Gingerbread Trees and Men

Yield:  8 molded cakes or 1 loaf cake 

Grease the mold or pan with butter.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Sprinkles for decoration

Preheat oven:  350° F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Set aside.

In the mixer bowl, cream the softened butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg before adding the next.  Add the vanilla and mix into the mixture.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.  Do not over-mix the batter.

Pour into the prepared pan or mold. Smooth the top using an offset spatula.  

Bake until the tester comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes for the loaf or if using the molds, bake for about 18-20 minutes.  Allow the pan to cool for about 10 minutes and then turn the cakes out onto a plate.  Allow to cool completely before dusting with confectioner's sugar.