Gingerbread Cake Trees!

How do I put a fresh spin on gingerbread? Well turns out one of my favorite recipes from Saveur magazine is french! According to Meryle Evans, in Paris in the mid 19th century there was an annual gingerbread fair and this recipe was one that George Washington’s mother made for General Lafayette. When I saw the Nordic Ware pan below at William Sonoma I couldn’t resist making it in these shapes which are so tree like!

Serves 12 (each tree is large so I would slice them in half and top with a bit of eggnog ice cream)


1/4 lb. butter, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup unsulphered molasses, 3 eggs, 3 cups unbleached flour, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, a tsp. ground cloves, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk, 1/3 cup fresh orange juice, 1 tbsp. grated orange zest, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries, 1/2 cup candied ginger chopped into small piece or 1/2 cup Droste cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar for dusting, eggnog ice cream, candy canes (Hammonds are the best), Hershey’s kisses, and a choclate Santa

1) Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Sir in molasses and then use your electric mixer to beat in 1 egg at a time. Add flour and other dry ingredients together. Combine buttermilk, orange juice, zest, and dried fruit and ginger into another bowl. Add flour mixture into creamed mixture 1/3 at a time alternating with buttermilk mixture.

2) Spray the openings in your pan with non stick spray (Baker’s Joy works so well). Pour batter into openings and bake for 20-30 minutes. Check the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of the cakes. It should come out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Loosen with a knife around the edges and when you invert the pan they should tumble right out onto your wire rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, add candy decorations and serve!

They were a big hit at our holiday party. In fact two guests asked to take some home!

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