want to decorate, cut shapes out of that 3 inch strip of dough and arrange on the top. I used a pairing knife to make my leaf shapes.

Place brie on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat baking mat or non-stick aluminum foil. Brush on enough melted butter to coat the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown. If your decorations begin to get too dark too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and check every 2-3 minutes. Don't burn your brie, but if the top is overcooked a bit it will still be delicious.

Serve immediately with apple slices and crackers. If you want to doll your brie up further, top warm brie with one of your favorite preserves, chutney, or jams. I prefer mine just as-is though. 

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Once you crack into that baby it's just so much gooey, buttery goodness. You'll also want to provide a cheese knife or spreader to get that deliciousness from the table, to the apple slice, to your mouth.

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Yum. Happy celebrating! 

Happy Halloween

Just popped in to say Happy Halloween to all my lovely readers!

Halloween holds a special place in my heart. I love the candy, costumes, the idea of trick or treating, carving pumpkins, and watching Halloween movies on the sofa. Last weekend we held a little pumpkin carving party at our house with pumpkin beer, spiked hot apple cider, and pumpkin and chocolate doughnuts. Tonight we'll be watching some Hitchcock movies and eating stew. Friday we will be adorning our costumes for some bar time; I'm dressing as Audrey Hepburn and Tim as Indiana Jones (!!!) 

What are your Halloween plans? Did you already celebrate?

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