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Gingerbread Cake Recipe

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5 from 6 reviews

This Gingerbread Cake Recipe is infused with the warming spices of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Dark rum and molasses are what give this moist cake its rich, robust flavor. A delicious surprise is candied ginger bits that are scattered throughout the batter. A classic holiday dessert topped with cream cheese frosting that is a surefire crowd-pleaser at Holiday get-togethers.

Ingredients

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Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 cup Dark Rum
  • 1 1/3 cup Fancy-Grade Molasses
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup chopped Candied Ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 - 8 oz packages Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup Butter (softened)
  • 6 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg, to taste
  • Store-bought Gingersnap cookies, for decoration

Instructions

For the Gingerbread  Cake:

  • Whisk one cup dark rum and 1 1/3 cup fancy-grade molasses in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and slowly whisk in 2 teaspoons baking soda, one teaspoon at a time. The liquid will foam up. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • In a medium bowl, combine 6 large eggs (room temperature), 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature), 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 cup canola oil. Whisk until smooth.
  • Whisk in the rum and molasses mixture.
  • Gradually and gently fold the wet mixture into the dry until everything is combined
  • Gently fold in 1 cup of chopped candied ginger.
  • Pour the batter into prepared round pans to 3/4 full.
  • Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven. Set aside for 10 minutes and turn the cakes over onto wire racks. Let them cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Icing

  • Using a hand mixer, beat 2 - 8 ounce packages of softened cream cheese and 1 cup softened butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add 6 cups of powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time until smooth.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and ground nutmeg (to taste) while continuing to beat the frosting.

Assembling the Cake

  • When cutting the cakes, it works great to use a cake turntable. Cut off the domed part of the top of both cakes with a long serrated bread knife and discard.
  • Measure halfway up each round cake and cut horizontally through the middle until completely separated.
  • Layer the bottom cake section onto a cake plate and frost with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Continue with each section but not the top layer.
  • When you get to the last layer, create a crumb barrier by frosting the entire cake with a thin layer of icing.
  • Chill the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the freezer and frost the top and the sides with an offset spatula as you turn the turntable to get a perfectly smooth surface.
  • Optional - Place gingersnap cookies around the bottom portion of the cake and one cookie in the middle on top. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs around the top edge of the cake.

Notes

  • Use fancy or unsulfured molasse instead of the blackstrap kind. Blackstrap is too strong and will overpower the other flavors in the recipe.
  • Bring the buttermilk and eggs to room temperature. Remove them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before starting.
  • If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own. To do this, add one tablespoon of vinegar to a cup measurer and fill the rest of the cup with whole milk. Stir gently and let sit for 10 minutes. Another substitute is to mix 3/4 cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of whole milk.
  • Be careful to not overmix the batter or it will become tough and gummy.
  • Avoid overbaking. Keep a close eye on the cake as it is nearing the end of its baking time. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs hanging on.
  • These can be made into cupcakes with the same cake batter recipe. The baking time will be much short, anywhere from 18-21 minutes. Frost them with the same frosting recipe and enjoy.
  • A turntable can be helpful for horizontally slicing the layers of a cake. Use a long serrated knife and saw back and forth while turning the turntable.  It can also be helpful when frosting the cake.
  • Use softened cream cheese and butter for the frosting. This alleviates lumps in the frosting.
  • Keep the cake plate clean while frosting by placing three triangular strips of parchment paper underneath the cake. When you are finished frosting, simply pull out the parchment paper and your cake plate will be clean.
  • An offset spatula is one of the best tools for frosting a cake. It creates a nice smooth finish.

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