Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK

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It’s the holiday season as everyone is keenly aware. I successfully finished nursing school last week and with my free time I now know, I have since thrown myself head first into holiday projects, trying to get the most out of everyday. Today in particular is the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year daylight wise and the best time in my opinion to embrace the dark and cold of winter. It’s a time to cosy up by a crackling fire, a good book or knitting in hand, light some candles, drink some hot cider perhaps with a little extra cheer poured in, and enjoy the quiet that the dark enfolds you in. So many people have a hard time with the darkness but if you can give yourself some healthy doses of what in my mind is the season’s best medicines – outdoor adventures and of course cake – I think you’ll feel a bit better!

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Now not just any cake will do, the kind of cake I’m talking about is a maple glaze drenched gingerbread bundt cake that takes the spices winter is warmed by – ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, & nutmeg – and wraps them into a moist, not for the faint of heart, gingerbread delight. Best served with a hot cup of coffee in hand, maybe brewed with a few dashes of cardamom in the beans, and a wisp of cream stirred in. And this recipe is so easily pulled together it is a perfect one to include little helping hands in the making of.

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For get togethers that call for cake, such as that office holiday party you have coming up, family dinners, ladies nights… I have dreams of quiet childfree breakfasts…. whatever… I like to create table-scapes to dress up my cakes and thats where the outdoor adventuring comes in.

Pull on your xtra-tuffs and tromp out for a few fresh cut spruce bows to tuck in under the edges of the cake and to line your holiday table with, maybe a few pine cones, stalks of dried cow parsnip flowers. Just because there isn’t green abounding doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty in the earth lying dormant. Watch for something to catch your eye and bring a little back home with you. Something else I like to do is sprinkle low bush cranberries from the falls harvest that have been rolled in sugar onto the platter to add a pop of color.

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Gingerbread Maple Glazed Bundt Cake

(makes one cake using a 10-15 cup bundt pan or like pictured two cakes using a 6 cup bundt pan)

You’ll need: 

For the cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder*
  • 16 tablespoons butter/ 2 sticks – at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 4 eggs – at room temperature
  • 1 cup water*
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the Spiced Maple Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • approximately 3 tablespoons half & half

To make: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease your bundt pan and coat finely with a little flour to prevent your cake from sticking.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, ground spices, baking soda, buttermilk powder and salt then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy in appearance (2-3 minutes on medium speed). Next you will add the maple syrup and the cup of molasses – a little trick I found for quickly pouring measured molasses is to lightly spray your liquid measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring your molasses into it, this allows the molasses to slide swiftly out when pouring with only but a few drops left behind – beat until the molasses & syrup is fully combined then crack in the eggs. Beat about 15-30 seconds to blend and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to incorporate anything that may have been missed by the paddle.

Add in a 1/3 of the flour spice blend, mix on low until uniform and slowly pour in 1/2 cup of water, once combined again scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and repeat the addition of 1/3 of the flour mixture then the remaining 1/2 cup of water, finish by adding in the final 1/3 of the flour spice blend and scrape the sides well before one final blend. The batter should be smooth, uniform in color, and without lumps.

Pour into the prepared pan or pans, if making two small bundt cakes you’ll put just shy of 4 cups of batter into each pan. Bake the large bundt 50-60 minutes or the two small bundt cakes 35-40 minutes, you’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick is inserted comes out clean and the sides of the cake pull away from the pan. Cool in pan about 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to allow to come to room temperature.

To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners sugar & spices in a medium bowl to blend, pour in the maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of half & half whisk until evenly mixed and add 1/2 tablespoon of half & half at a time to reach the desired consistency of glazed. Pour over cooled cakes and decorate with options such as crushed candy canes, gingerbread cookies, or a dash of cinnamon. Plate and served with a mug of coffee or coco this cake is perfect anytime of day.

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Check out this story read live on KDLG radio! 

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