So, my KitchenAid mixer broke on Saturday. Devastated. Just wanted to get that out of the way because it’s pretty much all I can think about. And my computer start-up disc is full and Photoshop keeps telling me my ‘scratch disc’ is full. Which I’m now pretty sure are the same thing. I think. I’ve spent the entire day transferring things to various clouds (I’ve got three and I have not idea what is where) and yet the damn disc is still full. It’s a miracle I’m getting this recipe out to you. But it’s December. The month of miracles. We expect this.
Even though life appears to want to send me some obstacles (I’m thinking of YOU deer that leapt in front of my car and started this string of shat), as I type this my stomach is satisfied because I made NO JOKE the best mac and cheese of my life today, Elf is on the telly (it NEVER gets old), Stella is having a holiday gift exchange with her friends (PS teens are loud) and there are twinkle lights thrown around the house like the remnants of an Auntie Mame afterparty…so all in all, life is good. I’m good. My kids are good. My family is good. Are you good? I hope. I really do.
Things can feel stressful this time of year. I know you know what I’m talking about. I mean, when the heck did it become December?! Sometimes we have to work hard to keep that cheer parade on display during the holiday season. Dig deep. You can do it. January is about balance, December is about chaos, exhaustion and I swear pants that got shrunk in the dryer. Because I just know in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving none of them were this tight.
In the interest of spreading cheer, I’m going to be doing lots of Instagram giveaways this month. If you aren’t on Instagram yet, I hope this will give you some incentive. I gave away a beautiful box of Godiva chocolates last week. I love having a box of chocolates in my house at all times. It makes me feel like the retro, martini drinking, granny-in-training that I am.
On Saturday I did the last test of this recipe and decided I would give away this gingerbread cake on Instagram to the first local follower that sent me a private message. I was super excited that it was Molly as I swear she was one of the first local people to follow me. So I hope you enjoyed it Molly!! I will do this sporadically throughout the rest of the month. Spreading cheer. We need this.
I will also be giving away a bunch of fun stuff including my favorite Henckels chef knife, a subscription to Bake From Scratch magazine + some très cool swag, a Ballarini pan that I’m in love with, a gift certificate to Heritage Distilling (holla) and some other exciting surprises.
I really think this ramble has gone on long enough. It’s time to talk cake.
Before We Get Started:
- True Life Confession: I am the world’s WORST cake decorator. Frosting is my nemesis. She’s a beast. Never behaves. Has been known to make me cry. BUT, if I can make this cake look good, you can too. Truth. Follow my tips + instructions. You got this.
- Mix your batter on low. Don’t get impatient and turn up your mixer. When you whip too much air into your batter you run the risk of your cake dipping in the middle once out of the oven. It’s annoying. Just avoid it altogether.
- I have you make a lot of frosting because nothing peeves me more then running out of frosting. If you have leftover (and you will) smear it on graham crackers and call it a day. This pairs really well with any alcoholic beverage.
- When you’re putting your batter into the prepared cake tins, measure out the batter…about 2 cups of batter per 6-inch tin. That way your layers will be roughly the same size. This matters.
- Make Ahead Tip: You can bake the cakes and let cool completely in the cake tins. Once cooled, wrap the tins tightly in plastic wrap + foil and store at room temperature. Every time I made this cake I baked the cakes one day and then frosted the next.
- Some cake tools that aren’t necessary but I find for someone cake-challenged like myself, are extremely helpful: 6-inch cake circles (I don’t know how I ever lived without these…they’ll take your cake mobile; btw, in these photos I used a larger-sized circle as I was out of the 6-inch), offset spatula (I use this big one), bench scraper (for getting those sides oh-so-smooth) and a revolving cake stand (a revelation).
- This cake has only been tested with three, 6-inch pans. If you cook with different sized pans you will need to adjust the bake time accordingly.
- I don’t have you trim the cakes or put one upside down or any of that. Let’s just keep it simple.
Let’s bake betches!
Buttermilk Gingerbread Cake + Spiced Citrus Buttercream
Makes One 6-inch, 3-layer Cake
For The Cake
- 3/4 cup sunflower seed oil or other light veggie oil
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar or muscovado, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsulphured molasses
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup shaken buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
For The Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon shortening
- 1 tablespoon tangerine or orange zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar*
*You may need more powdered sugar to get the correct consistency. Add in 1 tablespoon increments until it’s easy to smooth on the cake, yet firm enough to hold the layers in place.
