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Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Treats: Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1 cup Coke
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 T ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8" cake pans with baking spray or butter and flour. In a small sauce pan, heat Coke to a boil. Remove from heat, add baking soda and whisk to combine, add molasses and whisk to combine. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Combine flour, baking powder and spices in a separate bowl and set aside. Add eggs to cooled molasses mixture and whisk until well combined, add brown sugar and whisk until well combined, finally add oil and whisk until combined. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, whisking after each addition until batter is well combined. Divide evenly among baking pans and bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pear for garnish, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (optional)

Heat brown sugar and cream in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add about 3/4 of the caramel mixture and vanilla extract. Beat until well mixed. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until icing reaches desired consistency.

To assemble the cake, trim any rounded tops off each cake layer and put down first layer of cake, cut side down on a cake plate. Add approximately 1/3 of the icing, using an offset spatula to smooth icing, stopping approximately 1/2" from the edge of the cake all the way around. Add next layer of cake and cover with an additional 1/3 of icing. Add top layer of cake, cut side down and remaining icing. Smooth over the top of the cake. Spoon remaining caramel sauce on top and sides of cake. Fan out thin slices of pear in the center of the top of the cake and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon if desired.

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