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Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Cranberries

This cake is a Christmas vision. The gingerbread peeks out from the cream cheese frosting, offset by the blood red sugared cranberries. I made it this year for my dear coworker’s birthday, in the middle of December. He is a baker himself, and we love to discuss our adventures in creating new cookies and cakes.

This gingerbread cake is soft and full of warm spice. My coworker’s favorite frosting flavor is a cream cheese buttercream, and the buttery tang happily pairs beautifully with this cake. The sugared cranberries are a fun, edible decoration; their feet tartness cuts through the richness of the cake.

Bring this cake to a holiday party or bake it for a believed friend’s December birthday. It’s a showstopper. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 cup water

1 1/2 stick of softened butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 ounces of cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring 1 cup of sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cranberries to the syrup and chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the cranberries. Roll them in 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl. Lay the cranberries out on a plate and allow them to set of 45 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 3 six inch baking pans. Line with parchment paper. Set aside. 

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, orange zest and spices in a large bowl. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and beat until smooth. 

Melt the butter and add it to the cream and milk. Add the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the egg mixture in alternating additions. 

Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then untold onto a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

While the cake cools, make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the powdered sugar slowly and beat for 5 minutes until it is pale and fluffy. 

Trim the cakes if needed to make them flat. Frost the cake thickly between the layers and on the top, smoothing with an offset spatula. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the sides of the cake (this creates a “naked” loo). Top with the sugared cranberries and a pinecone, if desired. Slice and enjoy! 


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