I cannot believe I am saying this, but I recently concluded that I LOVE gingerbread cake (and my fave is obvs one of the snacking cake variety with cream cheese frosting). And I’m sorry if the rest of you have loved gingerbread for forever and are now rolling your collective eyes at me (or worse) in light of all the time I’ve wasted not loving it. Here’s what happened, as many of you know, I am very much team chocolate, sometimes team vanilla, most of the time team fruit, almost never team pumpkin (though my whoopie pies are an exception) and NEVER team spice. I mean I don’t like spice cake, I don’t like gingerbread people and I’m not even all that into ginger cookies.
But recently I decided to develop a straight-up gingerbread snacking cake in an effort to appear a tad more evolved taste-bud-wise. I was planning an Instagram Live with Colavita, my favorite olive oil company, and we decided I would be making a gingerbread cake because gingerbread is so holiday-forward, and we wanted something that really said HAVE A FREAKIN’ HAPPY HOLIDAY – YOU DESERVE IT – since for many this year has been trying and we all deserve a break in the form of something sweet.
Of course, what I really wanted to make was a chocolate gingerbread snacking cake, since I am so pro-chocolate (see above) but I had already done that, and I appreciate that not everyone wants chocolate to be a component of every dessert (except me). Anyway, we decided on gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting (and there was no negotiation as to whether it was going to be a “snacking” cake or some other kind of cake, because if I am anything, I am TEAM SNACKING CAKE). So, I set out to develop it and then actually filmed a cute video of me making it for Simply Organics, and guess what? It was fab – it was spicy, but not overpoweringly so, and not in the familiar pumpkin (whoopie) pie way, but in a unique ginger/molasses way all its own. It was moist from the oil, molasses and egg yolk. it was tall, as all my snacking cakes are, and had a gorgeous burnt orange/tawny color and I loved it and . . . I hope you will, too.
Spiced Gingerbread Snacking Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon plus more for finishing
- A rounded 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup light olive oil
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 yolk
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- For the frosting:
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temp
- One 8 oz package of cream cheese room temp
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted if lumpy
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch pan with cooking spay or softened butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
- To make the cake, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl.
- Place the oil and sugar in another medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the molasses and vanilla and whisk again. Add the egg and yolk, one at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the boiling water, whisking to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Do not over mix..
- Bake for 35 to 38 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a cake tester comes out looking just slightly wet. I find if you wait until the tester has only a crumb or two, the cake is a little too dry. Let cool until easy to handle before inverting the cake on to a cooling rack and then flipping it right side up to cool to room temperature.
- To make the frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and on low speed, beat until smooth and uniform. Add the vanilla and beat again.
- Add the sugar one cup at a time to the mixer bowl, mixing until combined after each addition. Add the salt and cinnamon and mix just to incorporate.
- Generously frost the cooled cake, making swirls with the back of a large spoon. Dust with cinnamon and enjoy.