How great is it that right before Christmas, Anastasia told me she would like a "Gingerbread Girl" themed birthday?... 50 - 70% off after Christmas, and we have ourselves a lot of birthday gear! Bonus that her birthday is in February, so I didn't have to hold onto all of this for too long.
I like to have an activity for the kids that goes with the theme of the party. Last year, it was a bean bag game with a bean bag to take home in a goodie bag. This year, gingerbread ornaments and cookies to decorate and take home in a gingerbread patterned box, and I recycled the back of the bean bag game to match this year's theme.
The only thing I didn't find on after-Christmas clearance was gingerbread mix. Go figure. So, I slightly modified a recipe I found in my vegetarian cookbook, 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes.
Here is the recipe for Apple Gingerbread. I am showing the ingredients doubled, and baking time increased, as was required to accomodate my large, gingerbread-shaped cake pan (original recipe's ingredients were half of what I have listed, put into an 8 inch square pan, and baked for 40 minutes):
Stir together 3 c. unbleached flour, 4 tsp. ginger, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. allspice.
In a large bowl, beat 2/3 c. olive oil and 2 eggs. Add 1 1/3c. sugar and 6 Tbsp. molasses and beat until combined. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with 1 c. plain yogurt. Stir in 3 c. chopped apples and 1 c. raisins.
Spoon into greased and floured baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Cool in pan and turn onto decorating surface.
I spooned a ganache (melt about 8 ounces of dark chocolate chips with 1 c. heavy cream and cool until desired consistency) over the cake and let it drizzle down the sides. Then, I piped a confectioner's sugar glaze (confectioner's sugar mixed with just a touch of milk to desired consistency) to create the "rainbow dress" that was requested by the birthday girl. This is a horrible picture taken before the eyes were put on! I will look for another from someone else's camera...