Gingerbread Layer Cake / by Chelsea Zwieg

Guys, I can't stop making cake! Send help. Not really though, because there is actually nothing better than being in a cozy, warm kitchen baking cake while watching a snowstorm happen outside, which is exactly how I spent my Sunday (after braving the unplowed roads at 2am for my actual cake-making bakery job). I also have like three more cakes that I want to tell you about before Christmas, and a tart, and a couple of cookies. Plus, I ran out of sugar and my giant Costo 25 pound bag of flour in the same day. Ok, maybe really do send help. But not before you make this gingerbread cake with spiced cream cheese frosting, because that needs to be your top priority now and forever. 

I spend a lot of time in my life telling people how much I don't like ginger. They don't even have to ask, it pretty much just takes a mention of the word to get me started. And anyone who has ever talked to me can attest that I don't really keep my food opinions (and they are many) to myself. I just really hate ginger. BUT. There is one exception and that is gingerbread. I don't know if it's because it's mixed in with cinnamon and nutmeg and lots of other things I love. Or maybe the fact that it's delivered to me in the form of a cake or cookie. But I love deeply spicy, punchy ginger all up in my gingerbread. Maybe I should try eating other foods I don't like in cake form? Eh, maybe not. Beet cake. Hard pass. 

But this cake has got all of the good gingerness going on that I could ever want. Super spiced, super moist (thanks, buttermilk) and the perfect christmasy canvas for the main event: spiced cream cheese frosting. It's no secret that, for me, cake is pretty much just a vessel to eat frosting. Don't think I haven't considered making a cake entirely out of frosting. And as far as that favorite food group of mine goes (frosting is a food group, ask anyone) this one is up at the top. The cream cheese gives it a little tang, it's sweet but not over the top and you can dump as many spices as you want in there and it will only get better. The frosting recipe makes enough to frost beyond the 'naked' frosting I did on my cake. I just like that look because it looks like a snowy tree trunk to me, and apparently that's something I like to see in a cake. 

Ok, going to go play in the snow now. BYEE. 

Gingerbread Layer Cake

Makes a 3 layer 6" cake

| Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk 

For the spiced cream cheese frosting: 

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

| Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 3 6" cake pans. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition. Beat in the molasses. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in two additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Scrape the bowl well and continue to mix until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer until smooth and light, 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Mix on low until combined. Add in the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the spices and salt, adding more or less to taste, and beat on medium until the frosting is smooth, light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. 

Level the cake layers as necessary using a sharp serrated knife. Fill and stack the layers, flipping the top layer upside down so that the bottom becomes the top of the cake. Frost the outside as desired. Enjoy!