The day after Thanksgiving, when my neighborhood exploded into a Griswald family Christmas wonderland, I began to think, OK panic, about the giant list of to-dos I have yet to do before Christmas. Basically, that includes everything, since I haven’t done anything. No shopping for gifts. No holiday cards. No pretty wreaths or outdoor lights or freaky glowing electronic deer in the front yard. Did I mention no gifts? I meant to start early. I swear I did.
So today, sticking to my newfound procrastination tendencies, I vetoed a torturous trip to the mall, where I would no doubt wander aimlessly with no plan and no idea about what to buy, and stayed home to bake gingerbread. To me, gingerbread equals Christmas, a perfect holiday baking staple, simple and homey and traditional, in a loaf pan or as a little man. I’m familiar enough with the process of baking gingerbread men (and women), but the baking of gingerbread in loaf- or cake-style is new, so I dug into my grandmother’s recipes to see if she had any suggestions. I found a list of ingredients and instructions, doubled up on the spices and chose to to make a bundt pan gingerbread cake.
Truthfully, I wish I hadn’t. The actual recipe is fine, but I wish I’d poured the batter into a loaf pan and called it good enough. The thing is, this particular recipe doesn’t produce a whole lot of batter, so what went into the bundt pan came out looking like an oversized gingerbread donut. Still, it tastes pretty good, even after I glazed it erratically with chocolate powdered sugar icing instead of dusting it with my initial choice, ol’ reliable confectioners’ sugar. But this was no slice of tall bunt cake, that’s for sure. So stick to the loaf pan, then cut yourself a really thick slice and enjoy.
Grandma’s Holiday Gingerbread
(adapted from family recipe)