An original way to eat gingerbread for the holidays with this Christmas gingerbread cake recipe! A soft and moist cake flavored with spices, filled with an orange jam, a whipped mascarpone cream frosting, and a pretty forest of chocolate trees.
Why you'll love this cake
The gingerbread cake is a very original and delicious recipe to change from the traditional recipe of the bûche de noel (yule log) that we serve at Christmas dinner.
If you love the delicious gingerbread flavor that we like to make during this festive season like in Christmas gingerbread cookies, then you'll love this perfectly spiced gingerbread cake with its fruity orange filling and a light and fresh whipped cream made with mascarpone cheese.
This cake is soft and moist and is wonderfully flavored with the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove with blackstrap molasses to enhance the gingerbread flavor.
This layer cake recipe is also filled with a delicious orange jam filling that adds a fruity note that goes perfectly with the taste of gingerbread spices.
Decorated with a mini gingerbread house and easy chocolate trees which gives a rustic style to this dessert like a small country house under the snow.
This recipe is very quick and easy to make at home and you'll have a spicy, fruity-flavored dessert that's perfect to share with your family for the holidays.
Gingerbread Christmas cake composition
Here are the ingredients and any substitutions to make this delicious gingerbread cake, scroll down to see the quantities in the recipe card.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter that should be well softened, take it out in advance or warm it slightly in the microwave.
- Sugar: A mixture of white and brown sugar such as dark brown sugar or cane sugar.
- Eggs: Use room temperature eggs, if you haven't had time to get them out, run them under hot water for a few moments.
- Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is essential for a flavorful gingerbread cake, you can replace it with a mixture of maple syrup and honey or golden syrup.
- Flour: White wheat all purpose flour that you can replace with a gluten free flour mix.
- Yeast: baking powder, which you can replace with 1 tsp. baking soda.
- Spices: a mixture of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves or use a gingerbread mix or my homemade pumpkin pie spice.
- Milk: preferably buttermilk, which can be replaced by half skimmed milk.
- Vanilla and salt: Essential to bring out all the flavors.
Filling and frosting
As a frosting, I use a mascarpone whipped cream made up of mascarpone cheese and heavy cream and powdered sugar, the frosting is light, just apply to make a naked cake.
You can replace the fresh whipped cream with Swiss meringue buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
I also added an orange and tangerine jam that goes perfectly with the gingerbread taste, which you can substitute with another filling, such as an lemon curd, caramel sauce, pear jam or biscoff spread.
You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
How to make Gingerbread Cake
1 - Cake batter
Cream butter and sugar
- Place butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Mix with on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes until creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix again for 1 minute to incorporate.
Add molasses and dry ingredients
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder or baking soda and spices.
- Add the molasses (or honey-maple syrup mixture) and beat again to incorporate.
- Finish by alternately adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk.
- Mix with an electric mixer or a spatula until the mixture is smooth.
Tip: It is best to sift all the dry ingredients through a fine sieve to get a homogeneous mixture.
- Preheat oven to 347°F / 175°C and prepare 3 round cake pans of 6 inch / 15 cm diameter by greasing them with a baking spray first and then lining the bottom with parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes until they are puffed and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool slightly before carefully removing them from the pan and placing them upside down on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to assemble.
Tip: Check for baking by sticking a toothpick into the center of the cake and it should come out clean or with crumbs.
Tip: You can also bake the cake in 2 pans and cut it into several layers.
2 - Chocolate trees
To have solid and shiny chocolate trees, the ideal is to temper the chocolate, a method that consists in melting the chocolate while following a temperature curve. You will then have a pretty forest of trees on your cake.
- Finely chop the dark chocolate with a knife and place it in a container.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and check the temperature which should be between 50-55°C.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit, check the temperature with a cooking thermometer it should be between 28°-29 C.
- Reheat the chocolate to a temperature of 31°C-32°C
- Immediately put the chocolate in a pastry bag and draw Christmas trees on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Allow the trees to cool completely before peeling them off.
Tip: Preferably use quality couverture baking chocolate in pistols or galets.
3 - Assembly and decoration
- If necessary, cut out the bumps on cooled cake with a cake leveler or a serrated knife.
- Place a cake board on your turntable and place the first layer of cake.
- Using an angled spatula, apply a layer of mascarpone frosting and top with orange jam in the center, then top with a dollop of whipped cream frosting.
- Place second layer of cake and repeat last step until last layer of cake is reached.
- Immediately cover with frosting all over the cake and smooth to make a naked cake effect.
- Add a little more frosting on top and decorate with the Christmas trees, and gingerbread house and sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar.
- Serve the gingerbread cake or store it in the refrigerator.
You may also like: How to frost a cake for a perfect smoothing
This gingerbread layer cake can only be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, placed in an airtight container box or cut into slices on a plate under plastic wrap.
You can store the Spicy Cake in the freezer for up to 3 months in a storage box or storage bag.
How to prepare this cake in advance?
You can make the cake 1 to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge, make the Christmas trees and gingerbread house several days in advance and keep them at room temperature and the frosting should be made at the last moment only.
More Christmas recipes
- Chocolate truffles
- Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing
- Hot chocolate bomb
- Linzer cookies
- Snickerdoodle cookies
- Chocolate brownies crinkles cookies
- Halzenut yule log recipe
- Chocolate yule log buche de noel
- Mini gingerbread house recipe
More spicy and gingerbread recipe
- Gingerbread house cake
- Carrot cake with cream cheese
- Cinnamon pie
- Carrot bread recipe
- Pumpkin bread with streusel
- Pumpkin pie
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