Wednesday Food: Let The Gingerbread Begin!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Gingerbread, candy canes, chocolates, pumpkin pie and so many other sweet goodies are all over the place in December!  I started reminiscing about the desserts we would come up with while working in restaurants, like Pumpkin Upside Down Cake or Peppermint Swirl Ice Cream.  But, now its time to find some new recipes to ring in the holiday season!

I found a recipe for a Cranberry Gingerbread Buckle that caught my eye.  Buckles are related to different types of desserts such as the Brown Betty or Cobbler.  A buckle is a basic cake dotted with fresh fruit and topped with a buttery crumbly topping.  It can be a great dessert with coffee, whipped cream or ice cream.

When many people think of gingerbread, they go straight to the cookies.  Which are lovely and delicious (stay tuned for some fun with gingerbread men!), but the other type of gingerbread is a dense and spicy cake.  While the cake made with the buckle isn't going to be quite as heavy, it will have a warm spice to it and not to mention the cranberries add a tart bite.

Cranberry Gingerbread Buckle - Use a 8"square pan or 9" round pan *Preheat oven at 350 degrees
 *Don't forget to pull your butter and eggs to get them to room temperature!

Crumb Topping
3/4 stick of unsalted butter, soft
1/2c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/4t. cinnamon
1/4t. ground ginger
1/4t. salt
between 3/4c - 1c. all purpose flour

2c. all purpose flour
1 1/2t. baking powder
3/4t. baking soda
1/4t. salt
1t. ground ginger
1/2t. cinnamon
1/4t. ground cloves
2/3c. milk
3/4 stick of unsalted butter, soft
2/3c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
2T. molasses
1t. vanilla
1 1/2c. cranberries, fresh or frozen

1) Prepare the crumb topping first.  In a small bowl mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  I did this by hand, you can do it with a rubber spatula but I would NOT recommend doing it with a mixer.  It doesn't need to mix that much and it would be unnecessary as well as more dishes to do!  Then add the flour and mix just till it gets crumbly.  If you keep mixing it will just turn into a ball of dough.  Set the crumb topping aside.

2) Start prepping the cake.  Combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices) in a bowl, blend and set aside.

3) In a mixing bowl, beat the butter till smooth and add the sugar.  Cream for a few minutes till smooth and light.  Add the eggs, molasses and vanilla.  The mixture will be very thin and look separated but it's ok.


4) You will add the dry ingredients and milk alternately.  Add half the dry's, then half the milk and then the rest in that order.  You don't need to wait for the mixture to come completely together before adding the next ingredients.  Plus you don't want to over mix the batter, so its a fairly quick process.  You may want to finish it by hand with a rubber spatula.

5) Spread the cake batter evenly in the pan.  Sprinkle the cranberries over the batter.  Then evenly spread out the crumb topping.

6) Bake for about 45 minutes.  The crumb topping will look wet, so definitely use a toothpick to check if the cake is done.  For those who don't know the toothpick trick, you insert it in the center of the cake and check to see if it comes out clean.  If it comes out covered in dough then the cake has some more baking time to go. 

Now this is one cake that will have everyone asking you for the recipe!  Be sure to share this one at parties and family gatherings this year.  Why?  Because baking is only fun when you get to share it with others!

Holiday baking has begun here at StellaBella, so...
Remember, when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and keep cooking!


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