Gingerbread Cake with Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cake with Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting

If there's one flavour that make me think of the holidays, it's ginger. The spicy, yet sort of nutty and robust flavour just seems to scream family potlucks and staying in on a freezing cold night with hot chocolate and a handful (or plateful, no judging) of ginger snaps to yourself. I saw the photo for this recipe from Food52 on Pinterest, I believe, and wanted to have my own because it looked so beautiful. Aaand it's not a recipe for the weak, it ends with some sore forearms from all the vigorous whisking, and I was not quite prepared for the time and mental capacity investment in a cake, but it is worth the work. The original recipe does include egg, so I substituted those for flax eggs instead. For this recipe, you'll need:

  • 12 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fancy molasses
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease or butter a 10 inch round spring-form pan, two standard loaf pans or two 9 inch round cake pans.

2. Put the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

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3. Pour in the molasses, add the sugars and whisk continuously.

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3. Once the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool (the molasses will separate from the butter a little bit, so don't panic).

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4. Using a dry whisk, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

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5. Add the vanilla, flax eggs and milk into the saucepan with the molasses/melted butter/sugar mixture and, yes, whisk to combine. This was my favourite part, it was like pouring cream into a giant pan of coffee and watching it spread out.

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6. Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk to combine, making sure there are no lumps.

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7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Depending on the pans you're using the cook time will be different, so start checking the cakes after 40 minutes.

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While the cake is baking, it's time for the cooked cream cheese frosting. For this recipe, you'll need:

  • 16 oz (950 ml) cream cheese (the original recipe calls for full-fat but I bought low-fat; it's almost a litre of cheese products, I just couldn't buy the full-fat) left at room temperature for at least an hour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. Using a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer, whip the cream cheese on high-speed for several minutes, until it's completely smooth.

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2. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan.

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3. Turn the heat to medium and add the milk, whisking constantly. Whisk vigorously (I used a fork for this part), smoothing out the lumps to create a smooth paste. Continue to whisk as the mixture comes to a simmer; the mixture will thicken quickly and dramatically when it comes to a boil.

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4. Simmer the mixture for a full minute, then turn off the heat. Scrape the flour and milk paste into the mixer bowl and whip for 10 minutes, until lightened and lukewarm (or cooler). Slowly add the cream cheese, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and continue to whip until the mixture is smooth and silky.

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Now, it's time to assemble!

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My favourite part about this cake is how dense it is. The thickness of it works well with the deep and complex flavour of the spices and the silky, creamy-ness of the frosting. Having this with a cup of tea on a cold winter Sunday was basically perfection.

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