Gingerbread has become a Christmas favorite of mine, but only in recent years. It was not a holiday standard learned from my mother for traditional Christmas baking. We grew up on thumbprints, cut-out cookies, and later peanut butter chocolate kisses as we gravitated to more modern cookie recipes.
I came upon this cake recipe in Bon Appetit magazine last year. It uses fresh grated ginger in the cake batter, as well as ground dry ginger. The cake is very moist and is actually better the next day. This year I decided to make a cream cheese frosting for it, although it is very good as a cake plain. I added juice from a clementine to the frosting and topped with clementine zest. Adding the clementine frosting turned a plain sweet treat into an upscale comfort cake.
Gingerbread Cake with Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking oil spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper.
Whisk the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, add the butter, pour the boiling water over the butter, stir to melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, molasses, lightly beaten egg and the fresh ginger. Add the dry ingredients, stir to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or the cake tester comes out clean when tested in the center of the cake.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of powder sugar
1 tablespoon of juice from clementine
Cream together the softened cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add the salt and vanilla. Mix in the powder sugar. Add just enough clementine juice to loosen the frosting until you have a smooth consistency, about 1 tablespoon. Stir in 1 teaspoon of clementine zest.
Frost the cake or cupcakes. Sprinkle with additional clementine zest.