Merry Christmas : Gingerbread Cake

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you had a great day full of love, family, and delicious food! Today everyone here got up early (well, late compared to our childhood selves) to open presents and eat breakfast. I don't know about you, but morning is always the best part of Christmas day for me. Everyone wakes up excited and cheerful, ready for a day of lounging around, snacking, and watching Christmas specials on TV. Hello Elf, hello Christmas Story.

But by mid-afternoon, I'm always ready to get into the kitchen and start working on something. This year I really wanted to make a naked cake, something simple, but spicy and filled with holiday cheer. I wish I'd known before that gingerbread was so easy to make, I would have made it a long time ago. Gingerbread is something I think I could eat anytime of the year.

So pretty, right? The powdered sugar on top reminds me of snow!

I used the recipe from Once Upon a Chef, with modifications to make the recipe dairy-free. Just swap butter for shortening. Since my sister-in-law developed a dairy allergy, I've started to notice just how many desserts are off-limits to those with specific allergies. I like to find bakes that can be accessible to everyone, while still being delicious and easy to make. This recipe and the lemon square recipe were both very easy to transfer.

It was such a joy to bake today. The past few weeks have been so crazy (and dark outside) that blogging and baking have been out of reach. I work a 9-5 job as a communications assistant, plus I work at a donut shop on the weekends. I love my work and that I get to do these awesome jobs every day, but my schedule can get crazy and the late night shifts have been tiring. Most of the time when I'm home I just want to scarf down Trader Joe's biscotti and knit in bed!

But as the new year comes around again, I hope to write more and have lots of new bakes to write about. I'll keep you posted! In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Happy baking!


Lemon Squares

Happy Christmas Eve! Sorry I disappeared for a while there. Life developments kicking into full gear coupled with less sunlight meant blogging was a challenge. But I did get in a quick bake before Christmas, these lemon squares!

These are particularly special to bake because I used my mother's lemon tree for the first time! I've never used homegrown fruit before, and it was awesome to bake something I picked myself. 
 I also used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks as a butter substitute for the crust, making these dairy-free. 

Makes 24 squares
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes


For the Crust

1 cup butter or butter substitute, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cup flour

For the filling

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Juice of 2 lemons, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup powdered sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Blend together the butter or butter substitute, sugar, and flour in a large bowl, until completely blended to the consistency of wet sand. Press into a 9x13 inch pan, until smooth.
2. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and firm. The butter substitute will not brown as well, but bake until firm. It may take an extra 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice, and whisk until blended smoothly.
4. Pour into the crust and bake for another 20 minutes. Drop the temperature in the oven to 325 F. The dish should be slightly wobbly in the center, and will firm up as it cools. 
5. Let cool completely, at least for one hour, then sift or sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.


These are tart, sweet, and perfect for a gift exchange!

Happy baking! And Merry Christmas!

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