• Mother of Mugwort

Sweet Spells Sunday: Gingerbread Cake with Brown Sugar Bourbon Frosting

I made this cake around this time last year, so I thought it'd be a fitting recipe for the week! It's a perfect recipe for winter that leaves you feeling cozy and festive even after the holidays.

The recipe I used for this cake comes from Sugar Spun Run, and I used it for a winter dinner party. For decoration, I wreathed the cake in rosemary, pomegranate kernels, and candied orange slices!


For the cake

- 1 1/4 cup butter softened to room temperature - 1 cup molasses - 3/4 cups sugar - 3/4 cups brown sugar tightly packed - 3 large eggs preferably room temperature - 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - 3 cups all-purpose flour - 1 1/2 tsp baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp baking soda - 1 tsp salt - 1 tbsp ground ginger - 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon - 1 tsp ground nutmeg - 1/2 tsp allspice - 1 cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk

For the frosting:

- 12 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature, 1 & 1/2 packages

- 12 tbsp salted butter softened to room temperature, 1 & 1/2 sticks

- 1/2 cup light brown sugar tightly packed

- 1 tsp vanilla bean or 1 vanilla extract

- 1 tbsp bourbon

- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

- 3 tbsp heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350F and prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by lightly greasing and flouring. Set aside.

With a mixer, beat the butter on medium-low speed until creamed. Add molasses and sugars, and beat until light, fluffy and well combined (pausing to scrape down sides of bowl as needed).

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices (ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) until combined.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (add about 1/5 of the flour, as soon as it is mostly combined add about 1/5 of the buttermilk, continuing in this pattern until all of the flour mixture and all of the buttermilk have been added). Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to be sure ingredients are well-combined.

Evenly divide batter between prepared cake pans.

Bake on 350F for 30-35 minutes. Allow cakes to cool completely in pan before inverting and icing.


Using a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Then add brown sugar, stirring until combined.

Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the inside and scoop into cream cheese/butter/brown sugar mixture. Add bourbon and stir until well-combined.

Gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) add powdered sugar to the mixture. Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl.

Increase speed to medium-high and add heavy cream--beat until the mixture is lightly whipped.

Once the cakes have cooled, ice/assemble cakes by generously icing between layers, applying an even layer on the top of the cake, and then applying a scant, semi-naked layer around the outside of the cake.

And if you want to add a special touch for the topping, gently sprinkle the top in cinnamon and powdered sugar like a light dusting of snow. Then circle the outside rim of the cake in a ring of rosemary and pomegranate kernels. Lastly, evenly space out candied orange slices with a bit of room inbetween.

Served best with a hot cup of coffee during the day or, for a dinner party like the one I attended, you can make a special matching drink by saving some sprigs of rosemary and pomegranate kernels. Pop those in a glass with some white wine and you're set!

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© 2018 by Indigo Baloch. 

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