Cake,  Layer Cake

Gingerbread Cake

Sometimes I have a recipe idea pop up in my head whole, and I know exactly what it will look and taste like from the start. Other times, it’s more of a feeling that turns into a recipe as I go along. This Gingerbread Cake was the latter, a half-idea that I pieced together as I went. I’m so happy with the (delicious) result!

Gingerbread Cake

This Gingerbread Cake is sweet, spiced gingerbread cake with a not-too-sweet cinnamon mascarpone frosting. <3 I knew that I wanted to incorporate gingerbread cookies somehow. The idea started with just placing some gingerbread cookies on top, but then found myself measuring the dough from my [Soft Gingerbread Cookies] recipe into tiles for the cake. I love, love how it turned out!

I haven’t splurged on an upgraded recipe maker (that allows for links) for my blog *shrugs,* so you’ll have to first go to my [Soft Gingerbread Cookies] recipe (also linked in the recipe notes). The dough should rest in the refrigerator overnight for the flavors of all those spices to marry, so make the dough the day before! Once the dough is made and chilled, you can follow the rolling/baking instructions in this recipe. 🙂

Gingerbread Cake

I wanted some way to make the gingerbread tiles ornate (it IS for the holidays, after all). Then there it was: the embossed rolling pin I had purchased this past summer and never used. I am in love with this pin! What an easy way to make dough extra special! Embossed pins can be pricey, but the one that I purchased is a very cost-effective pin [here]. Just note that this pin is seasonal, as it has snowflakes on it. I didn’t realize that when I bought it, but I guess it worked out!

Gingerbread Cake

A pizza cutter is hands-down the best tool for cutting out the gingerbread tiles! If you’re in need of one, you can find one [here]. I baked the cookies on silpats because they’re reusable, nothing sticks to them, and the bottoms of the gingerbread browns more slowly. If you’d like to get some silpats for yourself, you can find them [here].

Gingerbread Cake

The cake recipe is for a 6″ triple-layer cake. I prefer cake pans that are lighter in color, because I find that the cakes bake up moister (sorry not sorry). You can find 6″ cake pans [here]. It’s a small cake in diameter, but this baby is tall! I sliced it on the outsides of each tiles and got 13 *large* slices!

To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. It’s hard to eyeball the amount when you’re using three pans, especially if you don’t have three and you’re baking the cake layers individually. Weighing the batter ensures even baking and cake layers that are uniform in size.

Gingerbread Cake

So, your gingerbread tiles and cake are made–onto the frosting! I really love the addition of mascarpone cheese to this frosting. The flavor is amazing, and the frosting (with lots of cinnamon!) isn’t overly sweet. It’s an excellent complement to the cake. You know me, I have to put vanilla bean paste in everything, so of course it’s in the frosting! It’s is my go-to for an extra punch of flavor. You can find it online [here]. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.

Gingerbread Cake

Assembling the cake is the absolute best part–other than eating it, of course! If you follow the measurements in the recipe for the gingerbread tiles, 13 of them fit perfectly around the cake. I just love that it turned out like what I had pictured in my head–and the fact that it tastes fantastic didn’t hurt one bit! 😀

Other posts you may like:

Gingerbread Madeleines

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie

Christmas Desserts

Christmas Cookies

Gingerbread Cake

Amee
Sweet, spiced gingerbread cake with a just-sweet-enough cinnamon mascarpone frosting, covered with soft gingerbread cookie tiles!
Cake recipe adapted from Liv for Cake, frosting adapted from Martha Stewart, and gingerbread cookies adapted from Tartine.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cakes
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Gingerbread Cookies:

  • ½ recipe Soft Gingerbread Cookies (See recipe notes for link. Make these the day before!)

