Gingerbread Cake with Cranberry Cream

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What better time for a gingerbread cake? 

I'd like to introduce the first one I've ever made. Actually this is the second attempt. The first cake I made was delicious but strange, and didn't quite work in the layering department. I don't think I realized when I started making this that the denseness of this type of cake could be tricky to work with. After a bit of tweaking and some pacing around the kitchen, the second time was the charm for this guy. I think this cake really wants to be part of a Christmas lunch... or holiday gathering of some sort, and I'm now toying with the idea of making it once more when we go home this week for a much needed break and family time. The sweet

With our trip only a few days away it got me thinking a lot about why this time of year is so special. Especially in regards to food... Christmas Eve is a big deal at our house and my mother's Maltese and Sicilian traditions have carried on throughout our lives. It's inspired me to do a post on the Pastizzi we make for Christmas (a savory Maltese pastry that is unbelievably indulgent and delicious). Fingers crossed that Robert and I can make that happen and get it posted right around Christmas. I'm getting anxious and excited to share such a deeply rooted family recipe, but more about pastizzi later. 

For now, perhaps I've started a new tradition with this gingerbread cake. I think this is one I would look forward to making again next December.

 

Gingerbread Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 ½  teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking sodarr
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
2 large eggs 

Suggested Tools
2 circular cake pans, 6”-9”
Insulated cake strips, optional (prevent the layers from forming a large dome)
*Note, for a standard cake use an 11x17", or 9" square baking pan and bake for 40 minutes 

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl combine flour, gingers, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, brown sugar, molasses, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir to incorporate until smooth. Depending on how many layers you’re making, divide the batter evenly. About 1 ½ cups of cake batter per pan works well for three layers. If you have insulated cake strips this is the time to use them. Bake the cake for about 20 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in dish for about 15 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to continue cooling. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. 

Cranberry Topping
12 oz. fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Zest from one lemon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook down the cranberries, sugar and lemon zest until the mixture cooks down and the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool completely.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients using a stand mixer, beat at a low speed until everything is incorporated. Continue beating at a higher speed until it has a whipped texture, about 3 minutes.

To assemble cake: Begin by topping the gingerbread cake layers with cream cheese frosting. Lay the first cake down on the plate, and top with cranberry compote. Place the next layer over the cranberries, and top with more cranberries. Repeat until the cake is finished.