With the balmy weather and endless sunshine, December in Hawaii is glorious but Christmas in Hawaii takes a bit of getting used to. There is all the same Christmas kitsch just repackaged to a tropical feel. Shaka Santa, Surfing Santa, Swimming Santa. Instead of a sleigh, Santa arrives in an outrigger canoe. Instead of the standard spruce or pine, the only trees you can get go chop down at the Christmas tree farm look like a version made up by Dr. Seuss. Instead of a cozy snowbound holiday meal, lots of families have beach barbecues. There are lights and carols but they also have a distinctly Hawaiian flair of palm trees, sunshine, and warm sand. Like I said, for a New England girl, it takes some getting used to…but damn do I love it! Sure, Christmas day feels a bit strange without the snow but this new Christmas reality is something I have come to adore.

canoe santa

In Hawaii, Santa has a different mode of transportation. No reindeer required.

The one thing missing that I cannot live without is the food. I just can’t have Christmas without hot rum drinks, hearty roasts and soups, and, most importantly, fresh fluffy gingerbread. Heat be damned, I must have them all!


A little pre-holiday relaxation.

This recipe is incredibly simple. It doesn’t take much time or effort but the result is a slightly sweet, light and spicy cake. It tastes far more complex than it really is, don’t worry! Just like any perfect holiday dish, it conjures up all the right nostalgia while still allowing you time to drink your eggnog and spend time with your guests. With any luck, it will become a staple for a few of my friends and serve as a little tiny reminder of the cold in this warm tropical Christmas.


Happy baking! ~ Molly


  • Servings: 10-15
  • Print



  • 2 ½ cups flour, sifted
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350* F
  2. Cream butter and sugar; add molasses and egg; beat
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together; gradually beat into butter mixture; add grated ginger; beat in hot water until the batter is smooth
  4. Butter and flour a 9” x 13” glass pan; pour in batter; bake for 30-35 minutes
  5. Cool completely; dust with powdered sugar before serving

7 thoughts on “Gingerbread

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