Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting

I don't normally talk to myself. At least I don't think I do. But today I found myself in the kitchen, alone, taking a bite of gingerbread with cream cheese frosting and saying, "Wow, that's good."

I wanted to make this recipe a few days ago when we had some people over for dinner, but I didn't have enough cream cheese for the frosting so I put it on hold. Well, I still didn't have enough cream cheese last night, but I just had to make the gingerbread. My husband and I ate it as we normally do, with a dollop of whipped cream on top. I added some fresh nectarine slices, since I had them. We also have been known to eat this gingerbread with bananas or peaches. It's a very versatile cake with rich spices and a dense, moist texture.

But let me tell you, nothing could have prepared me for the combination of gingerbread and cream cheese frosting. It was like fireworks went off in my head. The smooth creamy frosting balanced the intense flavors of the gingerbread perfectly, and I found myself wanting more. And so, as soon as I was done taking pictures of this beautiful cake, I dug in to my second piece. And I'm sure I'll have a third before the day is over.

from Lion House Recipes

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cream sugar and butter well. Add eggs and molasses. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Add hot water and beat until smooth (batter will be very thin). Pour into a well-greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tests done.

*As stated above, you can serve this with whipped cream. Peaches, nectarines, and bananas make nice toppings.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extracts together until smooth. Add powdered sugar slowly until well combined and a smooth, spreadable consistency.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall : Pumpkin

Every fall, right around September, my pumpkin craze hits. My husband knows it's coming (and he's usually not too excited about it). It always has. I want everything pumpkin - pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies.

I've mentioned this before, but I haven't always had the best of luck baking with pumpkin. I don't know what it is. More often than not, my results are a gooey mess. And it makes me want to use the ingredient even more. It's my curse.

My daughter and I went on a walk the other day, and walked right by the local bakery. Naturally I had to stop in. They had a big sign advertising that they were now serving pumpkin muffins, so that's what I ordered. The muffin was full of pumpkin flavor, dense, moist, with the unique addition of walnuts. I was a fan.

Friday morning rolled around and I said to my husband, "I want to bake today." And I did. I turned to smitten kitchen for a pumpkin muffin recipe, hoping they would resemble that muffin from the bakery.

First, I need to mention that my pumpkin muffins turned out! I was extremely pleased with that fact. I made half of the muffins plain, and added walnuts to the other half. I'm really kind of digging the walnuts in the muffin. It's a pleasant combo.

Second, I need to mention that my husband actually liked these muffins. And he admitted it to me. He's not really a pumpkin fan, you see, so this was big.

If you're looking for an easy fall recipe, try this one. It was delicious and moist. And they freeze well.

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Add walnuts in using.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Yes, I've been gone a long time. For some reason, I didn't have much motivation for blogging this summer. I did bake, but I didn't take many pictures. Here are just a few highlights I enjoyed:

Open-Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie

Photo courtesy of
The Kitchen Sink Recipes

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie

Fresh Peaches 'n Cream Pie

Photo courtesy of
The Crafting Chicks

Now that it's fall, I'm feeling the motivation to get back on schedule and blog again. I've got a couple of muffin recipes coming up that I have enjoyed, so stay tuned!