- About 30 fresh cranberries
- About 14 small sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, place a rack in the center of your oven. Butter + flour three, 6-inch pans. Don’t skip this step.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the sunflower seed oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and molasses. Mix on low until completely combined.
- Add in the eggs and mix on low until completely incorporated.
- Lastly, add in the buttermilk + vanilla and blend on low until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed together.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, all spice, sea salt and cardamom.
- Take the bowl out of the mixer stand and pour your flour mixture into the molasses mixture. Blend with a spatula until just combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl and get any molasses that has settled down there. Batter will be thick and lumpy, like muffin batter.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared pans; each will take about 2 cups of batter. Divide any remaining batter equally amongst the three pans. Tap each pan on the counter several times to release any air bubbles. Set them on a baking sheet and place in the oven, on the middle rack, for 30 minutes.
- Once done, let them cool for about an hour in their pans. Once cool, run a knife around the edges of the cake tin to make sure the cake isn’t sticking. Flip the tin over, with one hand holding the top of the cake and the other hand gently tapping the bottom of the tin to get the cake out. This is a sticky cake, so move slowly and don’t get impatient. Make sure they are cooled completely before frosting.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the cream cheese, butter and shortening and beat on medium for about 3-4 minutes until completely blended. Add in the zest, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Blend completely on low for about 2 minutes more. Add the last 2 cups and mix until fully incorporated, about 3 more minutes.
- Set the first layer flat side down. Glob about 1 cup of frosting on the top and gently smooth over. Get down to eye level and make sure it’s level. It doesn’t need to look perfect, just level. Set the second layer, flat side down, on top of the frosting. Glob 1 cup of frosting on top and smooth until it’s covered and even. Set the third layer on top, flat side down, making sure all of the sides are even and your cake isn’t leaning. Gently adjust if necessary. Put at least 1 cup of frosting on top and smooth until level. For the sides of the cake, I like to start by filling the area between the layers with big spoonfuls of frosting. Once those cracks are filled, start patching globs of frosting around the cake. Once it is mostly covered in frosting, grab something with a straight edge (such as a bench scraper) and run it around the outside edge of the cake to smooth the frosting and show some of the cake beneath. Continue until you get that rustic, naked-cake vibe we’re going for. Periodically clean your bench scraper and continue until smooth. I think the best tip for frosting a cake is to chill…don’t stress…and pretend that every naked spot, curve and dip is exactly where it should be. That’s pretty much how I leave the house every day.
- To Decorate: Place one cranberry in the middle of the cake, then along the outside edges and then evenly in-between. Jam the ends of the rosemary sprigs into the base of the cake at an angle…so they sort of fan around in a wreath-like fashion.
- This is such a moist cake that if she’s well frosted and well covered, she’ll still taste fabulous several days from now. She’s a giver.
- Thanks for making this cake!! Tag me @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your gorgeous cakes!!
*Adapted from this beautiful recipe!
On My Mind
- iPhone 7. It’s. A. Revelation. The camera is next-level amazing. If you are wondering if you should go for it, the camera alone is reason to do so. Since I have shattered two iPhone’s in the past seven months, I now have a dummy-proof cover on it. Does anyone else shatter their iPhone as much as I do?
- The easiest way to give this season.
- This is a buzzkill…but we have to read it.
- More Holiday Treats: Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles, Cranberry Bark Peace Cookies, Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples, Candy Cane Ice Cream With Chocolate Pudding Cakes, Double Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Bark Crinkles, Cranberry Spice Breakfast Buns, Cranberry Scones, Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake, Five Spice Cranberries (three ways), Apple Spice Cake, Boozy Sugared Cranberry Cheesecake, Pomegranate Rosemary Cocktail, Easy Labneh Appetizer, Persimmon Salsa, Port Cranberry + Apple Petite Rosette Tarts, Pomegranate Burrata Salad, Fresh Fig + Toasted Pecan Salad, Bacon Brussels Sprout Slaw, Baked Cranberry Apples and Five Spice Cherry Pie.
- Keeping it short and sweet today. I have a shit-ton to do (technical term for it) and I need to sort out my computer. And my KitchenAid.
- Wishing you all some good holiday cheer. Light a candle. And a fire. Make some fresh, too-hot tea and let it steep while you sit and stare into space. Set your phone in another room and don’t look at it for an hour. Sending love + light.