Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pomegranates are my favorite winter fruit. And I just can’t get enough of them this winter. Now I realize that most people associate gingerbread with the holidays, but I like to think of it as a winter flavor. Similar to peppermint, I bake with these spices any time the weather is chilly.

Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This dessert is everything you could hope for. The cake it spicy. Extra spicy. The orange zest provides a subtle scent. The frosting is smooth, creamy, and rich. And those pomegranate seeds – they absolutely make this cake. They give a little crunch and a burst of fruity juice like no other ingredient can. As you can see, I used a LOT of pomegranate seeds on my cake!

Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So feel free to save this recipe for the holidays, or do like me and throw the status quo out the window and make this whenever you feel like it!

One Year Ago: Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies and Black and Tan Brownies
Three Years Ago: Spicy Sweet Pretzel Party Mix
Four Years Ago: Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Cupcakes and Stuffed Chicken Burgers

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Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients:

For the cake
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
Dash of freshly-grated nutmeg
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsulphered molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup warm water

For the frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Big pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate, for garnish

Directions:

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch square (or 9-inch round) baking pan. Line with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper. Set pan aside.

To make the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs until thick and pale. Stir in molasses, honey, and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the wet ingredients. Stir together until entirely incorporated. Add the warm water and gently stir until entirely incorporated and the mixture is silky smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. If you find that the mixture fills the pan more than three-quarters of the way full, you might consider using a larger pan (a 9 or 10-inch pan may serve your better).

Bake cake for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting the cake.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese on medium speed. The cream cheese should be as soft and smooth as possible. Stop the mixer and add the softened butter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the two together over medium speed until smooth and incorporated. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Blend on low until incorporated. Add remaining cup of powdered sugar and the vanilla on low until incorporated. Increase to medium high speed and beat until frosting is smooth and silky.

Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving.

This cake can be stored, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

Recipe from Joy the Baker, as seen on Indigo Scones

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11 Responses to “Spice Apple Bars”

  1. #
    1
    Amanda — January 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I wish I could run home & bake these right now! They look so delicious & how could you go wrong with apples & cinnamon? I can’t wait to try these soon.

  2. #
    2
    Katie — January 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    They look so good! I LOOOVE the cute apple backround too! 🙂 🙂

  3. #
    3
    Joelen — January 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    These look great!

  4. #
    4
    bensbaby116 — January 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I made these from Katie’s blog in the fall and took them to a school function. One of my student’s dads ate several of them. A few weeks later I made chocolate chip cookies because they’re usually a hit with everyone there, and the same dad was like “awww. where are those apple bars? I was hoping for those again.” 🙂 They are truly wonderful!

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    5
    Jen — January 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I agree! These are amazing. I send baked goods with hubby about once a week and these got so many more comments than usual. I’m actually making them again this weekend.

  6. #
    6
    Megan — January 29, 2009 at 4:15 am

    I saw that recipe last year, and I wish I had made them. They look so good.

  7. #
    7
    Julie — January 29, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Free manual labor in exchange for apple bars? Sounds like a deal to me. I’ll have to offer that up next time I have to call a plumber 🙂

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    8
    Stephanie Wagner — February 17, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Scott made these tonight and they were AMAZING! Seriously, AMAZING!

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    9
    Amanda — February 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I made these this weekend….they were fantastic! At 10 last night Sam had to ask me “are you still eating that apple cake?” Yes. I was. I saved one more piece for after work today!

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    10
    creativecarryout — February 26, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Oh, my dad would love these. I have an apple bread recipe that he always requests. I’ll bookmark this one to try too. Thanks.
    Michelle
    http://oneordinaryday.wordpress.com/

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    11
    Carly — April 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I made these yesterday and think they are fabulous! So gooey, but so much better the next day! Thankyou for sharing! =)

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