Christmas at Biltmore Estate: Our #2 favorite vacation spot for Christmas! #1 is, of course, our home. If you have not visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it is a must-see, must-do vacation. There are so many wonderful and fun things to do, a true spirit of historical Christmas. Visit their website here for their Christmas and holiday videos, photo slideshows and all of the festivities for the holidays. We will share lots more over the next few weeks of our favorites from our Christmas vacations at Biltmore. Watch for them! Until then, take a trip here!
What would the Christmas holidays be without a Gingerbread House creation, cookies, muffins and more? Just the wonderful aroma that engulfs the kitchen is enough to make your favorite gingerbread treat. When we visit the Greenbrier Resort for Christmas, we are always amazed at the beautiful Greenbrier Gingerbread House. It is fantastic and always a favorite spot to sip Hot Chocolate and watch the train move through the Gingerbread House village. Some of our favorites are at Martha Stewart. Try them.
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They look impressive and taste divine, but the really extraordinary thing about these fabulous desserts is how easy they are to prepare
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fig preserves
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Cream Cheese Frosting
Garnishes: dried figs, fresh raspberries, fresh mint sprigs
Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add buttermilk and vanilla; beat well.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended. Fold in fig preserves, applesauce, and toasted pecans. (Batter will be thin.) Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Store in refrigerator. Garnish, if desired.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Braswell’s Pure Fig Preserves. Coarsely chop figs, if necessary.
Southern Living, DECEMBER 1999
Photo: Charles Walton; Styling: Cindy Manning Barr