I am so excited for Christmas to come! I know, that Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, but I mean, it’ll be here next week, and this cake would make a great dessert next to that pie.
When I was younger, I actually used to feel guilty about Christmas and getting gifts. I would always worry about other kids who weren’t able to get all the fun toys that everyone else was getting and it made it hard for me to not feel like I was taking Christmas from them. My mother would tell me that I shouldn’t think about things like that and I should focus on having fun and just enjoy myself. “You need to learn how to be a kid and have fun” she would say.
Since having my daughter, my views on Christmas have totally changed. I still believe in getting toys that I know she will really benefit from educationally and not just every shiny toy she sets her eye on at the Disney store. I also try to not focus on the time we spend together. We also donate her old toys to charity. But a big part of me just loves seeing her eyes light up and the screams of joy followed by “Oh, thank yyyyyyyyyyyyyooouuuu, mommy!!!” when she gets something that she really wants. I love how she says “thank you” when she is really excited. She really stretches out and emphasizes the words to stretch out a good 5 seconds.
Sure, she gets bored of the toys eventually and will stop playing with them, but I still feel we get good use out of everything she gets. Plus, those reactions are worth everything in the world to me.
This year I started Christmas shopping in September because I wanted to be able to take my time with picking up things, and taking advantages of sales and I am already done with everything except for one or two big items. We even planned out the cookies we will make for Santa and I have a few new books and movies for us to watch to get us in the holiday spirit as soon as Thanksgiving is over. We are also going to mix things up by getting new ornaments for the tree. What day do you put up your trees? We usually try to have ours up on the 1st of December and take it down on the 1st of January. The past couple of years, our trees were still so fresh (we watered it daily), that we were able to keep them well past Valentine’s Day! I’m trying to make it a tradition and get a few Valentine’s themed ornaments.
I’ve been really into trying out new gluten-free recipes because I know a lot of people who have celiac disease and cannot enjoy a lot of the same desserts we all enjoy. (P.S. How was that for a non sequitur??) So, when I discovered Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, I was really intrigued as to how well it worked to replace all-purpose flour in a regular recipe because this flour is supposed to be perfectly formulated for baked goods with terrific taste and texture – no additional specialty ingredients or custom recipes required. Exactly what I wanted. Since I wanted to see exactly how this flour worked with a tried and true recipe, and I really wanted to make you a cake for the holidays, I decided I needed to try out this Gingerbread Latte Cake from The Cake Blog with a few minor adjustments to the recipe and a more kid-friendly cinnamon buttercream. I’ve been drooling over this cake and I couldn’t think of a better time to test it out. I was also inspired by this really cute cupcake that little figurines on the frosting. I knew I needed to create my own little gingerbread wonderland on my cake – with gluten-free cookies, of course!
I was surprised at how light and moist the gingerbread cake was. You honestly cannot tell that the flour was totally gluten-free. And the cookies? Pure chewy, gingerbread bliss. I am totally a convert when it comes to this gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. As it turns out, this flour works so well because this flour combines finely ground brown rice flour, sweet white rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour with a touch of xanthan gum—just enough to create a springy cake.
We had a ton of fun making the cake and decorating the cookies – Natushka kept eating the frosting as she decorated the trees and may or may not have eaten the snowman we made. I found a few tutorials on making gingerbread houses on Pinterest that I reeeeaaaaaaally wanted to try, but I forgot how hard it is to make mini houses (this one is actually only about an inch high) which is why this one is poorly decorated just enough to hide all the flaws. It was delicious and that is all that counts, right? Oh and we found those little gingerbread men sprinkles that are also gluten-free and I had to use them! My original idea was to frost the entire cake and line them up in a gradient along the sides, then I realized that would take for-ev-er and changed my plan. I will find something more manageable to put them in!
While the gingerbread cake is fairly easy to make, if you are doing the cookies, I recommend doing them a day ahead, especially if you are doing the houses and are like me and aren’t that good at putting them together!
P.S. If you want to buy their gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, use this link to get $1 off.
- 3 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cassia oil (cinnamon extract may also work)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda together and lightly whisk. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, then the eggs and beat well. Add in the ginger.
- Alternate between adding the flour and the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Do not over mix, but keep the lumps to a minimum.
- Evenly distribute the batter to the cake pans and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it when inserted in the middle of one of the cakes.
- Remove the pans and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes cool, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until completely smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar slowly, one cup at a time. Add the ground cinnamon and oil. (Note: You can use a tablespoon of ground cinnamon if you cannot find cassia oil or extract, but keep in mind, the buttercream will be darker in color. I wanted to only use a little ground cinnamon so the buttercream looks more snowy.
- Frost the cake as desired. I simply placed half the buttercream on top of each cake for a classic naked cake look.
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon egg (I whisked an egg, then measured out)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- icing for decorating (optional)
- Mix together the flour and spices in a small bowl and lightly whisk. Set aside.
- Beat together the butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg and vanilla together until smooth.
- Slowly add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix well. Turn out the dough onto plastic wrap. Shape into a ball and tightly wrap. Flatten the dough into a disc and chill for at least four hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into ¼ inch in thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. If you want to make the little house I made, use this template I found online. Re-roll and scraps and keep cutting out cookies until the dough is used up. Work quickly as the dough gets soft very quickly.
- Bake for about 8 - 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, decorate with icing.