My youngest daughter has a Christmas birthday, and I have always loved it this way. First, we celebrate Jenny all month long. Plus, I finally get to decorate winter cakes. Then, when her special day is over, Christmas is on its heels, with more festivity and presents and delectability.
This year, she and I planned an angel shaped cake.
A couple of days before her birthday, I remembered that a) she does not like chocolate, and b) an angelish cake should be white inside. But I do not bake white cake except from a mix, because it is only one I make that is inferior when made from scratch. And I was fresh out of cake mix, and did not want to go shopping again. Oh dear.
I went to my recipe box and dug through index cards, trying to find an appropriate substitute that also contained only the ingredients I had on hand. My lightbulb moment came when I found a recipe my mom has used for Gingerbread Cake. I remembered it being a little dry. Hm. But I had everything on hand to make it. And what could be more perfect in a Christmas cake than gingerbread? Which Jenny loves?
And for the frosting… hmm… Previously I have made this cake with cream cheese icing, or whoopie pie filling. This time, I chose ermine icing, my favorite: a rich, boiled, old-fashioned, not-too-sweet frosting.
When I baked the cake, I added sour cream to moisten and enrich. I had tried adding half a cup last time, but it failed to impress. So I went whole hog with a full cup. And I somewhat recklessly tossed in a teaspoon of allspice, in addition to the full three tablespoons of ginger-cinnamon-and-cloves already called for in the recipe.
Guys, I don’t want to brag, but this cake was good.
The spice was intense – a mouthful of flavor – and the texture was decadent, and the frosting had the perfect mild creaminess to offset it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and molasses.
Add flour, salt, soda, and spices, mixing until just combined.
Gently mix in sour cream, then gradually pour in coffee and mix until incorporated.
Bake in a greased 11x15 pan at 350* for 20-25 minutes.
The ermine frosting I love is from New York Times Cooking. Recipe here.
I recommend that you start your bake by cooking the frosting components, so they have time to cool completely while you bake and cool the cake. Finish by completing the frosting. Please wash a sinkful of dishes or play a game with your kiddo while the butter and sugar beat to a fluff – it takes a long time, but goes much faster if you don’t watch. Believe me, that icing is worth the extra steps.
What are you baking this season? I would love to try some new recipes.