Hi friends! How are you? How is your Christmas season fairing??? I am back home in Hawaii and have been for a few days already. My schedule consists of silently cursing the long lines at the mall and rewatching all the old Star Wars movies and procrastinating on gift wrapping and hanging out with Steph and my Mom and my Dad. A lot. I’m sleeping alone for the first time in months and months and it’s kind of scary when it’s dark and the wind howls at night but a little bit nice because there is no snoring bear asleep while I try to read my book.
Roy is in the bay area visiting his family for a few more days. He’ll be flying in to Ho-no-ru-ru on the Eve and I am so very glad we get to spend Christmas together! I’m thinking of surprising him with cinnamon rolls in the car when I pick him up because he’s been craving them and I don’t think our favorite poke shop will be open on the Eve. My family always hosts a dinner party on Christmas Eve, complete with a big roast and a round of grab bag which to be honest gets a little intense. There was one year someone gave a hot/cold thermos and everyone fought over it.
Yesterday my very wonderful friends came over for our 2nd annual Gingerbread cookie decorating fiesta! I made way too much royal icing and we tapped out on originality before all the cookies were finished but they were hilarious and adorable and even Mom joined in on the fun. My favorites were the cookies we did of each other. I gave Steph a satchel with her puppy peeking out. Her and Sophia gave me a mohawk and jean jacket because if you know me in person you’ll see me wear that a lot (the jean jacket–not the mohawk that is).
Cakemas this year is a revamp of one of my absolute favorite cake recipes. Linda’s Gingerbread cake is über spicey and moist yet sturdy enough to keep its shape–which is always a huge plus for me when traveling with a cake. The recipe has been doubled to create three tall cake layers, baked in three 6 inch pans. I lathered on heaps of rich and decadent cream cheese frosting and lightly topped the cake and decorations with flaked coconut. You’ll definitely have extra batter and a bunch of cake scraps to nom through, which is kind of unnecessary but totally worth dipping pieces into the extra frosting. *wink wink*
I love Christmas for catching up with family but it’s even better to be able to spend much needed QT with friends I don’t get to see too often. The holidays have kept me quite happy and content, and I hope you’re all feeling the same. Wishing you the merriest of Christmases and a very Happy New Year! To more cake and happiness in 2016!
Adapted from Call Me Cupcake. Recipe makes three 6-in. cakes. There will be a little extra batter for a few cupcakes or one 4-in. cake 🙂 Merry Christmas!
for the cake:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
tsp ground bitter orange peel
4 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp ginger
3 tsp freshly ground cardamom
3 tsp freshly ground cloves
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup light brown or muscovado sugar
1 cup cane syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6-in. cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over the stove on medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and milk. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and bitter orange peel. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, ground cardamom, and ground cloves. Add 8 tbsp of the spice mixture to the dry ingredients and set the extra 2 tsp aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together again.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and light brown sugar together until fluffy and lighter in color (about 3-4 minutes). Pour in the cane syrup and mix until fully combined.
5. Pour the dry ingredients and butter mixture into the egg mixture in alternating additions. Beat until smooth and combined.
6. Split the batter evenly between the three cake pans. You will most likely have a little extra batter, which you can use for a few cupcakes or a smaller layer of cake! Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
for the cream cheese frosting:
100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
160g cream cheese
560g powdered sugar, sifted
7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy and smooth.
8. Pour in half of the sifted powdered sugar and beat for a few minutes. Add in the remaining half and beat for another couple of minutes. Transfer 1/3 of the icing to a piping bag. Set aside.
brush bottle trees (1” & 1.5”)
HO scale deer set
9. After the cake layers have cooled completely, set the first one down on your chosen serving platter. Ice the top of the first layer, then use the frosting set aside in a piping bag to create dollops of frosting around the top edge. Add the second layer of cake, pressing down lightly to adhere it, then repeat with the frosting and the third cake layer.
10. I sprinkled flaked coconut on top for a snowy effect but the real winners were the miniature Christmas trees and deer figurines!