Today is another edition of our Improv Cooking Challenge group and this month’s theme is Sugar and Spice. What could be better than a Sweet Spicy Gingerbread Cake! This may seem more like the holidays type of treat, but I can eat gingerbread all year long. Any excuse is enough to pull out this recipe and whip up a cake!
The aroma of gingerbread baking is something that touches the center of my soul. It evokes memories of baking gingerbread cookies with Mimi and my mom, of battling to keep the walls of a gingerbread house from falling down, of decorating cookies and passing them out to my family. That spicy scent instantly takes me back to the days when I believed in Santa with all my heart.
If you are looking for the perfect dessert to serve for parties, this is it. Everyone will love the deeply spicy flavors that blend into one incredible bite after another. The ingredient list is long but it is worth adding any of the spices you don’t already have because they can be used in so many recipes, both sweet and savory! And even if it looks complicated, this cake comes together very quickly and easily.
For this Chocolate Monday the chocolate is very subtle – you won’t even be able to specifically taste it, but just like the black pepper in the recipe, the cocoa adds depth and dimension. Your taste buds will be happy! If you want even more chocolate, you can make a simple white chocolate glaze by melting some white chocolate and butter together and then beating them with powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.
I like the plain cake with just a little powdered sugar on it. It is so satisfying all on its own that I don’t think it needs anything else. But if you have children, they may want a sweeter dessert. The white chocolate glaze or a simple powdered sugar glaze will do the trick for those little sweet lovers!
Enjoy this Sweet Spicy Gingerbread Cake with a cup of coffee or while sipping tea and relax for a few minutes. Happy Chocolate Monday!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Pull out all the ingredients and line them up on the counter on one side of your mixer. As you add each one to the bowl, move the spice bottle to another area of the kitchen, showing immediately what you have used and what still needs to be added. This helps keep you organized and if there is a lot of activity going on in the kitchen like little ones needing your attention, you won’t forget something or add it twice!
Use a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour in the recipe. The almond or hazelnut meal from Bob’s Red Mill is gluten-free. Make sure all of your spices are pure – usually plain spices are safe, it’s the blends that can have gluten ingredients in them.
- 1 cup butter (226g; 2 sticks), cut into small cubes
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 cup molasses, preferably unsulphured, not Blackstrap
- 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Cane Syrup or dark corn syrup
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 whole large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
- 1 cup hazelnut or almond meal/flour
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2-1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mace
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Powdered sugar, for garnishing
- Bake the Gingerbread Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F with the top rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a non-stick bundt pan, making sure to get into all the nooks and indents. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the butter, ginger, molasses, Golden Syrup and brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula until the sugar is melted and all the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, extra yolk and sour cream. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, combine the flours, cocoa, salt, baking soda and spices. Blend on low for 30 seconds to evenly combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter/sugar mixture and mix until there are no streaks. Pour in the egg/sour cream mixture. Beat until smooth; add the vanilla and beat again. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as well as the beater. Beat for another 30 seconds. The batter will be fairly thin.
- Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Smooth it into an even layer all the way around the center of the pan. Place pan into center of preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and very carefully spin the pan so the back is facing the front of the oven. Continue baking until the top springs back when touched lightly with your finger and the sides pull away from the pan, about 20 to 25 more minutes.
- Set pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack and remove pan. Let cake cool until completely cool before slicing.
- When you are ready to serve put some powdered sugar in a wire sieve and tap it over the top to create a snow-like sprinkling of sugar.
- Make Ahead: Wrapped tightly in plastic, this gingerbread will last about 4 days either at room temperature or refrigerated – unless you eat it all first! If you refrigerate it, it will be denser and slightly chewy. I think it improves with time so bake it a day ahead of when you intend to serve it. The cake is best served at room temperature so remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- Yield: 1 cake, 8 to 12 servings
Here are more recipes from The Improv Cooking Challenge just for you!
If you’re interested in participating in the Improv Cooking Challenge, read more about it on Nichole’s website or check out our Facebook group. The concept is simple – two ingredients are chosen for each month and fellow bloggers are challenged to make a recipe using them. We post on the second Thursday of every month and ingredients are paired together at the beginning of the year to give bloggers tons of time to try out recipes and decide what they will make. Come join in the fun!
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