Moist gingerbread vanilla cake covered in fluffy coconut buttercream frosting and chocolate pretzel trees on top.
429 grams all-purpose flour
265 grams caster (superfine) sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
375 milliliters of milk
125 milliliters vegetable oil
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (can substitute with sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
500 grams softened unsalted butter (room temperature)
1020 grams soft icing sugar mixture (sifted after it's weighed)
2 tablespoons milk (room temperature. Optional, see notes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12-15 Pretzel sticks
200 grams Green candy melts (melted)
200 grams light green candy melts (melted)
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to soften butter in a large bowl and mix for 5 minutes so it gains some volume and goes pale in color.
Add half the icing sugar mixture and mix until it's mixed into the butter, then add the rest of the icing sugar along with 2 tablespoons of milk (optional) and a tablespoon of vanilla extract.
Continue mixing for 5 min until it's all well combined.
Add water, brown sugar and molasses to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Space 4 pretzel sticks apart from each other. Using a zip lock or piping bag, pipe zig zag shapes to create a tree shape. Set aside to cool in the fridge
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180C (356F) or 160C (320F). Spray x3, 8 inch cake tins with spray oil and line with baking paper at the bottom of each one.
Add to a large mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, caster sugar, powdered ginger, powdered cinnamon, powdered cloves and salt. Turn a mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (alternatively you may do this by sifting the ingredients together). Add the softened butter and let it mix until it resembles a fine sand like texture.
Next, add milk, eggs, yogurt, oil and vanilla extract in a large jug and whisk well.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Distribute cake batter evenly amongst three cake tins.
Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
Use a kitchen brush to brush simple syrup on each layer of cake.
Fit the end of a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe frosting in a snail shape on top of one of the layers.. Use a large spatula to even out the layer of frosting.
Add each layer of cake finishing with the third layer. Frost the top of that layer with frosting and use that to spread it around the top and sides of the cake. It won't completely cover the cake. Some of the cake will be exposed.
Finish off the cake by inserting the pretzel stick trees on top right before serving.