What is Christmas without gingerbread, right? Ah gingerbread…gingerbread cake. Molassesey and gingery cake in a cozy warm room while looking out the window watching the snow dust everything white. Laughing at dogs trying to walk in snow shoes. It’s the perfect December cake.
It took me a while to get this one right. Several iterations to get the sweetness and the spice level perfect. I thought I wouldn’t have any trouble developing this one. Heh. I was so wrong. Definitely took more batches than I planned. Of course nothing ever goes to plan especially during the busy holiday season! Batch after batch, it was something. Too bitter, no ginger notes. Would it be better with coconut oil? Can I get away without coconut sugar (Nope. Coconut sugar is magical.)
I started doubting myself and wondered if my unhappiness with these trials is because I’m unreasonably picky. That’s crazy isn’t it? About halfway through started to get really frustrated and almost scrapped the entire thing. But then not post any cake for December? Absurd. It’s been too long since I posted a cake recipe. So I had to get this right.
I like to believe that I’m just pickier with some foods more than others. This is especially true for fall and winter desserts. For gingerbread, my “window of taste appeal” is far less narrow than other cakes. So, the slightest off-balance of spice and sweet would be enough to make me very sad.
Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and molasses, are such strong flavors that is a challenge to get them all to mesh. Imagine a room full of very loud and vocal people, and your job is to get them all to sing a beautiful chorus. One spice off balance is just like the off key singer.
I had to get help from my best girl. She was kind enough to test out my recipe and offer a suggestion on the spice ratio. And it’s incredible. Funny how just half a teaspoon more of ginger and cinnamon made it wonderful! The spice and sweet are all singing harmoniously.
Can’t forget the crowning glory: the frosting! Yes, cream cheese! Such a perfect pair. You may wonder why butter must be added to cream cheese to make it into “cream cheese frosting.” Keyword there, frosting. Frosting is light and fluffy and makes elves sing happy tunes. To get that light and fluff, you need a good amount of saturated fat from butter to hold in those air pockets during whipping. Without extra butter, the cream cheese is just a spread. Flat, very tasty though, but flat.
All that is worth it.
- ½ cup (80g) of packed Coconut Flour
- ½ cup (64g) of Arrowroot Flour
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon of Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon of Salt
- 1½ teaspoon of Ginger Powder
- 1½ teaspoon of Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of Nutmeg
- Pinch of Cloves
- ½ cup of Maple Syrup
- ¼ cup of Molasses
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 4 Eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) of Coconut Oil (softened solid)
- ¼ cup of Fine Coconut Sugar
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 4 oz of Softened Butter or Palm Shortening
- 4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
- ¼ cup of Arrowroot Flour
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″x4″ loaf pan.
- Sift together the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl to form the dry mixture.
- Combine the maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla extract in another bowl to form the liquid mixture.
- Separate the eggs whites from the egg yolks.
- Beat the egg whites at high speed in a mixer bowl with a whisk attachment until a meringue forms. Remove the whites from the mixer bowl and set aside.
- Add the coconut oil and coconut sugar to the mixing bowl and beat on medium high for about a minute until uniform.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time to the mixing bowl and beat on medium until combined. Scrape the sides if necessary.
- Add half of the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
- Add half of the liquid mixture to the mixing bowl and beat.
- Repeat the previous two steps until all mixed.
- Portion a heaping of the egg whites and add to the mixing bowl and mix.
- Fold in the rest of the egg whites until uniform.
- Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake, centered rack, at 350F for 35-40 minutes.
- Whip the butter/shortening and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the arrowroot flour and maple syrup.
- Whip on low until the flour is absorbed into the butter, then whip on high for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
- I used regular molasses for this recipe, not blackstrap. Blackstrap has a stronger molasses flavor and slightly more bitter. However, it’s close enough to use if you have it handy. Probably want to add a teaspoon more of sugar though if you don’t want the extra bitterness.
- Use a blender or food processor to make fine coconut sugar from regular coconut sugar.