by Patricia on December 26, 2009 · 11 comments


How was your Christmas? Did you get everything you wanted? Santa was very good to me. I got a load of kitchen goodness, the best of which is a Le Creuset. I’ve already used it. And several new cookbooks… I fear I’ve become predictable.

But that was yesterday. Now we are in No Man’s Land. That week between Christmas and the new year. What do you do during this week? Do you take down the tree or do you wait until January (or February) for that? Do you look back at what you’ve done (or haven’t done) this year? Look ahead to the next year and make your list of resolutions and goals? Make a plan? Or do you sit on the couch with a cat resting her head in the crook of your elbow while you type out a bazillion questions while avoiding what really needs to be done? That’s what I do. Obviously.

Today, the day after all of the presents and glitzy bows, I am feeling contemplative. Reminiscing about the year that is almost over. Preparing for the year that is about to begin. I’ve learned a great deal this year about blogging, taking photos, cooking, life, and myself. And now I’m looking forward to 2010 and all of the knowledge and adventures it promises to hold. Expect more changes on the blog: like some healthier food (No, really. I mean it) and a few tweaks to the navigation. There will be more baked treats, of course.

I’ve been working on my resolutions and goals for 2010. I have a problem making concrete goals… they feel so restrictive, and I like to keep my options open. I’m also a tiny bit of a contrarian by nature, so if someone says you can’t lose weight while still baking cupcakes and cookies, I am likely to say “Oh yeah? I’ll show you.” Sometimes this means I sign up for really dumb things.

Anyway, what about you? What are you doing this week before New Year’s? And how does 2010 look for you?

P.S. I love gingerbread. To me, it tastes like Christmas. This year, I had it a day late, but now with a belly full of rich, dark gingerbread and whipped cream, it feels like Christmas is truly complete.

P.P.S Remember that hat that I thought might be too purply to be boy-appropriate? Well, neither of the boys said it looked girly so I guess it’s cool. Whew. Although the black and blue one, I should have made a little bit longer I think (it barely covers the ears… oops), but it’s stretchy so it works.



(adapted from Good Housekeeping Baking)

This isn’t a cake I make more than once (maybe twice) a year, but it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me until I have had a piece or three of this gingerbread… with fresh whipped cream please. The candied ginger pieces give it an extra kick.

Makes 9 servings.

2 cups flour (all-purpose or white whole wheat. I used white whole wheat this year and it was just as good as all-purpose if not better)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses (mild, not blackstrap)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup boiling water
1 large egg
Optional: candied ginger, chopped into small pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine molasses and butter. Add boiling water and stir until the butter melts completely.
  4. Add molasses mixture and egg to the flour mixture. Whisk until blended. [For a more cake-like texture, whisk vigorously for a few minutes or beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes].
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the candied ginger pieces on top (if using). Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.


1 LadyJayPee November 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I’ve made this twice in the past week or so. Tonight, I added a teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger, in addition to the candied ginger. Sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top, and added a splash of rum extract to the whipped cream. I am in heaven. Thanks for posting this. It fills in for a recipe I made yonks ago and lost!

2 Cheri December 30, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Fun! I did not make gingerbread this year! What cookbooks did you get?
I got Ad Hoc, The Farm Girls, Savory Baking and a Pastry Queen one. Lots to try in 2010! Happy New Year!

3 Patricia January 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

Hi Cheri,

I got The French Laundry cookbook (though I’ve never eaten there… I look forward to it someday), Ratio, Martha Stewart’s Cookies, and a dvd set of The French Chef along with an old copy of Julia Child’s French Chef cookbook. Looks like I’ll be cooking with a little French influence this year? :)

4 Beth December 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I ADORE real gingerbread. A bakery near my old apartment makes it year round – the thick, molassesey “old fashioned” kind that sticks to the sides of your belly in a comforting kind of way – and I haven’t had it in forever! Your post is inspiring me to make it for New Years Day. Sounds like a great way to start off 2010 to me!

5 Patricia January 6, 2010 at 8:31 am

Hi Beth,

I hope it worked out for you (after the blackstrap attempt… sorry I didn’t specify the molasses type before. I’ve updated the recipe since you’re tweet). Happy New Year!

6 megan December 30, 2009 at 8:30 am

can you believe I’ve never had actual gingerbread? Definitely on my list for next Christmas.

7 Patricia January 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

hey megan,
I don’t think I had had real gingerbread until about 4 years ago but I found that I like it better than the gingerbread cookies (at least gingerbread men, some of the chewy ginger cookies are awesome but not really gingerbread I guess?). So I’ve made gingerbread every year since. Maybe I just like the whipped cream :)

8 Samanth December 29, 2009 at 12:36 pm

That gingerbread looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it.

9 April December 27, 2009 at 8:48 am

I have never had the gingerbread cake, but I have had that yummy whipped cream tht you make several times. I think that it makes anything twice as good :)

Looking forward to some of those healthy food posts. Perfect for the New Year.

10 Natalie January 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Is the recipe for the whipped cream on this website? I can’t find it! :(

11 Patricia January 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

Hi Natalie – sorry I don’t have a recipe up for whipped cream yet, but it’s pretty easy: take 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar (sifted if it’s lumpy), and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract; whip until it forms peaks (not quite stiff peaks, but it shouldn’t be runny). It’s easiest if you use an electric mixer for this but you can do it by hand with a whisk.

Hope that helps.

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