One of the truths we Clementine gals hold dear to our hearts is that a holiday dinner is not complete without dessert. At the first sign of frost, we race to recover beloved family recipes that elevate the season and make it special for generation after generation. Though our sweet-tooth may be a top motivation, we equally crave the poignant memories that are created around the dessert table.
Our tried-and-true favorite is a layered spiced cake. As the aromas of the baking cake fill our home, our hostess spirit is instantly sparked. This year, with the intention to keep the party lingering around the table, we knew a festive setting was critical.
With twinkling lights and a glowing fireplace as our backdrop, we arranged magnolia leaves as a table runner, gathered red berries from the back yard for garlands and transformed white-linen napkins with braided twine, gift-tag initial cards and pinecones. Metallic bowls, serving trays and frosted candle holders added an extra sparkle to the display.
For our final touches, we placed our iced spiced cake on a hammered silver stand for the ultimate centerpiece, topped our vintage glasses with Pinot Noir and lit the remaining tea lights. As soon as our guests started to arrive, we realized we had created a setting that not only highlighted our favorite wintery dessert, but set the stage for the sweet moments that follow.
Care to indulge in some sweet entertaining of your own? Here's our tried-and-true recipe modified from Martha Stewart’s Sugar-and-Spice Cake)!:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1¾ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ground ginger into a bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Alternate between adding flour mixture and milk. Mix until smooth.
3. Coat three 6-inch and three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line with parchment rounds and coat again. Separate batter evenly between pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool pans for 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto wire rack to cool completely.
4. Stack and frost the layers with your favorite buttercream icing! Voilà!