Christmas has to be my favourite time of year to bake, and despite the hot weather I still love slaving away in the kitchen to dream up new and delicious holiday-themed treats. Gingerbread is one of the most festive flavours and this layer cake combines layers of cream cheese frosting and is topped with fluffy marshmallow frosting.
The cake is dense yet oh so soft, and is flavoured with chocolate and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The inclusion of golden syrup and dark brown sugar in the batter gives it a rich depth of flavour and it’s not too sweet (which means you can eat more, right?!)
I was initially going to do 3 layers of my marshmallow frosting, but it is quite sweet and nothing beats good old cream cheese icing in my books. So I made a small batch serving of this icing and used it to sandwich the layers of cake together.
I’m really into making small cakes at the moment as it seems my co-workers are all on diets and I don’t want to waste any cake! So I made this recipe into an itty bitty 3 layer 10cm (5″) cake which is perfect for giving everyone just a taste. You can easily double the ingredients to get a larger 3 layer 18cm (7″) cake if you need to serve more people.
The final adornment for this cake is the aforementioned marshmallow frosting. It was my first time making it from a Sprinkle Bakes recipe and it turned out perfectly. The raw egg whites are cooked through in the double boiler, so there is no risk of things going off. It’s amazing how thick and glossy this frosting becomes in such a short amount of time (around 7 minutes).
To decorate this cake I kept things simple – a few sprigs of rosemary to act as Christmas “trees” and some decorative red berries. A final dusting of icing sugar to act as snow was all this cake needed to be transformed into a winter wonderland!
- 120ml vegetable oil
- ½ cup golden syrup
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 110g cream cheese at room temp
- 25g butter, softened
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 egg white
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup or glucose syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and line 3 x 10cm (5") round cake tins.
- Melt together the oil, golden syrup, brown sugar, and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs and buttermilk into the cooled sugar mixture (to avoid scrambling the eggs). Set aside.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda with spices and add to wet mixture. Mix until just combined (over mixing can result in tougher cake).
- Divide the mixture between the three prepared tins and smooth down tops with a spatula.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in their tins on a wire rack, then turn out.
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated.
- Add in salt and vanilla. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
- Place all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and set over a simmering pan of water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is thick and fluffy. This should take around 7 minutes.
- Remove bowl from the heat and continue to beat frosting until slightly cooled.
- Use a serrated knife to trim the tops of the cake to ensure they are flat.
- Place the first cake layer on your cake stand and use an offset spatula to spread a generous layer of cream cheesing icing right to the edges.
- Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers.
- For the top layer, dollop a mound of marshmallow icing on top and gently spread out.
- Top with whatever Christmas decorations you like - I opted for rosemary "Christmas Trees" and red berries.
- Add a final dusting of icing sugar as snow.
What are you baking for Christmas this year? Don’t forget to check out my other Christmas dessert recipes here!