Gingerbread cake with caramel biscuit icing is a delicious treat for your family and friends this Christmas. (BBC photo)

It’s not just about fruit cake during the holidays

Cathi Litzenberger shares one of her favourite Christmas cake recipes

  • Nov. 22, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Cathi Litzenberger

Morning Star Columnist

It’s too late to be starting traditional fruit cakes now but I have a wonderful Christmas cake for those who hate fruit cake but would love to serve a delicious seasonable cake. Make and freeze the cake layers ahead and defrost the day before to decorate. Delicious!

Gingerbread Cake

with Caramel Biscuit Icing

2/3 cup whole milk

3 tbsp. black treacle (fancy molasses)

1 cup minus 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing

1-1/2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1½ tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 cups light brown soft sugar

1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1½ tsp. ground ginger

3 good pinches of cloves

1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 tsp. fine salt

3 large eggs

3 tbsp. dark rum (optional – replace with milk, if you like)

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the caramel biscuit icing

1/2 lb +2 tbsp. lightly salted butter, very soft

2-3/4 cups icing sugar, plus a little extra for dusting

1-1/3 cups full-fat cream cheese

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup smooth caramelized biscuit spread

2/3 cup desiccated coconut, to decorate

Silver edible glitter (optional)

Gingerbread shapes (like cookies)

Measure the milk and treacle into a saucepan (grease the measuring spoon with a little oil first and the treacle will easily slide off). Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until combined, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, grease 3 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins with a little oil and line the bases with baking parchment (if you don’t have enough cake tins, see tip). If the tins are any shallower than 4 cm, line the sides with a deep collar too. Heat oven to 350 F.

Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and spices into a large bowl, then add salt. Mix the dry ingredients together with a large whisk; if there are any large lumps of sugar, squeeze these through your fingers until you have an even, sandy-textured mixture.

In a jug, whisk the oil, buttermilk, eggs, rum and vanilla. Add the milk and treacle mixture, and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk into a smooth batter. Divide between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. You may have to swap the cakes over to cook evenly, but don’t do this until they’ve had at least 20 mins. cooking. Cool the cakes in their tins for 10 mins., then transfer to a wire rack, peel off the parchment and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, you can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and store in a cool place for 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months – the texture and flavour will be all the better for it.

To make the icing: put the butter and half the icing sugar in a large bowl. Mash together roughly with a spatula, then whizz with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, the cream cheese, vanilla extract and caramel biscuit spread. Mix again until smooth and evenly mixed.

Transfer half the icing to another bowl and set aside. Use the remaining icing to stack the cakes and cover the entire outside in a thin layer – don’t worry about making the cake look too neat at this stage, as any crumbs trapped in the icing will be covered in the final coat. Chill the cake for 30 mins. and the remaining icing for 20 mins. (remove the icing from the fridge 10 mins. before the cake to soften a little).

When the icing on the cake is firm, remove it from the fridge and use the remaining icing to cover the cake. Smooth the sides using a palette knife, but leave peaks and dips on top for your snow scene.

Top the cake generously with desiccated coconut, a dusting of sieved icing sugar and some edible glitter, if you like, then decorate the top and sides with gingerbread shapes If you’re not eating the cake within a few hours, store it in the fridge, but bring back to room temperature before serving. Will keep for two days.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Star Quebecois pianist to take the stage in Vernon

Charles Richard-Hamelin will play on Feb. 29, with opening act by local Grade 11 student

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

North Okanagan Knights take on Kelowna Chiefs in playoff preview

The teams will square off for last game of regular season, Round 1 of KIJHL playoffs

Enderby announces plans for $150K ParticipACTION prize money

The city was crowned Canada’s most active community in June 2019

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read