Christmas is right around the corner (surprise, because I’m sure you hadn’t noticed all the in-your-faceness that attacks you everywhere you go). I’m starting to experiment with a few different types of desserts, because I get to have Christmas Dinner for the family at our house this year (WOO HOO!!!!). I probably won’t be nearly as excited about this at midnight on Christmas Eve when I’m panicking about having all the food ready on time. That’s why the first order of business is to buy a case of beer and make sure there are three cold ones in the fridge at all times.
Lucky you guys though, because you’re going to get to see a whole lot of different takes on classic Christmas fare. Like gingerbread cookies, just in cake form. And because I’m a firm believer that caramel goes well on absolutely everything, that’s the kind of frosting I made. You could easily substitute a cream cheese frosting though, or a vanilla buttercream with a hint of cinnamon in it. Experiment, have fun, but I’m not gonna lie, this cake as is was phenomenal.
The cake is so nice and moist, with a spice to it that isn’t overpowering at all (sometimes a gingerbread cake calls for pepper, a sure sign that the kids aren’t going to like it – this isn’t one of those cakes). The best part though is what’s hidden in between the layers. On top of the buttercream, you spread just a little bit of the caramel sauce. It soaks into the crumb of the cake, giving you this incredible blend between the two. It’s the best kind of surprise!
Pouring the extra caramel sauce over the top is the easiest way to make your cake look like a showstopper too. The top of the cake looked like a sheet of glass, changing colour depending on the frosting underneath. Here’s a tip too: to get your buttercream as smooth as possible, just run your offset spatula under hot water before using it on the cake. You’ll have to do it a few times (and give it a quick dry so you don’t end up with a pool of water on the frosting), but it makes smoothing that icing out so much easier!
Alright, enough rattling, I know all you want is the recipe, so have at it. Enjoy!
- 1 cup butter
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup golden corn syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ milk (I use whole milk, but 2% isn't the end of the world)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup butter (half a stick)
- 1 tsp salt
- 15 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups icing sugar
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease two 8" round cake pans well. If you're worried about sticking, you can place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom.
- Put the butter, molasses, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Turn off the heat and stir in the brown sugar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs very well. Slowly pour into the butter mixture, whisking quickly so the eggs don't start to cook.
- Put the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. Add the butter mixture and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans, and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
- Set on a wire rack to cool completely, then cut off the domed tops and split the cakes in half to create four even layers.
- While the cake is cooling, make the caramel sauce.
- Add the sugar to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Watch very carefully. Swirl the pan as the sugar starts to melt so the solid sugar mixes into the liquid. I'm not against using a whisk during this part, even though all the pros tell you not to.
- Once the sugar has completely melted and is an amber colour, turn off the heat. Add the butter, heavy cream, and salt, and whisk until completely combined. If it seems like it's hardening up again, put it back over a medium-low heat while you whisk.
- Set aside to cool.
- Add the butter to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar, and beat for another two minutes until well combined. Add the caramel sauce and beat until evenly combined.
- Spread about ¼" of frosting on top of the first layer of cake. Using your offset spatula, make the frosting so that there is a slight lip of frosting around the outside edge (this is to keep the caramel sauce from running out.
- Add 3 tbsp of the cooled caramel sauce on top of the frosting.
- Repeat with the second and third layers of cake.
- When you put the top layer of cake on, frost the entire cake, and then put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Put the remaining caramel sauce in the fridge as well. Once the cake has cooled, and the frosting hardened, pour the caramel sauce slowly over the top of the cake, letting it pool down the side a little bit. You probably won't need all of the sauce.