Thursday, February 7, 2013

Laura Week: "Birthday" Cake!

Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!!

And since today is her birthday, how about we celebrate with some cake?

On Sunday, I gathered up the little ones to make a very special recipe: Laura's Gingerbread.

The recipe is a popular recipe from the writer and historian; It is a gingerbread cake, not a gingerbread cookie. It has been baked many times by her fans, and chronicled on many blogs, but I had never tried it myself. Since Laura's birthday is Thursday, I thought that this week was the best time to try it out. And on Sunday, Big Girl was home, and it was fun to explore a historical recipe.

The ingredients are rather simple. Here, look at the first part of the recipe in Laura's handwriting:

Source: via Kellie on Pinterest

At one point, I thought I screwed up the recipe, and crossed my fingers while it baked. But sure enough, it came out great! Here is the recipe I followed:

Laura's Gingerbread Cake

Mix together:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup shortening

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 cup boiling water 

Mix ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. all spice
1/2 tsp salt

Add the flour mix and mix.

Then add in 2 eggs, well beaten.

Pour into a well-greased pan 9x13 pan. (I used a glass pan; some other versions use a 9x9 pan but mine came out just fine.) Bake at 350 degrees, for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

It came out much better than I thought it would. Some reviews stated that there was not enough spice to it, but I thought it was delicious. And so did all three kids. They all wanted seconds! (And Big Girl requested some in her lunch box tomorrow.) I will definitely be making this again.

You can also add raisins, candied fruit or nuts, and some recipes suggest a chocolate frosting. I think a dollop of whipped cream would be lovely, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. It's a perfect "coffee cake," so if you need to bring something to a winter brunch, try it out!

When we were mixing everything up, I let the kids smell each spice, which was fun to watch the expressions on their faces. They also loved watching the molasses go into the bowl. And when it was baking, they could not wait to see it come out of the oven, because it smelled devine. I make gingerbread cookies every Christmas, and this was as fragrant as that time of the year.

So make a birthday cake for Laura tomorrow. Bake some gingerbread!

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