Merry Christmas Eve to all! We wanted to share one last treat with you before the big dance tomorrow, Christmas day! This year we are going over to our uncle’s house to celebrate Christmas with family and of course…food. We were asked to bring a dessert to share and saw this to-die-for orange gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting on Joy the Baker and knew our little cousins (and big uncles) would eat this right up. As we were digging through the cupboard for the 8×8 baking pan we came across the perfect cake pan. Yes, what you see featured above is a cake pan in the shape of a Christmas tree! Cake in the shape of a Christmas tree is infinitely better than cake in a regular shaped pan. Ok, you can’t really taste a difference so don’t fret, you won’t have a blue Christmas if you must resort to using a normal cake pan. We decorated the tree with pomegranates and green sprinkles and topped it with a yellow star. This gingerbread cake tastes and looks like Christmas. So, if you’re searching for one more treat to bake this orange gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting is the winner.
Orange Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – adapted from joythebaker.com
makes 9 generous pieces in an 8×8-inch square pan
For the Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup unsulphered molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3/4 cup warm water
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese frosting, softened
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- big pinch of salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (plus half of a scraped vanilla bean if you’d like)
- pomegranate seeds for garnish
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch square (or 9-inch round) baking pan. Line with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment paper. The parchment paper isn’t entirely necessary, it just makes the cake easier to remove from the pan. Set pan aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs until thick and pale. Stir in molasses, honey, and orange zest.
- Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the wet ingredients. Stir together until entirely incorporated. Add the warm water and gently stir until entirely incorporated and the mixture is silky smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. If you find that the mixture fills the pan more than three-quarters of the way full, you might consider using a larger pan (a 9 or 10-inch pan may serve your better).
- Bake cake for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- While the cake bakes, make the cream cheese frosting.In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese (yea… just the cream cheese) on medium speed. The cream cheese should be as soft and smooth as possible. Stop the mixer. Add the softened butter. Scraped down the sides of the bowl and beat the two together over medium speed until smooth and incorporated. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Blend until incorporated. Add vanilla extract (and bean, if using) and remaining cup of powdered sugar. Beat on medium high speed until frosting is smooth and silky.
- Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting the cake. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving.
- Serve as a Christmas treat and enjoy!
*This cake can be stored, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.