Confession time: I have never eaten gingerbread before! And I’ve definitely never baked it either. Crazy, right? Growing up, whenever I would see gingerbread cookies and those gorgeous gingerbread houses, I would be so mesmerized by the beauty of them that I’d refuse to eat them! Let’s be honest, I was one strange little girl.
Well this year has been all about trying new things, especially with my baking, so I thought it was time to try some type of gingerbread inspired recipe. Bread pudding is the ultimate comfort food, and I thought making it with gingerbread would be a lovely alternative for the holiday season.
Without further ado, I present to you this Sticky Toffee Gingerbread Bread Pudding! Yes, it is just as good as it sounds. Full of sticky-sweet, brown-butter toffee sauce, richly spiced gingerbread cake and a heavenly amount of creamy custard, this bread pudding is truly a Christmas miracle!
WHAT IS BREAD PUDDING?
Bread pudding is made by soaking slightly stale bread (or cake) in a custard of eggs, egg yolks, milk, and cream, then pressing the mixture into a pan or baking dish, and baking it in an oven until the custard sets up. It’s best served warm and is perfectly good on its own, but you can make a properly plated dessert by serving it with a side of fruit, caramel, or chocolate.
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD BREAD PUDDING
Okay, here’s the second confession of the day: I’ve never made bread pudding either! I know, I know, it’s shocking. But, like I said, this year is all about trying new things! So, to facilitate a steady, easy start, I grabbed the gingerbread cake recipe from joyofbaking.com.
That was a smart decision indeed. My mom, who is not a fan of gingerbread, loved it! She sampled a few bites fresh out of the oven before I covered it in creamy dreamy custard, baked it to sheer bliss and smothered it with heavenly sticky toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. I’m sure you know how she felt after I decked this pudding out. Let’s just say it didn’t last long!
With 3 simple, delicious components this pudding makes for the ultimate Christmas morning breakfast or just as a cold-day afternoon snack!
Here’s what we’re working with:
Gingerbread Cake– Made with warm cinnamon, spicy ginger, smoky molasses, pungent cloves and a whole lot of sweet brown sugar, this cake is Christmas in a pan. This recipe combines the classic flavor of gingerbread with a light, moist cake.
TIP: If you prefer a drier pudding, or just something with a sturdier structure, I suggest making the cake the day before and allowing it to sit out overnight. A stale cake will absorb more moisture.
Homemade Custard– There are few things tastier than a homemade custard. Creamy, smooth, heavenly custard is similar to a vanilla pudding, it’s decadent and familiar. Be patient with your custard, pour love into it and watch it soak into each cube of gingerbread cake.
TIP: Don’t forget to grease the sides and the bottom of the pan with butter before you begin! As the custard cooks, it will absolutely stick to the bottom of the dish. Let’s just avoid that, shall we?
Sticky Toffee Sauce- Arguably the best part of this recipe, this toffee sauce layers in that sweet, caramel-like flavor. The added moisture and delightfully sticky texture are the perfect addition to this dish. You might even want to make a little extra, you know, for those late-night scoops of ice cream or just to eat by the spoonful.
TIP: Prefer something a little less sweet? Add a teaspoon of sea salt to your toffee for a more complex, balanced sauce. Sometimes, you just gotta mix it up.
CAN BREAD PUDDING BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! Bread pudding can be made a day ahead, refrigerated overnight, and baked before serving. Alternatively, you can bake it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator for one to two days, then reheat it in the oven. So, go ahead, enjoy a simple, lazy Winter breakfast by prepping this pudding and popping it in the oven whenever you please!
TIP: If the custard portion of the bread pudding has minimized or completely disappeared before you’re ready to serve, revive it! Reserve a small portion of the custard or keep a bit of heavy cream on hand to drizzle on before serving.
LEFTOVER STORAGE AND REHEATING
Bread pudding is quite the treat! Don’t let those precious leftovers go to waste. Instead, take a minute to learn how to properly store and reheat this decadent holiday dish.
To Store: Because bread pudding can be dry to begin with, it’s important to store it in a way that prevents it from drying any further. If storing in the fridge, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or scoop it into an airtight container for 2-3 days. If freezing, cover tightly with aluminum foil or tuck away in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
To Reheat (Refrigerated): preheat the oven to 350 degrees, cover the pudding with foil and bake for 5 to 15 minutes. The internal temperature of your pudding should be about 165 degrees.
If you want a crisp top on your bread pudding, crank up the broiler on high for 1-2 minutes after it has fully reheated. Be careful! Any longer and the bread will completely dry out.
To Reheat (Frozen): thaw the pudding overnight in the refrigerator. Check that it’s completely thawed by inserting a skewer or butter knife in the center of the dish. After thawing, preheat the oven and reheat the same way you would the refrigerated version.
GRANDBABY CAKES’ BEST GINGERBREAD RECIPES
Feeling the holiday spirit yet? I sure am. This weekend I’m whipping up all things gingerbread to ring in the festive season and I’m inviting you to join me!
Let’s make this year the holiest-jolliest Christmas ever by baking a few of my FAVORITE spicy-sweet gingerbread recipes:
Sticky Toffee Gingerbread Bread Pudding
For the Cake- Slightly adapted from joyofbaking.com
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 9 inch (23 cm) round or square cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides.
Pour half & half, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla into bowl and whisk until well mixed. Pour 1/4 cup of custard over gingerbread cake in each ramekin.
Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes at 325 degrees until the custard is completely set.
For the Sticky Toffee Sauce
Combine butter, heavy cream and sugar in saucepan over medium low heat. Constantly stir until mixture begins to boil. Turn heat down a bit and continue to boil until it darkens and thickens a bit. Pour over warm bread pudding and serve.
If you like this recipe, then you’ll also be interested in some of my other gingerbread inspired recipes.
Sticky Toffee Gingerbread Pudding
For the Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses To prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
- 1 cup milk
For the Custard
- 1 cup half and half up to 1 1/2 cups
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
For the Sticky Toffee Sauce
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup light brown sugar
For the Gingerbread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 9 inch (23 cm) round or square cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Allow the cake to cool and cut the gingerbread into tiny squares.
- Place squares on baking sheet and bake in oven for additional 10 minutes to dry out a bit. Fill ramekins with gingerbread cubes. Makes about 6-8 ramekins.
For the Custard
- Pour half & half, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla into bowl and whisk until well mixed. Pour 1/4 cup of custard over gingerbread cake in each ramekin.
- Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes at 325 degrees until the custard is completely set.
For the Sticky Toffee Sauce
- Combine butter, heavy cream and sugar in saucepan over medium low heat. Constantly stir until mixture begins to boil. Turn heat down a bit and continue to boil until it darkens and thickens a bit. Pour over warm bread pudding and serve.