How many of you have ridiculous family traditions that you simply can’t bear to live without? One of ours is cutting down our Christmas tree. It starts on an early November weekend…up at 4 a.m. to stand in a dark, freezing line with 1,500 other crazy people to buy a permit so we can chop a tree in the forest. Then, sometime during Thanksgiving weekend, we don our snow boots and hats, drive into the hills and traipse through the forest for hours, searching for that perfect tree. This one is too fat, that one too sparse, this one is actually three trees, that one’s the wrong species….FINALLY we find the perfect one. It takes a measuring tape, an ax, a tarp and multiple photos from every angle of the whole family next to our beloved tree…then out of the forest, onto the car, down the mountain and into the house…and then we begin the decorating. It’s exhausting. But, we would have it no other way. It’s just what we do. Every year.
A much kinder, gentler tradition is the consumption of this gingerbread cake.
Just say the words “Christmas” or “December” and my mind goes straight to this tried-and-true family recipe. Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce is basically the big sister to gingerbread cutout cookies! Start with the snappy taste of dark molasses, add a little spice and some creamy caramel and tadaaaa…..you’ve got an impressively delicious, deceptively simple holiday classic. Just a hint….this isn’t the time to be stingy with the sauce! Grab your BIG ladle and go wild. In fact, when no one’s looking, spoon even MORE onto your gingerbread. Lap it up and lick your plate clean. No one will judge because they’ll all want to do the same thing. Love me some caramel. And some more. And more.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cube unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter and sugar in mixer.
- Add egg and molasses and blend well.
- Add dry ingredients and hot water and beat until just combined and smooth.
- Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.
- Add cream and brown sugar and stir until well combined.
- Bring mixture to a boil, and cook for five minutes, until mixture begins to thicken.
- Whip cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
- Slice bananas.
- Serve cake with caramel, whipped cream and bananas.
*Don't overcook the gingerbread. Watch it carefully, and remove form oven before edges begin to brown too much. It's better to undercook than overcook!
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