buttercream & frosting/ cakes/ holiday treats

Gingerbread Cake

gingerbread cake with maple butter cream frosting and cranberry compote

I know I’ve been sharing a lot of cookie recipes with you lately, so I thought I would close out 2018 with a cake I’ve been wanting to try for a while—Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote. I made this cake a few times to get it the way I wanted it and I’m super happy with how well it came out. It’s moist and flavorful and smells insanely good!

Initially I was thinking I’d pair it with a cinnamon frosting, but went with an easy maple buttercream frosting instead. And at the last minute decided to add a cranberry compote. The slight tartness of the cranberries with the buttercream and gingerbread cake is absolutely wonderful. And every time you open your refrigerator door (if you keep your cake stored there like I did), you’ll get this heavenly smell of maple.

Gingerbread Cake | Overhead photo of Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC
This Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote is a must make during the holiday season and even into the new year!
Gingerbread Cake | Overhead photo of Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC

moist gingerbread layer cake

To begin this gingerbread cake recipe, you’ll whisk together all of your dry ingredients together: all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, gingerbread spice, ground cloves, and salt, then set aside.

Next you beat the unsalted butter and granulated sugar together until it’s nice, light, and fluffy. Add in the egg and the unsulphured full flavor molasses (use a spatula to scrape out any molasses still in the measuring cup) and mix until combined.

For this next part, I like to alternate adding the dry ingredients in with the hot water on the slowest mixer speed. If your hand mixer is still too fast, you can hand whisk this part. Just mix them with the rest of the batter until it’s just combined. Don’t over mix.

how to make maple buttercream frosting

This maple buttercream recipe comes together very quickly. You cream the unsalted butter, then add in the confectioners sugar, half and half, and some maple flavored extract. That’s it! I love how this tastes with the gingerbread cake! This recipe can be easily doubled too if you need more.

Gingerbread Cake | Person holding Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote on a cake stand | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC
For decorating the top of the Gingerbread Cake, I used Wilton’s 1M tip and Truly Mad Plastics Super Gold Dust. The cake stand is from Wegmans.

an easy cranberry compote recipe

It sounds silly of me to say, but I always had it in my head that making compote would be this terribly difficult thing, when actually it’s just the opposite. It’s super easy! Now all I want to do is make more!

In a medium sauce pan, as you stir the ingredients, bring the fresh cranberries, maple syrup, and pinch of salt to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Very quickly you’ll start to see the cranberries begin to burst. As this happens you can use the spoon you’re stirring them with to smoosh them down a little or you can take a potato smasher like I did and gently press down on them.

Once the compote has thickened, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely before you add it to the cake (which should also be cooled completely). You can choose to add the compote in between the layers of the cake (I piped a wall of frosting around the edge and then added the compote in the middle) and on the top or just have it on top. It’s up to you!

One thing is for certain, this tastes wonderful with the gingerbread cake and maple buttercream frosting! I actually could eat it on its own too. Could? What am I saying? I did eat it on its own. Ha!

Gingerbread Cake | Angled photo of Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote with a slice taken out of it and a little bowl of cranberries below it | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC

how to freeze cake layers

You can keep cake layers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerater for up to 3 days. If you’re not planning to make a cake within that timeframe though, you do have the option to freeze the cake layers. If properly stored, cake layers can be kept frozen for up to 3 months in the freezer.

To freeze them, I like to keep them tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, place them in their cake pans covered with another layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. If you need your cake pans, you can place the layers tightly wrapped in the plastic wrap with another layer of aluminum foil in a freezer bag. If you’re concerned about the layers possibly getting smooshed, you can place pieces of cardboard in between.

When you’re ready to use them, allow them to come to room temperature for 3-4 hours. You can keep them in the freezer bag if you wish to defrost or you can take them out of the bag (or cake pans). I chose to leave mine in their cake pans until they came to room temp.

Gingerbread Cake | Overhead photo of Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC.
This Gingerbread cake is definitely worth pinning!

quick tips for making gingerbread cake

  • To retain some of the moisture from the cake, you can cool them upside down on a cooling rack with the cake pans still resting on top. This can also help give the cake top a flatter surface if it has a dome shape to it.
  • The cranberry compote has such a great taste, but it is optional if cranberries aren’t your thing!

see my other holiday recipes!

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Gingerbread Cake | Angled photo of Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote with a slice taken out of it and a little bowl of cranberries below it | Image Credit: Beyond the Butter, LLC

Gingerbread Cake

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes (does not include time for cooling, frosting, or compote)
  • Yield: Approx. 12 servings
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description

This Gingerbread Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Compote is a must make during the holiday season and even into the new year! The flavorful and moist gingerbread cake pairs well with the maple buttercream frosting, and the cranberry compote’s slight tartness helps to balance out the sweetness from the buttercream. It’s perfect!

* Makes 3, 6″ x 2″ cake layers. 


Scale

Ingredients

gingerbread cake

  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Gingerbread Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 cup Unsulphured Full Flavor Molasses
  • 1 cup Hot Water

maple buttercream frosting

  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 4 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons Half and Half
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Flavored Extract

cranberry compote

  • 8 oz. Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup ( I used Morris, PA’s Heyler’s Farm maple syrup)
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions

gingerbread cake

  1. Align your oven rack to the 2nd level position and pre-heat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray your 3 cake pans with a flour-based baking spray, place a 6″ diameter circle of parchment paper in each pan, and respray the bottom again with the flour-based spray. Alternatively, you can grease the pans with butter and coat in flour, but it’s important to still add in the parchment paper circles (it helps to release the cake from the pan).
  3. If you have the Wilton Baking Strips, make sure they are wetted down and fitted to your pans. (Optional step)
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, gingerbread spice, ground cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the unsalted butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until nice and fluffy. 
  6. Add in the egg and then the unsulphured full flavor molasses until fully blended together.
  7. Switching your mixer speed to low, alternate between adding a little of the whisked dry ingredients with the hot water until just combined.
  8. Divide the cake batter evenly between the 3 cake pans, then place in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  9. After 5-10 minutes, remove the cakes from the pans and cool on wire racks.
  10. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting and the cranberry compote (if adding).

maple buttercream frosting

  1. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter on medium-high speed. 
  2. Switching the speed to low, alternate adding in the sifted confectioners sugar and half and half a little at a time until completely blended.
  3. Add in the maple flavored extract and switch the mixer speed to high to beat into a whipped frosting for 3-4 minutes.

cranberry compote

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the cranberries, maple syrup, and pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir while the cranberries will begin to burst open (this will happen somewhat quickly as the mixture heats up). You can use the spoon you’re stirring them with to smoosh them down a little or you can take a potato smasher like I did and gently press down on them.
  2. Once the compote has thickened, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely before you add it to the cake. 
  3. Pipe a wall of frosting around the edge of each cake layer, then add the cooled compote in the middle. Alternatively, you can just add the compote to the top of the cake. It’s up to you!

Notes

  • To retain some of the moisture from the cake, you can cool them upside down on a cooling rack with the cake pans still resting on top. This can also help give the cake top a flatter surface if it has a dome shape to it.
  • The cranberry compote has such a great taste, but it is optional if cranberries aren’t your thing!
  • Gingerbread Cake recipe adapted from a family recipe card.
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting recipe adapted from Wilton.
  • Cranberry Compote adapted from Ocean Spray.

Keywords: gingerbread cake, gingerbread cake with maple buttercream frosting, gingerbread cake with maple buttercream frosting and cranberry compote, cranberry compote, cranberries, maple buttercream frosting, gingerbread, cake

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