Sunday, 19 May 2013

Birthday gingerbread train


Mr CC is very weird in that he prefers biscuits to cake.  How I find myself married to a man with such an obvious and serious flaw is a mystery but – to quote Some Like it Hot – nobody’s perfect!  When I saw this biscuit cutter set that allows you to build a 3D free-standing steam train I knew I had found the design for Mr CC’s birthday cake (I’m sorry, but calling it a ‘birthday biscuit’ is just plain wrong), for Mr CC likes trains almost as much as he likes biscuits.

I used the recipe included with the cutter set...and that was perhaps a mistake.  It baffles me why companies include recipes with their products that don’t quite bring out the best in their product.  Firstly, they called it a gingerbread train recipe but it didn’t include any ginger – so I had to amend that!  Secondly, the quantities they list to make a whole three carriage train looked mighty scanty.  I doubled the quantities and still only had enough for a two carriage train.  Thirdly, they tell you to brush the uncooked biscuits with egg yolk – I assume to glaze the biscuit.  This came out a bit streaky, so I didn’t glaze the second batch and it looked much better.  However, the gingerbread was very tasty (even if it did puff up during baking!):

It’s like the spongier gingerbread you get at German markets, rather than the crisp biscuit type.  Very nice texture indeed:

The big benefit with this recipe is that you can make the dough in advance and keep it in the fridge.  I made it two days ahead although it will apparently keep for up to fourteen days.  The other benefit is that the recipe is dairy-free – I was sceptical as to whether one could make good gingerbread without butter, but you can!

About once a year I like to take on an ambitious (for me) decorating project, for no reason other than to remind myself that I am not a decorator, never will be a decorator and that watching ‘Amazing Wedding Cakes’ on the Food Network channel will never turn me into a decorator.  I think this train has achieved it...I don’t think there is a straight line on it.

If you are wondering why the loco tender has ‘4472’ on it (or rather icing squiggles that look a bit like it if you squint), it is because this is the number of the famous Flying Scotsman train, the first steam loco to reach 100mph.  However hard you may fight it, you learn things like this when you are married to a train enthusiast (and, of course, by enthusiast I mean an out-and-proud nerd...and I wouldn’t have him any other way!)

Happy birthday Mr CC!


2 eggs
320g plain flour
100g icing sugar
80g runny honey
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger


Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together to form a dough.

Knead until you have an even ball of dough – it will be sticky.

Form into two fat discs and wrap in clingfilm.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 14 days.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/gas mark 2.

Line three baking sheets with non-stick foil or baking paper.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of clingfilm – I dusted the dough with a little extra icing sugar as it was still tacky to the touch and I worried about it sticking.

Roll the dough to just under 0.5cm thick.

Cut out the dough and place on the prepared baking sheets; it will not expand in width so you can place them close together.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, turning the trays halfway through cooking.  It is ready when it has turned a dark golden colour.

Leave to cool on the baking sheets until cold and firm.

Decorate as desired.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Soo said...

It's a masterpiece!!!!!!!

Ulla said...

WOW! That's great. It's truw work of love :)

My husband loves tractors so I once made him one from gingerbread for Xmas.

Kezia said...

Happy Birthday Mr CC! The train looks fantastic:)

Laura Loves Cakes said...

This is brilliant I love it! I'm quite into 3D bakes at the moment and this train is great...the perfect present for a biscuit/train lover! :-)

Gloria Baker said...

This I really love!look so beautiful !!!!

Stuart Vettese said...

Happy Birthday Mr CC! This looks fantastic, a real labour of love :)

sensibilia said...

Well Done! You are a far better cake decorator than you claim to be!
Mr CC is very lucky. There is a train-enthusiast husband in this house, but he has never been presented with anything so splendid!

Jo said...

Happy Birthday Mr CC! A brilliant alternative to birthday cake. I love that you included a bit of nerdy detail too!

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

How good are you?! this is AMAZING. I want a gingerbread train, so cute!


Katie said...

Looks brilliant. You did so well to get it to stand up!

LiSa said...

That looks so cool! I love the fact that it's for your husband as well!!

I do not consider myself to be much of a decorator either. I bought a book on cookie/biscuit decorating and have never used it...

Maggie said...

Fabulous train cake - my lot all love steam trains and I do too.

Cakelaw said...

This is adawbs!!! Lucky Mr CC.

Choclette said...

From one fellow non decorator to another, I am mightily impressed by your superb train, as I hope Mr CC was too. Gingerbread without butter does sound a little strange, but the result looks good.

Lottie @ Lottie's World of Cakes said...

Oh wow that is fantastic!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Love the train - what a fun treat!