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Gingerbread Cake + Winter Adventures

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I‘ve been wanting to publish this post for over a month. In early November, Roy and I took a trip with his family to Yosemite. I lugged along a Gingerbread Cake for 10 hours in the car, hoping it’d make a great Christmas-appropriate post.

A few days later, there I was freezing my fingers off in the middle of a forest trying to get a decent photo of the darn thing. I even attracted a few passerbys (a Chinese tour group began snapping candid photos of me with my cake and one kindly wished me “happy birthday”).

*To the left we’ve spotted a wild food blogger…*

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I don’t see nature or snow much, and visiting the giant sequoia forest was beautiful and awe inspiring and I just wanted to stay forever.

There were the beginnings of snow fall on the ground and gorgeous fall leaves and I was very happy because I also got to wear my winter clothes, which are very rarely ever used because a proper winter does not exist in Los Angeles.

Also, deer. We saw deer. I’m sorry if this sounds boring and all rather trivial, average things that some of you experience on a daily basis! But when you live in a city that is always sunny and warm, these are the things that become the highlights of a trip.

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On the cake making end, things are starting to become a tiny bit repetitive. What I mean by this is that its been taking me at least two tries to get a cake recipe not to wreck havoc in the oven right lately. My first try never turns out as planned, and I end up giving the entire thing to our friends who live upstairs (thank you, David & Elena!!). At the moment, I also have a bag of caramels, peppermint ice cream, and a large chunk of bacon jalapeño cornbread to give away too. Thank goodness for friends or I’d be up to my eyes in uneaten food.

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The first time I made this cake, the individual layers were smaller than I wanted. I ended up doubling the recipe and it worked out great. It’s a dense/solid cake, and supported the weight of the frosting and the two other layers of cake well. It’s one of those cakes you feel as though you could stick it inside a box and drive down a long windy road and the thing would stay safe and intact the whole way, which I did. The cake itself is moist and super super yummy, though by the time I did get to slice into it, somewhere on top of a mountain in Yosemite… the thing was frozen solid from being in the cold for so long.

Below are a few more photos from our trip to Yosemite. November was a great time to see the fall colors and avoid the early autumn heat. I feel like National Parks don’t always seem much fun beyond hiking and camping, but getting to see so much untouched nature is something anyone would love. I mean I was legitimately standing five feet away from a wild baby deer and was trying my hardest not to cry because they were so cute and adorable and I just love nature ok!

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Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from Linda @ Call Me Cupcake
Gingerbread spice mixture:
4 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp ginger
3 tsp freshly ground cardamom
3 tsp freshly ground cloves

For cake:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 tsp of the gingerbread spice mixture (see above)
1 tsp ground bitter orange peel
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cane syrup
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup heavy cream (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup milk (room temperature)

For frosting:
2/3 cup butter
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cream cheese
Note: I also mixed in a few tsp of the gingerbread spice mix into the cream cheese frosting for decoration and an added flavor.

Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 6 in. cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, gingerbread spice, and bitter orange.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the cane syrup and mix till fully combined.
4. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Wait for it to cool to room temperature, then add in the cream and milk.
5. Pour the dry ingredients and butter mixture into the egg mixture, in alternating additions.
6. Split the batter evenly between the three cake pans.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
8. Let the cakes cool for at least 15 minutes before removing them from the pan. Use a serrated knife to remove the domed top of the cake.

Frosting:
1. Beat the butter until pale.
2. Add the powdered sugar in additions. Mix in the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
3. Add in a few teaspoons of the extra gingerbread spice mix.

To decorate a naked cake, spread a heaping amount of frosting between each layer of cake. Make sure to save extra for frosting the top as well. Use a sharp edge (knife or dough scraper) to create a smooth circumference around the entire cake.

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  • This is so gorgeous, Courtney! Perfectly styled and looks so delicious!

    • chun.courtney@gmail.com

      Thank you, Jenna! This was probably the best gingerbread cake recipe I’ve ever tried, so yummy!

  • This is beautiful! I love food photographed in the outdoors.

    • chun.courtney@gmail.com

      Thanks, Melanie! I agree, it’s so much fun to do too!

  • I am so inlove with your pictures! It’s stunning.. Of course also your cake idea is fantastic and beautifully presented. 🙂

    • chun.courtney@gmail.com

      Thank you so much, Claudia! You’re so sweet 🙂

  • What a gorgeous cake. I have never been to Yosemite park, but these photos make me want to go so so badly. 🙂

    • chun.courtney@gmail.com

      Thank you, Aysegul! If you ever make a trip to Northern California, I highly recommend it 🙂

  • This post is just stunning! That cake! That scenery!

    😀

  • Penny Pendlebury

    Hi Courtney! Your cake looks and sounds so gorgeous and delicious that I think I shall make it this Christmas here in Suffolk, UK – I had been thinking of a change from the traditional cake I have made for (gulp!), 40 years, and it is perfect! Happy baking! XX