And you thought I was done for the weekend. Time at home + no school tomorrow = wayyyy more time to bake. Up next: my gingerbread house needed a little town to go with it!
So the recipe on the cake pan was for orange cakes, but I don’t know what it is about orange that it really just isn’t a flavor I’m ever craving. So instead I went with almond cakes.
To start, I used that wondrous Pam baking spray on my little house cake pan too. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. This shocked me a little bit. I don’t think I’ve ever had a recipe tell me to mix the sugar with the flour to start. But it really just further confirmed for me that the order of mixing things in recipes is arbitrary and I shouldn’t be concerned with it.
Next, in a large bowl, beat together the yogurt, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts.
When I’m at my apartment, I always melt butter in the microwave. It’s easy and consistent. However, when I’m home, I use the method I far prefer: stovetop with our special butter melting cup. I don’t know why this cup is a butter melting cup, but that’s what I’ve always used it for and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it used for anything else. So I put the butter, sliced, in the cup and put it on top of a griddle over low heat, stirring until melted. You probably don’t want to know this, but the butter in the picture is only half of the butter that was used – I had to do this twice.
I feel like this somehow melts butter better than a microwave. I have no idea if that’s true, but it’s my favorite way to do it and I need to find my own butter melting cup at some point.
Anyways, the next step is to add the dry ingredients and blend on the lowest speed (to avoid splatter) until combined. Then you can blend on medium speed for another minute to get it nice and smooth. Another under-appreciated thing to note: my mom’s hand mixer has various speeds other than high and higher. That’s a luxury I didn’t realize I missed.
Spoon about half the batter into the cake pan and spread up the sides, just like with the gingerbread house.
Put it on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan before flipping onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter to make six more little houses.
I used the same Wilton icing from the Gingerbread Bundt Cake to decorate the little houses, but this time I used a #3 tip because it was a little smaller. The coconut choice was actually made because of the almond cakes, I just figured it would work with gingerbread as well.
The beauty of shaped pans is that they have all of the details lined out for you – all you have to do is trace them to end up with an adorable little village.
Then, once I had them all decorated, I obviously had to create my village. My mom and I had a debate as we searched for a platter to fit all of my houses. Should they all fit on one? Should I have little subdivisions for my town? Should I just cover a cookie sheet in tinfoil and call it a tray?
In the end, we settled on little subdivisions with the big house in the middle. I used stained glass candy (shout out to Ann Mullins!) to make a road and shredded coconut as snow. And then I arranged them all near each other and took pictures before I let anyone eat them.
Here’s a close-up of the big gingerbread house that didn’t make it on the previous post:
Anyways, unless you also happen to have awesome house-shaped bakeware for Christmas, these are probably going to be more difficult for you to make. However, the gingerbread cake and almond cakes can be made into regular cakes/cupcakes as well, and I’m sure the coconut frosting can be used and adapted into a variety of different things. So these posts were more for me to show off rather than for you all to try at home, but enjoy them anyways!
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Wilton Coconut Icing
- Spray pan with baking spray and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl.
- In large bowl, beat together yogurt, butter, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract until well blended.
- Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined and then at medium speed for an additional minute until smooth.
- Spoon half of the batter into tins about 3/4 full and spread up sides.
- Bake at 350°F for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then completely on wire rack.
- Repeat with remaining batter.
- Decorate with icing and create your own village!