The last couple of days have been so lovely around here. I came home to my mom’s house and spent most of yesterday with my niece, Jazlynn. She is 7 months old and so adorable and curious. I don’t get to see her nearly enough. She “helped” me do some Christmas baking – AKA she sat on the counter and tried to grab everything in sight while I baked (don’t worry, I stood in front of her the whole time!)
I realize that I have been a little behind on the Christmas baking. It is just so much more enjoyable when I am at my parent’s house. Their kitchens are much bigger and prettier. Plus, my mom has a kitchen aid mixer. I mean, that thing is a dream. A dream that I just can’t justify buying yet. And I have much more important things to put on my Christmas list (new perfume, moccasins, a Tiffany necklace…) But you can bet that I take full advantage of it when I’m here!
My favourite thing that “we” baked yesterday is this gingerbread loaf. It is spicy, incredibly moist, and not too sweet. Topped with the orange glaze, I think it’s pretty close to perfect. The middle of my loaves did sink a little bit, which was my fault because I accidentally took them out of the oven too early at first. I doubled the recipe, like I do for most things around Christmas. One for now, one for Christmas Eve/Day.
Adapted from Chow
Makes two loaves
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tbsp Vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 cup Dark Molasses
4 Large Eggs, room temperature
1. Heat oven to 350. Coat two loaf pans with butter, dust with flour, and tap out excess.
2. In a large bowl, use a whisk to combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir buttermilk and vanilla until well combined.
3. Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, you could use a handheld mixer for the next two steps. Beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Add in molasses, beat until well combined. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.
4. Stop mixer and scrape around edges of bowl. Add one third of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated. Pour in half of buttermilk mixture, beat until mixture is smooth. Add in another third of the flour mixture, then other half of buttermilk mixture, and then the last third of the flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth.
5. Divide mixture into the two loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the cake is pulling away from edges of pan. Be aware that if you open the oven too early, the middle will sink in! Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turnout onto a rack to cool completely before icing. To serve, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch thick slices.
Fresh Orange Glaze:
Makes enough to cover 2 loaves or 1 cake
2 cups Confectioners Sugar
4 tbsp Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
1. Use a whisk or a fork to combine all 3 ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.
2. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Pour directly over loaf or cake. Serve.