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Gingerbread Cake

Turn heads and drop jaws at your next Christmas gathering with this gorgeous gingerbread cake. This cake pairs a moist gingerbread cake base with a boozy bourbon frosting. Top it off with your choice of decorated gingerbread cookies and you’re ready to go!

  • Author: The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the gingerbread cake:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

For the boozy frosting:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 23 tbsp bourbon

Other ingredients:

  • 1 dozen gingerbread cookies
  • 1 batch royal icing
  • 1/2 white chocolate or white candy melts

Instructions

  1. To make the house cookie, it’s helpful to have a reference photo. I found the one I used on Instagram. Use your reference photo to cut out the basic shape in the dough making sure it’s the right size to fit on your cake (mine was 5″).
  2. Once you have your design, cut out and bake your gingerbread cookies (try this homemade recipe or a store-bought mix).
  3. When the cookies have cooled, ice them using one batch of royal icing. I wrote a detailed post about making and using royal icing a month ago, so check it out if you need some royal icing basics.
  4. In a bowl, combine the milk and butter for the cake, and microwave using 20 second increments until you can stir the mixture smooth.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  6. Pour into three 6″ parchment paper-lined and greased cake pans. Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. In a small saucepan, combine the water and granulated sugar for the frosting over high heat and bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar becomes clear. While the syrup cooks, whip your egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites (with the mixer on high) and whip until cooled to room temperature.
  9. Decrease the mixer to low, add the butter and bourbon, and continue beating on high until the frosting is thick and smooth.
  10. Level your cakes (if necessary) and spread a thick layer of frosting between each. Coat the outside with a thin layer (crumb coat) and allow to set up in the refrigerator.
  11. Use the remaining frosting to cover the rest of the cake. Add sprinkles, “glue” your cookies to wooden skewers with a little white chocolate, and decorate!

Notes

  • Measure your batter: Making even layers of cake start with measuring your batter. For this recipe, that means about roughly 9.3oz of batter per pan (for three pans).
  • Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.
  • Crumb coat: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  • The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  • Storage: This cake will keep at room temperature, uncut, for 3-4 days. For best results, cover it with a plastic lid, bowl or place it in a cardboard box. This is easiest if you don’t add the cookies until you’re ready to serve.
  • Storing cut cake: Once your cake is cut, you’ll want to protect the exposed cake area. The easiest way to do this is with a piece of plastic wrap or two.

Nutrition

Keywords: gingerbread cake, christmas cake recipe, christmas cake decorations