And caramel, chocolate, and cakes, and eggnog and well … all things Christmas! I’m kind of excited about it, but I’m sure you probably know that. This is the truth, I have Christmas cake thing since the week before Thanksgiving. Actually, it was exactly one week before Thanksgiving I made this cute little cake and cupcakes to go along with it. I remember because it happens to be our first major snow of the season.
Can I just say that baking gingerbread on a snowy day is perhaps the most picture perfect day all I can ask for. I mean, what could be better than the smell of Gingerbread baked in the oven, Christmas music blasting, and the snow that fell? In my little world … not at all. This time now, between now and December 25 is my least favorite of the year! I can’t get enough of it, and I hope it will last two months longer than he does. But because the T minus twenty-three days until Christmas I had a plan to grill up (and through) the snow storms, watch Christmas movies, all shot photos for the cookbook, wrapping all the gifts, watching my brother competed in the Dew Tour (so excited for him!), and spent some time with her mother and sister for a change. How I would solve all of this is beyond me, but I will, I will, and it will be amazing!
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 (16 tablespoons) sticks Land O Lakes® European Style Salted Butter softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar light or dark
- 1 1/3 cups molasses
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- gingerbread men/women gold sprinkles + rosemary, for decoration (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 1/2 (20 tablespoons) sticks Land O Lakes® European Style Salted Butter softened
- gingerbread cookies for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Grease three 8-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, grease with butter or cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl Combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Shake thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine hot water and baking soda.
- Using electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses until completely combined and then add the water/baking soda mixture alternately with flour mixture until everything is combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
- Divide the dough evenly between the three prepared cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each came out with wet crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn out cake onto a wire rack to cool down completely before frosting.
- Alternately You can divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins lined with 36-40 liner paper, fill in their 1/2 way full, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a large saucepan Cook sugar over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden caramel, remove skillet from heat and add 4 tablespoons butter one stirring until combined. The caramel will bubble, this is ok. Now slowly add the cream and then beat until combined. Return the pan with the heat and cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the caramel has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Caramel set aside to cool.
- Using an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and the remaining 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter until the mixture is light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cups of caramel sauce cooled. Beat another 2-3 minutes or until frosting is light and fluffy.
- To assemble, place one layer, flat side, a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with buttercream. Place the second layer of the upper side, round, and spread with buttercream elsewhere. Add third cake layer and cover the top and sides of cake with remaining buttercream. If making cupcakes, evenly spread the buttercream over the cupcakes. Cover cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Decorate as desired with gingerbread men and rosemary. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!