For the last several weeks I’ve been thinking about nothing but Downton Abbey, tea parties, scones, and table decor, and it is nearly time to share the culmination of all my scheming! My heart is aflutter with the excitement. I’ll be sharing all the photos and details of my Downton Abbey Tea Party later this week!
It was a brisk, grey morning when I started preparing treats for my guests who would arrive that afternoon. These gingerbread tea cakes were the star of the table. Not only are they pretty darn delicious, they are also beyond adorable -- thanks to this baking mold.
Unlike most gingerbread cakes, these are incredibly moist and they pair wonderfully with a spicy cup of holiday tea. They are just sweet enough, and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar becomes a quilt of sweet snow on top of their tiny little roofs.
The ingredients list is a simple one, and like all good things, it begins with butter. Brown sugar and molasses give it a deep, sugary flavor, and allspice, ginger, clove, and cinnamon form the spice team.
Now these cakes are positively scrumptious on their own, but I have never been one to leave things alone when there is still a way to add extra cream. I’m talking about whipped cinnamon mascarpone. Oh, and candied orange peel too, because it’s Christmas time.
Mascarpone is whipped with a combination of confectioner’s sugar and ground cinnamon as your orange peels simmer away in sugar syrup.
Your kitchen is smelling wonderful at this point. I hope you are listening to Christmas music. It’s not in the recipe, but it should be.
Having a sugar-covered kitchen is so much more acceptable around Christmastime, isn’t it?
Ah! They are just so unbelievably adorable! I plan on packaging up a few of these little darlings for gifts. I also think they would be fun to decorate as a less tedious alternative to traditional gingerbread house-building.
Fill the kettle, call your friends, and pretty up your table. It’s time to party. Tea party, that is.
Gingerbread Tea Cakes
makes 6 small cakes
equipment: silicone gingerbread baking mold
for the whipped mascarpone
- 4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone, confectioner’s sugar, and ground cinnamon. Use a hand mixer to beat until smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use. Allow to soften for 15 minutes before serving.
for the candied orange peel
- 1 medium naval orange
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer peel from the orange. Cut the peel into strips and then crosswise to form small squares of orange.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Allow to boil for 5-10 minutes, until a thick syrup has formed and then add orange peel. Cook the orange peel for 5-7 minutes, until the peel starts to look translucent.
Fill a high-sided plate with 1/2 cup sugar. Use a slotted spoon to remove the orange peel from the syrup and place in sugar. Use a fork to coat the orange peel in sugar and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Sift away excess sugar and then store the candied orange peel in an airtight container until ready to use.
for the cakes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift to combine flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat butter for one minute, until fluffy. Add brown sugar and molasses and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate sifted flour mixture and milk.
Pour the batter into the greased baking mold or muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a small fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for several minutes before removing from mold. Place the cakes on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar and serving with whipped mascarpone and candied peel. Enjoy!