For some reason, as I was writing the title of this post, I thought of the lyrics from Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Odd.
Anyway, gingerbread is one of my favorite holiday treats. I love the cookies, I love it in a spicier form like pfeffernusse and I love gingerbread cake. I don’t make it nearly enough, though, even around the holidays. I have a favorite gingerbread cookie recipe & a favorite Guinness ginger cake recipe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy trying others. So I thought that this year, I’d make a plain gingerbread cake- no Guinness, no chocolate- and top it with some fluffy white snow.
And trees. Gotta have trees.
It’s so retro-looking, isn’t it?
The little elves are from Tiny Things are Cute. And these are indeed cute.
Let me also take a quick detour here & compliment myself; my new dining room wall color looks awesome! Okay, back to the cake.
GINGERBREAD CAKE (from Joy of Baking)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour an 8″ round or square cake pan with 2″ sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
- In bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely and then frost with 7-minute frosting (below).
- This cake will keep for several days at room temperature. Frosting will get hard the longer it’s out, but it’s still edible.
7-MINUTE FROSTING AKA “SNOW”
- 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- Combine 3/4 cup sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230° degrees.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining tablespoon sugar, beating to combine.
- As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230° degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes (hence the name). Use immediately.
WARNING: Do NOT get any egg yolk in the egg whites. But mistakes happen… so if you do, try & scoop it out as much as possible with a broken egg shell, then add a bit of cream of tartar to the whites. It’ll help them get closer to where they need to be in spite of the yolk. And if you’re scared, then yeah sure. Use the marshmallow Fluff, you big wuss.
If it were me, & I was making the 7-minute frosting for this cake on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/the day of a celebration, I’d make the cake in advance & frost it just before serving, or at least the day of. The cake is easy enough to make the day of, though. However this frosting does get hard so you want it to be as fresh as possible. You could also frost this cake with fresh whipped cream, lemon cream cheese frosting or just sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on it.
And watch out for those elves!