Cakes & Baking

Baking with Dorie: A Full of life Cake for Christmas Recipe

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Why It Works

  • Brown sugar and molasses present a intrepid flavor and mellow sweetness.
  • Buttermilk helps with tenderness and upward push.
  • Total wheat flour provides a nutty, graham cracker–devour flavor.
  • Ginger and cinnamon enact the heavy lifting, but heat hints of nutmeg, cloves, sad pepper, and Chinese 5-spice powder add complexity and depth.

Fanciful gingerbread properties and singing gingerbread males are the stuff of fairy tales, but, alas, no tales extol the magic of a easy gingerbread cake. Which is a disgrace, as it figured so prominently in my childhood. It modified into the personal of dessert I’m in a position to also always procure at potlucks and family gatherings as soon as the climate modified into cool.

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Pondering the time and performance (suburban Kentucky within the mid-’80s), I request most of those cakes came from a field, but that doesn’t pause me from recalling them fondly. They were always comfy and effectively off, gingery but now now not aggressively so, with a slick layer of lemon glaze over the pause—a intellectual and sunny counterpoint to the earthy spice cake beneath.

How to Produce a Better Gingerbread Sheet Cake

My made-from-scratch model of gingerbread sheet cake differs in about a key methods. As a change of utilizing a lemon glaze, which turns crusty over time, I steadiness the darkish flavors of gingerbread with a tangy cream cheese frosting that stays silky-comfy, no matter how long or now now not it is passed over.

To originate the cake itself, I insist a mix of all-purpose and entire wheat flour.

Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

Total wheat flour performs off the cinnamon and thoroughly different spices to present the cake a cozy, graham cracker–devour vibe. With a roughly 2:1 ratio of all-purpose to entire wheat flour by weight, or now now not it is a gentle-weight enact, but while you waste up loopy in regards to the hearty flavor of entire wheat, the recipe leaves numerous room to play with the proportions.

Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

In the case of spicing the cake, I don’t defend wait on, calling for a mix of sad pepper, Chinese 5-spice powder, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and (pointless to verbalize) ginger. The without prolong familiar flavors of ginger and cinnamon don’t require grand explanation in a cake devour this, however the others could possibly well.

I insist rather of nutmeg so as to add a woodsy aroma, a pinch of cloves to perform the citrusy notes of molasses, and Chinese 5-spice powder for a herbaceousness that breathes rather of more dimension into the aggregate as a entire.

In operate of creaming collectively the butter and sugar, I whip the eggs and sugar collectively, drizzling melted butter in at the pause. A in reality important say to place in options throughout the whipping portion (especially while you waste up utilizing a hand mixer in operate of a stand mixer) is to let the coloration, quantity, and consistency of the egg-and-sugar mixture be your info—the categorical timeline can vary considerably reckoning on the wattage of your mixer, so insist your eyes in operate of a stopwatch. When effectively aerated, the aggregate must be thick, fluffy, and faded.

Cultured Buttermilk Retains the Batter Thick

Along with the all-purpose and entire wheat flour, I incorporate a correct deal of cultured buttermilk into the batter. It provides a huge dose of moisture without thinning the batter, so it stays tremendous and thick. (That’s the reason, DIY buttermilk substitutions can also now now not work here—undeniable milk will originate the batter runny and thin.)

In my book, gingerbread is a casual weeknight affair, or a closing-minute dessert for a potluck, so I bake it off in a 9- by 13-trudge anodized aluminum cake pan. Even as you occur to’d snatch a layer cake, the recipe can also also be doubled and baked as three eight-trudge or two 9-trudge rounds.

As with brownies, I wait on this sheet cake in easy squares, with swirls of cream cheese frosting on top (though tangy whipped Greek yogurt or tart freeze-dried-cranberry whipped cream can also play a identical operate).

Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

Whether or now now not or now now not it is served as a snack on a cool afternoon or as the finale to a vacation meal, gingerbread cake is correct in regards to the accurate seasonal dessert—as easy to put collectively as it is to luxuriate in.

November 2017

  • 8 oz gentle brown sugar (about 1 cup, packed; 225g)

  • 3 oz unsulfured molasses, now now not blackstrap (about 1/4 cup; 85g)

  • 1 tablespoon flooring ginger

  • 2 teaspoons flooring cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, insist about half as grand by quantity or the identical weight

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

  • 1/4 teaspoon flooring cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon sad pepper

  • 3 huge eggs, straight from the fridge (about 5 1/4 oz; 150g)

  • 8 oz unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), melted and cooled to about 100°F (38°C)

  • 5 1/2 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups, spooned; 155g)

  • 2 1/2 oz entire wheat flour, now now not stone-flooring (about 1/2 cup, spooned; 70g); spy notes

  • 8 oz cultured lowfat buttermilk or kefir (about 1 cup; 225g)

To Serve:

  1. Adjust oven rack to heart operate and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9- by 13-trudge anodized aluminum cake pan with parchment, then grease lightly with pan spray.

  2. Within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a trip attachment, combine brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, 5-spice powder, sad pepper, and eggs. Mix on low till moistened, then lengthen to excessive and whip till foamy and thick, about 8 minutes.

    Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

  3. Lower urge to low and drizzle in melted butter, then add all-purpose and entire wheat flours, adopted by buttermilk. As soon as mixed, shut off mixer and fold batter just a few times from the bottom up with a flexible spatula, then accumulate 22 situation into prepared pan.

    Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

  4. Bake till cake is puffed and firm (though crust will defend a gentle-weight affect when pressed with a fingertip), about 32 minutes. Cool in pan till firm, then nick into squares with a knife. If desired, top with swirls of cream cheese frosting or whipped Greek yogurt.

    Extreme Eats / Vicky Wasik

Particular Equipment

Stand mixer, versatile spatula, 9- by 13-trudge anodized aluminum cake pan


Even as you occur to mustn’t possess entire wheat flour readily accessible, feel free to make insist of an equal quantity of all-purpose flour as a replacement; the cake could possibly now now not be somewhat as flavorful and comfy, but it’d be shut ample in a pinch.

Learn More

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