Gingerbread Cake:

  • cups flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp ground ginger
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1½ sticks)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup unsulphured molasses (NOT blackstrap)
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature (see note)

Cinnamon-Mascarpone Frosting:

  • cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese (take out of the fridge ~30 minutes before you need it)

Instructions
 

For Cookies:

  • Make half batch of my Soft Gingerbread Cookies (see recipe notes for link). The dough should rest in the refrigerator overnight for all those spicy flavors to marry, so make the dough the day before!
  • Roll dough to about ¼" thickness into a long rectangle at least 6" wide. I then used an embossed rolling pin (see note) to carefully press a pattern into the dough.
  • Trim the dough into long rectangles about 1.5"x6" in size. A pizza cutter (see note) is an excellent tool for this job. You may gather the scraps and re-roll as necessary. You will need about 13 gingerbread tiles to cover the outside of the cake. It never hurts to make a few extra just in case!
  • Place the gingerbread tiles about an inch apart on cookie sheets lined with silpats (see note) or parchment paper. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer while the oven preheats to 350° F.
  • Bake the gingerbread tiles for 7-8 minutes, or until slightly golden. While warm, clean up the edges of any tiles that have baked up larger than 1.5"x6" or aren't straight. Allow the tiles to cool completely on the pan.

For Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F (if not already preheated from the gingerbread cookies). Grease three 6" cake pans (see note) and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt) and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and brown sugar, then beat until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary throughout mixing.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Add the molasses and vanilla and mix to combine.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix until not quite combined. Add half the buttermilk (see note) and mix to incorporate. Repeat alternating additions of the remaining flour and buttermilk, mixing just until combined.
  • Divide the batter equally between the three prepared cake pans (see note). If you don't have three, you can hold the dough at room temperature while you bake the cake in batches. Be sure to wash, dry, and re-grease the pans between uses. A kitchen scale (see note) is helpful in ensuring you have divided the batter equally, which will ensure even baking and uniform cake layers.
  • Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans for at least 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until pale and fluffy.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar and add the vanilla bean paste (see note) and cinnamon. Beat to combine.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese and beat thoroughly to combine.

To Assemble:

  • Frost the cake with the frosting. I found it helpful to chill the cake with a crumbcoat before completing it. This is a tall cake, and the chilled cake holds up much better this way. Once chilled, complete frosting the cake. Reserve some of the frosting to pipe on top, if desired.
  • Apply the gingerbread tiles to the outside of the cake. I finished the cake with a sprinkle of sparkling sugar.
    Enjoy!

Notes

Note on gingerbread cookies: I used my [Soft Gingerbread Cookies] recipe for the gingerbread tiles. The dough should rest in the refrigerator overnight for all those spicy flavors to marry, so make the dough the day before! Once the dough is made and chilled, you can follow the rolling/baking instructions in this recipe. 🙂
Note on buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a quick substitution with milk (I find 2% milkfat or greater works best) and vinegar or lemon juice. For this recipe, put 3/4 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk to come up to the 3/4 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes, then it's ready for use!
Note on embossed rolling pin: I am in love with this pin! What an easy way to make dough extra special! Embossed pins can be pricey, but I found a very cost-effective pin [here]. Just note that this pin is seasonal, as it has snowflakes on it.
Note on pizza cutter: A pizza cutter is the best tool for cutting out the gingerbread tiles! If you're in need of one, you can find one [here].
Note on silpats: I bake my cookies on silpats because they're reusable, nothing sticks to them, and the bottoms of the gingerbread browns more slowly. If you'd like to get some silpats for yourself, you can find them [here].
Note on cake pans: This recipe is for a 6" triple-layer cake. I prefer cake pans that are lighter in color, because I find that the cakes bake up moister (sorry not sorry). You can find 6" cake pans [here].
If you don't have three pans, the batter will still be good at room temperature if you need to bake them individually. See note on using a kitchen scale--it's much easier to divide the batter equally when you have one!
Note on kitchen scale: To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. It's hard to eyeball the amount when you're using three pans, especially if you don't have three and you're baking the cake layers individually. Weighing the batter ensures even baking and cake layers that are uniform in size.
Note on vanilla bean paste: You know me, it's in everything! Delicious and more economical than whole vanilla beans, this ingredient is my go-to for an extra punch of flavor. You can find it online [here]. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.Did you make this recipe? Leave a review below, Pin the recipe, and click this box to tag @livetosweet on Instagram! I'd love to hear from you!
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