A moist and tender ginger-molasses packed snack cake, for the holidays or anytime you get that comforting gingerbread craving. Gingerbread Snack Cake with Ginger Beer (my secret ingredient) is simple to make and one bowl easy! vegan
Winter Solstice shines so bright in my heart. As we transition to a new season and prepare for winter months ahead, I think it important to follow nature’s cues.
Turning inward for reflection, exploring and leaning into the darkness. Finding comfort in stillness and quiet of the season. Seeking out the beauty of the night sky, nature’s winter delights and enjoying comforting food in the company of loved ones.
Typically, and because of the holidays, it’s the busiest time of year. But also, it’s a time to slow down, and for self-care. Spending time in nature, despite the cold, invigorates my spirit and helps quiet my mind.
I’ve embraced the idea of my own hibernation of sorts too, and yield to the need for more sleep. I admit, a cozy warm bed is hard to resist.
During these months of slowing down, I also love to bake. Mixing, kneading, and shaping has a way with nurturing my soul and as a bonus, feed those I love. Sharing homemade gifts is one of my favorite ways to give, but also, simply, and selfishly, for my own mental health.
I’ve needed it more than ever this past year.
Gingerbread has a way with going right to my comfort receptors. I could easily devour half this cake. Though, I gave much of it away through my testing process. Least I have to find a larger pair of stretchy pants. I mean with all the cookies, cocktails and munching…
While researching gingerbread cake, I found many included boiling water or stout beer, in combination with baking soda, to leaven the cake. But I thought I’d give ginger beer a go instead. It lends sweetness and gingery flavor to the cake. Despite its name, it’s non alcoholic and tastes similar to ginger ale, yet with a punchier ginger finish. It’s fabulous in cocktails too.
While I’ve made this cake dairy and egg free, ginger beer isn’t always vegan, so be sure to check, if this is of concern, or make your own (Kate shows us how). Fever-Tree is vegan (and gluten free), and it happens to be my favorite.
Gingerbread Snack Cake with Ginger Beer comes together with ease. It can be whipped up in one bowl using a stand mixer or a sturdy whisk and strong-arm. There’s a bit of drama too, when incorporating the ginger beer and baking soda.
Just before incorporating it into the cake batter, the ginger beer is heated then combined with the baking soda to create a fizzy bubbly mixture. Reminiscent of middle school science; it’s satisfying to watch.
This cake is rich in molasses, and super moist with a good balance of spices. The top has a paper-thin crust that yields to reveal a tender crumb.
Wishing y’all a most beautiful and festive holiday season, with more joy than your heart can hold. I’ll be taking some time away from the blog for all of the above, until after the new year.
Until then, thank you all for a brilliant 2017! I’m grateful for you.
Gingerbread Snack Cake with Ginger Beer
A moist and tender ginger-molasses packed snack cake, for the holidays or anytime you get that comforting gingerbread craving. Gingerbread Snack Cake with Ginger Beer (my secret ingredient) is simple to make and one bowl easy! vegan *Time below does not include time for the cake to cool.
- 2 1/4 C (350g) Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 C (200g) Coconut Oil unrefined, melted and warm to the touch
- 1 C (345g) Molasses unsulphured
- 3/4 C (140g) Light Brown Sugar packed, break up any clumps
- 1/2 C (135g) Apple Sauce unsweetened, room temperature
- 6.8 oz (200g) Ginger Beer scant one cup, (I like Fever-Tree)
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 - 2 Tbs Fresh Ginger minced or microplaned, adjust to taste
- A Dusting of Powder Sugar
- Sugared Cranberries
- Fresh Whipped Cream coconut or dairy
Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Set baking rack in center of oven. Grease a 9"x9" (22.8cm X 22.8cm) baking pan (see note for alternative baking pan size), then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, sift in the flour, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, sea salt and baking powder. Whisk and set aside.
Mix the Wet Ingredients: Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature and the coconut oil is warm to the touch. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl and a whisk), add the coconut oil, molasses, sugar and apple sauce to the bowl. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes (or whisk vigorously for about 1 minute). The ingredients should be emulsified when ready to move on. Scrape the bowl all the way down to make sure none of the sugar is setting in the bottom. If the coconut oil solidifies in the mix, gently warm the mixture until it is melted again.
Finish the Batter: Add all the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl at once and pulse in on low until incorporated - about 10 seconds, then scrape down bowl (or gently fold in by hand for about 30 seconds, or until there is no sign of dry flour). Meanwhile, heat the ginger beer until it's almost boiling in a small sauce pot (stove top) or large spouted measuring cup (microwave). I do this in the microwave and heat it for one minute. It should be at least 160F (71C). Sprinkle the baking soda into the ginger beer slowly. It will bubble and fizz up. Pour the very hot ginger beer mixture into the batter and mix on the lowest speed, pulsing in, being careful not to let it slosh out of the bowl - about 10 seconds (or carefully stir in for about 20 seconds, or until incorporated). Add the fresh grated ginger and pulse in - about 5 seconds (or gently fold in). The batter will be loose and you'll notice the leavening action happening right away.
Ready to Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Using an offset spatula, make sure the batter is distributed evenly, if needed. Place the cake on the center rack and bake at 350F for 45 - 50 minutes (I start checking mine right at 45 minutes). The cake is ready when a tooth-pick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and it springs back when gently pressed in the center. The cake will slightly dip in the center after removing it from the oven. Cool on a cooling rack, in the pan, for at least an hour.
Gently remove the cake from the pan using the parchment paper as handles. Cut evenly into 16 pieces and place on serving platter. Dust with powder sugar, top with whipped cream and a sugared cranberry. Store at room temperature in a covered container for up to four days.
The flavor of this cake seems to be even better on day two. After setting overnight, covered, the edges soften and the top becomes a bit shinier.
I've only baked this recipe in a 9x9" pan, however there are other options! Cookie and Cups has a baking pan equivalent chart for your convenience. Just remember, that the baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the cake. The thinner the cake, the less time to bake.
An external oven thermometer will ensure your oven is at the proper temperature. Ovens vary widely in their temperature fluctuations and/or calibration (even new ovens). For example, I have to set my oven to 365F to get it to 350F, and sometimes I have to futz with raising and lowering the temperature to get it just right. Even a 10 degree temperature difference can throw off a baked, mostly cakes, cookies and pudding (sweets) recipes.