I know it’s only three days after Christmas and everyone out there is sick of eating desserts, and yet, here I am, sharing a dark, moist, deeply spiced, cream cheese frosting topped gingerbread cake.
Because today, of all days, is the day I was born. And when your birthday is three days after Christmas, you make yourself a gingerbread cake.
Maybe you’ll make it for your New Year’s Eve celebration?
Maybe you’ll make it for the often forgotten, halfheartedly celebrated late December baby in your life?
Maybe you’ll make it for New Year’s Day and spend the first day of the new year eating cake with the ones you love? If that’s not the best way to set your intentions for 2018, I don’t know what is…
Or perhaps you’ll make it on a random Winter Wednesday, because sometimes life just calls for a slice of cake.
Despite yearning for a ‘real’ birthday for much of my life, I am not immune to the post-holiday slump. Specifically the feelings of not wanting to cook anything complicated or wash a single dish for the rest of the year.
So, although this is technically a birthday cake, I kept this gingerbread cake as simple as possible. Instead of a stacked layer cake, I opted for a single 8-inch square with a thick layer of whipped cream cheese frosting on top. It’s still enough cake to make 9-12 small slices out of, but not so much cake that you have to add it to the growing pile of Christmas leftovers still lingering in the fridge.
Though, if you’re in the market for a layer cake, just double the recipe and bake in two 8-inch rounds!
As usual, this recipe is made with plenty of wholesome ingredients like molasses, maple syrup, spices, whole wheat flour, and coconut oil. Then it gets slathered with maple-sweetened cream cheese frosting because, frankly, it’s just the best. You could definitely skip the frosting and just lightly dust this cake with powdered sugar if you’re looking for more of a snack cake to have with a cup of tea or coffee at brunch, but I’m telling you- cream cheese frosting is the way to go. Particularly when this gingerbread cake turns into a birthday cake!
I think this cake deserves a place on your winter table. It’s:
and perfect for sharing!
Plus, it will make your entire house smell like gingerbread, which is the absolute best way to make everyone feel a little bit more warm and cozy during these cold winter months.
If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram. I love seeing my recipes in your kitchen!
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup milk (whole cow's milk or canned coconut milk works best here)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).
- 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together molasses, maple syrup, milk, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Add all remaining ingredients and stir just to combine.
- 3. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until cooked through (a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean, and the cake should spring back when gently pressed with your fingers).
- 4. While cake cooks and cools, make the frosting. If your cream cheese is not at room temperature, I recommend microwaving it in 5 second increments to soften it before proceeding, otherwise you may end up with lumpy frosting. Put soft cream cheese and heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium-high speed until fluffy, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, and whisk on high until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Transfer the frosting to the fridge to stay cold while the cake cools.
- 5. When cake is completely cool, dollop on the frosting. Cut cake (I usually like to cut it into 9, but if you have a larger crowd this can be cut into 12 smaller pieces) and serve immediately. Leftover cake should be tightly wrapped and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. For the best flavor, let slices come back up to room temperature before eating.
- This recipe can be doubled and baked in 2 9-inch round cake pans for a layer cake. Increase baking time to about 22-25 minutes, and be sure to let cake cool completely before filling and frosting.
- *1/4 cup of maple syrup lends a subtle sweetness to this frosting that's perfect for my tastebuds. If you're a fan of sweeter frosting, I recommend adding organic powdered sugar instead of more maple syrup (start with 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar and add more as needed), as any more than 1/4 cup of maple syrup will yield an extremely runny frosting. If doubling this recipe to make a layer cake, I suggest using all powdered sugar instead of maple, since this frosting isn't quite thick enough to frost a cake with!