Moist, sweet, hearty, and laced with spices to chase the winter chill away. This Gingerbread cake is the ultimate Holiday treat.
Our family has two December birthdays. I am not one to shy away from a reason to celebrate, but December birthdays do come with their own set of challenges.
When it comes to calendar placement, Mike will tell you, his birth date, December 23rd, is one of the shortest straws a kid can draw. Good luck having a party and getting your buddies to show up two days before Christmas.
Fortunately, our oldest son’s birthday landed during the first half of the month. He doesn’t have to compete with the holiday itself. However, since pre-Christmas Saturdays are generally double-booked, between Santa pictures and family time, by the beginning of November, rounding up a half-dozen preschool friends can be a bit tricky.
A few weeks ago I spied a fallen eyelash on my son’s cheek. I pressed my finger to the lash and held it out for him to make a wish. He sucked in a breath, his baby smooth face creased thoughtfully, then he exhaled and whispered, “I wish we had a gingerbread house for Christmas.” The simple wish threw me for a loop — I had been expecting something more pie in the sky.
Inspired by his request, I asked if he would like to have a gingerbread party for his upcoming birthday. Not only was he on board, he was thrilled. I was too. It meant we had found a way to combine our family celebration with the theme of the season. If only all his wishes were this easy to grant.
I have no idea if we will be able to give our son a childhood free of birthday baggage. If it isn’t birthdays, we will surely be utter failures in some respect. As for his father, I’m going to stick with the gingerbread theme all month. He’ll find all 43 of his candles atop this dark and spicy gingerbread cake.
- ½ cup low fat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground all spice
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your choose pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and brushing a little of the melted butter around the sides.
- Pour vanilla into the buttermilk and set aside.
- Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Stir in grated ginger.
- Use an electric stand or hand mixer and a medium bowl to combine the brown sugar and melted butter. Mix on medium speed, scraping sides as needed until butter and sugar are fully blended and the color lightens.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Mix at low speed and fully combine each egg before moving on.
- Continue on low speed and add the molasses.
- Increase mixer to medium speed. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk. Add the flour in thirds so it is the first and last addition. Mix until the batter is a uniform color.
- Pour completed batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until the center is firm and a probe or toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning the loaf out to cool on a wrack. Allow loaf to cool completely before frosting the top.
A 9.5 inch springform pan yields 16 servings. A 9 x 5 loaf pan yields 10 large slices or bisect the loaf for 20 servings.
Per 1/10 serving: calories 263, fat 9.5 g, carbohydrates 48 g, fiber 2 g, protein 4 g, PP = 8 Per 1/16 serving: calories 165, fat 6 g, carbohydrates 30 g, fiber 1.5 g, protein 2.6 g, PP = 5 Per 1/20 serving: calories 132, fat 4.8 g, carbohydrates 24 g, fiber 1.2 g, protein 2.1 g, PP = 4
- 1 8 oz package of Neufchatel cheese (1/3 reduced fat cream cheese), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Allow Neufchatel to soften by warming to room temperature.
- Use an electric mixer to blend all the ingredients until fluffy.
- Smear modestly over Gingerbread and sprinkle with bits of Crystalized Gingerbread. Store extra in the refrigerator
- Variation: Orange Cream – Reduce vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon and stir in 1 – 2 teaspoons of fresh orange zest.
- For a little more creaminess and a slightly stiffer frosting – Blend 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into frosting