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December 28, 2017

Gingerbread cake perfect dessert this time of year

Photo/Ellen Fox Emerson
Perhaps because of tradition, I think of gingerbread only during the winter months. For years, I made gingerbread men as Christmas gifts for friends around Warrenton.

This gingerbread cake takes it a bit beyond that simplicity. But, this recipe justifies the effort, resulting in a very moist cake. And the familiar, welcoming aroma simply speaks of the season.


The Cake

2-½ cups gluten-free flour*
1-¼ teaspoons xanthan gum
1-½ cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup sweet cream butter, unsalted, cubed
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
zest of one orange


The Icing

12 ounces cream cheese
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare two cake pans.

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter and mix until it resembles sand.

On medium low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly blend in the molasses, milk and vanilla occasionally scraping the bottom of the bowl. Increase the speed to high and mix for three minutes.

Fold in the ginger and orange zest. Then divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, blend the cream cheese and cinnamon. Slowly add the cream and sugar and once mixed increase the speed to medium. The mixture will begin to thicken. At this point, increase the speed to high until soft peaks form.

The cake can be iced as two layers but for a more dramatic effect, halve each cake layer and use more icing between the layers and leave the sides more naked.


* Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1-¼ cups sorghum flour
1-¼ cups white rice flour
1 cup potato starch (not flour)
1 cup sweet rice flour

> Click here for information about Ellen’s cookbook, No Sacrifices — Entertaining Gluten-Free
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