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Chocolate Gingerbread House Petits Fours

What could be sweeter than a village of bite-size houses built from bricks of chocolate-gingerbread cake?

  • yield: Makes 50
Photography: Sang An

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • About 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting
  • 2 red licorice wheels, unwound and cut into 50 pieces (3/4 inch each)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Line bottom with parchment, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, and tap out excess.

  2. Step 2

    Stir together boiling water and baking soda in a small bowl, and set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, spices, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add molasses and eggs, and beat until creamy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the baking soda mixture, and beat until combined. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat for 15 seconds.

  4. Step 4

    Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (To prevent cake from falling too soon, do not open oven for the first 35 minutes of baking.) Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake to loosen, and invert onto rack. Remove parchment, turn cake right side up, and let cool completely. (Cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

  5. Step 5

    Using a serrated knife, trim edges of cake so they are straight. Cut cake into 1-inch cubes. Cut 25 cubes on the diagonal into triangles. Spread frosting on long sides of triangles, and place one triangle on top of each cube, frosting side down, to create roofs. Insert a piece of licorice in top of each roof for the chimney. Dust roofs with confectioners' sugar. Petits fours are best the day you assemble them.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, December 2007

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Reviews (4)

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    I just made these for a dinner party and while I love the idea, I didn't particularly enjoy the taste of this cake. I found it too spicy/gingery with an almost bitter after taste. The houses also didn't look as nice as the picture, but I realized after a few trials that I'm supposed to cut the one square in half and then diagonally cut one of these halves to make the roof. The next time I'll just use a tried and true brownie or even a chocolate cake recipe.

  • 25 Dec, 2008

    Linda and Laura, I loooove both your ideas - they are simply great! Thank you so much for sharing them. Linda, which fudge recipe did you use?
    Happy and healthy 2009 to all!

  • 26 Mar, 2008

    I made these great little gems for our house warming party. I used icing for snow, and made little trees out of cinnamon sticks with peanut butter. Easy to make, but can dry out fast. I may try it with brownies next time.

  • 12 Feb, 2008

    I used a fudge recipe (doubled to fit a 9x11" pan 1" thick) instead and placed the little houses on a round mirror nestle them on and between meringe mountains and dust all but one oval spot with pwdered sugar( for the pond) LK