Have you ever seen anything as sweet as this Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing? With powerful notes of spicy ginger, molasses, warm cinnamon, and cloves, this easy, old-fashioned, moist cake will fill you with nostalgia and memories of past Christmases.
12 Days of Easy Christmas Recipes:
On the seventh day of Christmas, instead of “seven-swans-a-swimming,” I’m bringing you this simple and delicious recipe for Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing for my special 12 Days of Easy Christmas Recipes!
Just the smell of gingerbread cake baking is enough to send you into sensory overload. And, when you pair the gingerbread with dreamy, light as a cloud cream cheese icing, well it is the perfect Christmas dessert!
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know I’m not much of a baker or a sweet eater for that matter. Many desserts are too sweet for me, but I have been craving some not quite so sweet gingerbread since the holidays began.
What are “naked” cakes?
I’ve also been intrigued by the new “naked” cake, decorating style, mainly because I thought it might be easier than icing a conventional cake. If you haven’t seen these cakes, the cake is iced as usual and then some of the icing is scraped off the sides. We attended my niece’s wedding a few weeks ago, and she had a “naked” cake with fresh flowers, and it was lovely.
The other relatively new twist for cakes, which I love, is baking them in smaller 6-inch pans, which results in a cake which is the perfect size for a smaller family.
I purchased some small gingerbread cookies and the pans at the store the other day and voila, this Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing came to be. And, I must say, it’s every bit as delicious as I had envisioned! I do hope you will try it and see if you agree.
If you like this Christmas dessert, you might also like these popular holiday dessert recipes on my blog:
Southern Pecan Praline Cheesecake, and one of my all-time favorites,
How to make a Gingerbread Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans, set aside.
Add the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a medium-size bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Add the hot water and molasses to a small bowl and whisk until they are combined. Set aside.
Add the butter to a large bowl and using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until it is light and creamy. This should take about a minute.
Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Add the egg and vanilla, beat at medium speed until well combined.
Turn the mixer on low speed and add the dry ingredients, about 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, alternating with adding about 1/2 of the molasses mixture. Mix each addition, just until it is combined. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Avoid overmixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into each cake pan.
Place the pans on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Bake approximately 25 minutes. To test to see if the cake is done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, it is done. (Unfortunately, all ovens cook differently. My cakes were done in 25 minutes. Start checking your cakes at 20 minutes and, if they aren’t done, you might have to add 5-7 minutes to the baking time.
Set the cake pans on a wire rack to cool. Do not attempt to frost the cakes until they are completely cool.
How to make Cream Cheese Icing:
Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the mixture is creamy with no lumps.
Add the confectioners’ sugar, a cup at a time and continue to mix until everything is well combined. Add the vanilla and mix on high for about a minute to make the icing light and creamy.
How to Ice a Naked Cake:
If you want a flat cake top, use a serrated bread knife to evenly slice off the dome of the cake, to make it perfectly flat.
Place about a tablespoon of icing on a plate, to keep the cake from slipping. Then place the cake top down so you will have a nice flat surface for the first layer. Brush off any crumbs and use an ice-cream scoop to add about four scoops of icing to the top of the cake.
Smooth the icing with an off-set spatula and allow the icing to extend over the sides about 1/2 of an inch.
Repeat with the second layer of cake, and again add about four scoops of icing to the top. Smooth out the icing using the spatula and ice the sides of the cake.
To give the cake the “naked” look, using a cake scraper or a long spatula held perpendicular to the cake, evenly scrape the icing away from the sides of the cake and even out the top.
This icing-method is very forgiving. If you don’t like the way the icing looks, simply reapply the icing and either try again or ice it as you normally do.
Optional, garnish with gingerbread cookies or Christmas candies or both! (I found the gingerbread cookies at Fresh Market.)
- This gingerbread cake is also delicious without the icing.
- If you want detailed instructions on icing your cake, check out this YouTube tutorial by Southern Living that will show you step-by-step how to ice a naked cake.
- Here is another YouTube tutorial by Preppy Kitchen on how to make a flat cake without a dome that you might find interesting. Who knew there are such things as “cake strips?”
- Cream cheese icing does need to be refrigerated, so you will need to store your cake in the refrigerator.
- This recipe makes enough batter for two 6-inch cake pans or one 11×7 cake pan.
- One of the secrets to great cakes is using room temperature ingredients. For refrigerated eggs, you can bring down the temperature quickly by putting them in warm water for a few minutes. For butter and cream cheese, simply unwrap and pop them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
- If you like to make beautiful cakes, you might want to consider getting a cake turntable, offset spatula, and a cake scraper, or mention it to Santa. These handy tools will make it much easier to ice your cakes.
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