This Gingerbread Layer Cake is three layers of moist, perfectly spiced gingerbread, filled with a slightly tart fresh cranberry compote, and slathered in a light, fluffy vanilla frosting. Everything about this Gingerbread Layer Cake is perfect for the holiday season.
How was your Thanksgiving? Well, I had an awesome one. It was low-key, and full of delicious foods and my favorite people in the whole wide world. I seriously so very blessed. Now that thanksgiving is officially behind us, it’s time to roll out all of the festive winter holiday treats. And I’m starting with this show stopping Gingerbread Layer Cake.
The cake is made with molasses, and spiced with all the traditional gingerbread flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course ginger. With molasses and sugar in the cake batter, this Gingerbread Layer Cake is sweet, but the spices in the cake give the cake a warmth that balances the sweetness very nicely. Making for a cake that’s sweet, but not too sweet.
The fresh cranberry filling brings a brightness and tartness to the hearty spices in the cake. Plus, it’s pretty gorgeous too 🙂
For the frosting, I kept it simple. I made a vanilla frosting, and I applied a pretty thin layer to the cake. Just enough to cover the sides and top of the cake with a delicate layer.
For the decorations, I wanted to stick to the winter theme. So I kept the trees white by piping simple white chocolate trees out on to a parchment lined sheet tray. Then I gave the trees a little festive touch with a sprinkle of silver sanding sugar. And just for that touch of color, I sugared some fresh cranberries to finish off the cake.
My husband and friends loved the cake. And my husband, who is seriously hilarious in the very best way, made the most unique comment about the cake. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone say this about a cake, and I probably will never hear this again, but according to him, this cake created a little cognitive dissonance for him. You know – he thought one thing in his mind and got another thing in reality. Even though the gingerbread cake gives off a pleasantly spicy aroma as you slice into it, he told me that the dark, chocolaty cake layers triggered his taste buds to expect chocolate cake rather than gingerbread. So, even though he was told it’s gingerbread, and he smelled the gingerbread, since the cake was almost a chocolaty brown, he expected it to taste like chocolate! Ha! Well, even with the cognitive dissonance, he still polished of two huge pieces 😉
I hope you give this Gingerbread Layer Cake a spot on your holiday menu. It’s a show stopper that is pretty simple to put together.
- For the Gingerbread Cake Layers:
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tbs baking soda
- 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1 tbs ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/3 cups unsulfured molasses
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- For the Cranberry Filling:
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- For the Vanilla Frosting:
- 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cream
- pinch of salt
- For the Decorations:
- 1/4 cup sugared cranberries
- 1/4 cup melted white chocolate
- Silver sanding sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the bottoms of 3, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides and bottom of each pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy.
- Add the molasses and mix until combined.
- Add the vanilla and mix until just combined.
- Add the eggs and mix until just combined.
- Add the flour mixture and the water mixture alternating between the two. Add flour mixture in thirds and the water mixture in 2 batches. Mix until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let cakes cool in the pans on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.
- Then turn the cakes out of the pans and allow them to cool completely on the cooling rack.
- Bring the water, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Occasionally stir the mixture so that the sugar dissolves in the water.
- Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling, add the cranberries.
- Cook the cranberries over medium heat until most of the berries have popped, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cranberries to a container and let them cool to room temperature before using.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and mix on low until combined. Then mix on medium until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and salt, and mix until combined.
- Add the cream, and mix until fluffy.
- Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Melt the white chocolate.
- Place the white chocolate in a zip top bag, and snip of the corner to make a piping bag.
- Pipe out evergreen trees.
- Sprinkle sanding sugar over the wet chocolate.
- Allow to dry for about 1/2 an hour at room temperature.
- Place a heaping 1/4 cup frosting in a piping bag.
- Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board. Pipe a boarder of vanilla frosting along the edge of the cake layer. Spread 1/2 of the cranberry filling inside the vanilla frosting boarder.
- Layer on the next cake. Repeat the same process of piping and filling.
- Place the last layer on the cake. Put the cake in the refrigerator to cool for about 15 min.
- Once chilled, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake. Place the cake back in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 to 20 min.
- Once the cake is chilled, place the final layer of frosting on the cake. I used a thin layer, but you may put on as much as you would like.
- To add the chocolate trees, I use a paring knife to make a shallow slit where I inserted the trees.
- Then I placed the cranberries on the cake.
This post is linked to these awesome parties.