For the Hungry Crew

Here’s a surefire holiday dessert recipe from our friend Carolyn and TheBoatGalley.com

Gingerbread Pan Man

While gingerbread men are traditional at Christmas, they can be really hard to make on a boat — it’s hard to roll out the dough and cut the men, and it can take forever to bake them if you can only fit 4 or 5 men on the small cookie sheet that will fit inside your boat oven.

This gingerbread cake can be just as impressive with a bit of easy decorating, but is much, much easier to make.  First, it’s designed to be made by hand, and takes less than 10 minutes to whip up.  Most boat ovens will hold a 9″ x 13″ pan, so you can bake it all at once.

If you have a smaller oven — or are using the Omnia Stove Top Oven (read more about this great tool for boats without ovens) — a half batch is perfect in an 8″ x 8″ pan.

One pan makes it easy to store or take to a Christmas party.  And you can cut pieces as large or small as you like, depending on whether there are other goodies . . . and how many people there are!

And you can do all sorts of fun decorations, depending on what you have available.  By the way, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s still a great recipe!

Gingerbread Cake

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 40 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar (I’ve successfully substituted up to half Splenda)
  • 1 cup canola oil (can use half unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. and grease a 13″ x 9″ pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oil, sugar and molasses with a spoon.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until totally mixed.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice and stir until it’s all a smooth mixture.
  5. Pour in the boiling water (tip: measure the water before you heat it and you don’t have to worry so much about spilling it if the boat moves) and quickly beat it in. The batter will be very thin — don’t worry, it’s supposed to be that way.
  6. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F. for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan before doing any decorating — or allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

My decorations? I cut out a gingerbread man from some scrap paper, laid him on the cake, sprinkled it all with powdered sugar (fairly heavily), then carefully removed the paper, leaving the dark “gingerbread man” underneath. I decorated with a few Life Savers, a tiny candy cane that was being given away at a store, half a cashew and a hat cut out of some red paper I found in a drawer.

This recipe is from The Boat Galley Cookbook, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, by Carolyn Shearlock (TheBoatGalley.com) and Jan Irons (CommuterCruiser.com).

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