Winter Treats

What better time to indulge in some yummy sweets than during the holidays! The CIF team has collected a few of our favorite winter dessert treats to share with all of you. Trust us you wont be disappointing, these treats include Christmas favorites like cranberries, gingerbread, and candy canes.


Candy Cane Brownie Trifle


1 9x13 inch pan of baked brownies
6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/4 cup half and half or cream
3/4 sugar
3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup crushed candy canes (about 12 candy canes)


  1. Start by making the brownies. A box mix is fine. Make sure not to over bake them. Remove brownies from the oven and cool completely (if you are in a hurry stick them in the freezer).  Cut brownies into bite-size chunks and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. 
  3. Stir in 1 and 1/4 cups half and half or cream, 3/4 cup sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes (set a timer!) or until sauce is reduced to about 2 1/3 cups.  Remove from heat. Let cool for a minute or two, until it stops bubbling. 
  4. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.  Cool to room temperature; mixture thickens as it cools. (Freezer or fridge also helps here).
  5. For the whipped cream, in a chilled mixing bowl combine 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.  Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  6. In 16 small dessert cups, alternately layer brownie chunks, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and crushed candy canes, ending with whipped cream and candy canes.  Serve immediately.
  7. If you want to do this all in one trifle bowl, place 1/3 of the brownie chunks in a 3-quart bowl or trifle dish.  Drizzle with 1/4 of the chocolate sauce.  Sprinkle with 1/4 of the candy canes.  Top with 1/3 of the whipped cream.  Repeat layers twice more.  Drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce; sprinkle with remaining candy canes.  Serve immediately.

Recipe from The Food Charlatan


Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Cranberries

Gingerbread spice mix
4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp freshly ground cardamom
3 tsp freshly ground cloves

Soft gingerbread cake
270 g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
4 tsp gingerbread spice mix
1/2 tsp ground bitter orange peel (can be omitted)
2 large eggs
100 g light muscovado sugar
100 ml* cane syrup
125 g butter
100 ml heavy cream
150 ml* milk

Sugared cranberries
Fresh cranberries, a couple of large handfuls
1 egg white
Granulated sugar, for rolling

Cream cheese frosting
150 g butter, softened
180 - 210 g (1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
200 g cream cheese, cold

Soft gingerbread cake
1. Heat oven to 175°C (350F). Butter and flour three 15 cm (6 inch) baking pans. Set aside.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, gingerbread spices and ground bitter orange peel in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and lighter in color, about 3-4 minutes. Add cane syrup and beat until smooth.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add cream and milk.
5. Add dry ingredients and butter mixture to the egg mixture in additions.
6. Divide batter between prepared cake pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a wire cooling rack.

Sugared cranberries
1. Dip cranberries in egg white and put them on a piece of kitchen paper so they're not soaking wet when rolling them in sugar (this will make the sugar lumpy).
2. Roll in sugar and leave to dry for 30 minutes or so. Make the frosting while you wait.

Cream cheese frosting
1. Beat butter until pale, about 2 minutes.
2. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until frosting is very pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
3. If you want the frosting to be as white as possible, add just a tiny bit (start off with a super small amount, like the tip of a toothpick and then add more if needed) of purple/royal blue icing color.
4. Add cream cheese and beat until just smooth.

Assembling the cake
1. If cake layers are domed on top, even them out just slightly using a serrated knife (you can correct this with an even layer of frosting instead).
2. Put the first cake layer on a cake stand or plate and spread a fairly thick layer of frosting on it using an offset spatula.
3. Keep doing this until you've used all three cake layers. End with a layer of frosting on top of the last layer.
4. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and put it in the fridge to set for a 10-20 minutes if needed.
5. Decorate with sugared cranberries and a sprig of spruce if desired.

Recipe From Call Me Cupcake


Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

For the gingerbread cake
350g | 12.3oz plain flour
330g | 11.6oz dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsp treacle (molasses)
200g | 7oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
200ml | 7fl oz whole milk + 1 tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
3 tbsp very finely diced candied (crystallized) ginger


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line three cake tins - or spray with cake release.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine.
  3. Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles sand.
  4. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the treacle.
  5. Add the milk, vanilla extract and zest and beat together. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes until batter is smooth.
  6. Fold the chopped ginger into the batter and divide between the prepared cake tins.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the frosting
10.5oz full-fat cream cheese
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon (or vanilla paste)
7oz double cream, whipped to soft peaks
7oz icing (powdered) sugar


  1. First, whip the double cream and icing sugar (using your stand mixer) till you have soft peaks. Transfer to another bowl.
  2. Place the cream cheese and ground cinnamon in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip until soft and fluffy. Slowly add the whipped cream and whip together briefly until combined. Don't whip for too long.
  3. Add a generous amount of frosting on your bottom cake layer and smooth. Top with the second layer and repeat. Add the third layer and then smooth some frosting over the top and sides of the cake. You can leave the cake showing through to achieve the 'naked' cake look or do a crumb coat then chill the cake. Add another layer of frosting and smooth over the cake.
  4. Top with meringue kisses or gingerbread cookies.

Recipe From


What are your favorite winter treats? We would love to hear and try our hand at baking them!

XOXO, Kerisa Ward