What’s a more Christmas childhood memory than making gingerbread houses? (Or at least a memory of knowing one could be made, in my case) I didn’t grow up enjoying ginger, but gingerbread always intrigued me. How can a normally savory flavor be made into a dessert?
Well, gingerbread is a special flavor that isn’t just ginger. It’s honestly a slight variation of the common pumpkin pie spice mix. The difference is that the strongest flavor is ginger instead of cinnamon, but the whole cast is still there – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. You can find all of these in any standard grocery store. Trader Joe’s unfortunately doesn’t sell them all separately, but you can use their pumpkin spice blend as a substitute and supplement with additional ginger powder!
As nights turn colder, I find myself wanting all the rich flavors to keep me warm and happy. We’ll burn off those winter calories later! The frosting I’m using here is reminiscent of a perfectly toasted marshmallow with a hint of cinnamon to kick in the warmth. If you want, you can even blow torch the top layer, otherwise, a dusting of cocoa powder completes the wintry combo!
So dig in, this cake is super easy to make! The layers are formed by cutting a sheet cake into 4 pieces. And you don’t even need to wait for everything to set to room temperature before frosting! Little perks of using a fluffy egg white frosting. Happy baking!
Gingerbread S'mores Cake
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses (or honey or brown rice syrup)
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 large egg
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream tartar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- cocoa powder (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 13"x18" standard sheet pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, molasses, water, butter, baking soda, and salt. Let it cool for 10 min.
- Meanwhile, whisk the rest of the dry ingredients together (flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice).
- Whisk the egg into the wet ingredients.
- Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared sheet pan and bake for 15-20 min, or until the cake springs back to touch.
- Cool for about 5 min before removing from the pan and cutting into 4 pieces, half lengthwise and half widthwise.
- To make the frosting, in a bowl that fits over a pan as a double boiler, whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar until combined. Using an electric whisk, continue beating the mixture over medium heat until the frosting thickens to medium peaks.
- Remove from heat. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Continue whisking till medium-stiff peaks form. Cool for 10 min.
- To assemble, start with one layer of cake. Spread 1/4 of the frosting on top and repeat until all layers are completed. Dust with cocoa powder or blow torch the top. Cool to room temperature before slicing for even pieces. Enjoy!
- For molasses, you can mix and interchange with honey and brown rice syrup as long as you come up with 2/3 cup of it!
- A double boiler is a bowl or pot on top of another pot with simmering water. It's a way to evenly heat ingredients. Make sure the top bowl/pot doesn't touch the water below.
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