This week’s TWD recipe heralds the beginning of the holiday baking season, at least for us. Anything involving gingerbread is a definite favorite in our house, invoking fond memories of baking with Mom and Oma – three generations in the kitchen, gathered around the table, cooking and baking together. Albeit a very rare occasion, made possible only during our not so frequent visits to Germany.
Instead of its namesake, today’s recipe reminded us more of the British “treacle cake”, served on bonfire night, than the typical gingerbread, or German Lebkuchen, that we are familiar with. Treacle cake, to the best of our knowledge, in addition to the liberal use of ginger, both fresh and dried, is made with other spices such as nutmeg and cloves, but otherwise is almost identical to this gingerbread cake.
For anyone wishing to make this cake, the precise recipe can be found in Baking with Julia on page 247-248. Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories, is the host for this recipe and has the original directions and ingredients listed on her website. Please also check out the contributions from the other members of our group by checking this link.
Naturally, our contribution is entirely gluten free with the following substitutions. Instead of 2 cups of regular flour, we substituted 1 cup each of brown rice flour and tapioca flour with the addition of 1-1/2 tsp. of guar gum. Since we couldn’t find espresso powder (is there such a thing?) we used instant coffee granules, which seemed to work just as well. We only had raw cocoa powder in the house and used that instead of the regular unsweetened cocoa powder. As always, we replaced the brown sugar with coconut sugar, but we cut down the recommended 2 cups of molasses to 1-1/2 cups. Other than that, we followed the recipe exactly as it is written in the book. We turned our recipe into a cake, using a 10-inch spring form, lined with parchment paper, instead of the called for baby cakes, requiring a 50 minute baking time.
It baked beautifully, filling the house with the sweet and gingery smell of Christmas. What a very welcome change to the smell of house paint, that has taken up most of our spare time over the last two weeks. November and December, at least so far, have been exceptionally mild with temperatures that have allowed us to paint – a job that had been waiting to be completed for some time. The previous owners had selected a rather bright tone of red for the trim, which over time with the high UV at our high elevation had degraded into a rather unappealing orange brick red. None of us ever appreciated the color choice, and are happy to finally be able to change it into a more beautiful creamy white. A couple more days and it should all be done – weather permitting.
Yesterday, after coming in cold and sore from painting, we finally got to taste the cake, prepared yesterday morning. It was everything the recipe promised – just not gingerbread. It was moist and rich with the predominant flavors being ginger and molasses. This cake is delicious and we would be making it again, but only for the special occasion of the holidays. It is very rich. We served it with a dollop of whipped cream.
41 thoughts on “Gingerbread Cake”
Nice to read this bought back great family memories…lovely photos of the cake…nice lighting too… I like those snowflakes slowly falling…how’d you do that?
Nice to hear you liked our post. We enjoyed this recipe very much.
The snowflakes falling can be engaged by going into settings, click on General, scroll down to the bottom of the page and check the box to initiate the falling snow. WordPress does this every holiday season, but you need to enable it.
Inge and Gillian
Inge and Gillian, thank you for sharing the ‘snow flakes’… 🙂
I’ll go and try it…
Carmen, you are very welcome. It does make it festive.
Always impressed that you can make the recipes gluten free! Your cake looks great. And yes, there is espresso powder. It is instant coffee…just espresso instead of regular coffee. I found mine in an italian grocery store.
Thanks for the great tip, Sandra.
Nice way to adapt this recipe to fit your needs! Your cake looks delicious.
Thanks, Lola. Glad you enjoyed it.
Amazing that you can do this, and the photos are amazing. I love the holiday look you achieved.
Thanks, Karen. We had a lot of fun making this recipe, creating a festive spirit along the way.
Treacle cake. I haven’t thought of that in YEARS!! yes, it is similar.
I am sending friends to your site because they are becoming gluten free. Know they will love your creations.
Thanks for sharing our site. We really appreciate it. Having family members from England, treacle cake was one of the first desserts we thought of, after tasting this recipe.
Your cake looks delicious! The snowflakes are a cute addition. At first I thought I was seeing things – lol. I got my paper pans from Sur La Table, but just about any culinary store should have them. Also Amazon carries them as well as the espresso powder!
Hi Cathleen, Thanks again for visiting. Your tips are much appreciated. Every year, WordPress does a great job with the snowflakes.
What a lovely looking cake! And you have already bought candy canes 🙂 I also love baking with coconut sugar – I am sure it has brought a nice layer to all the robust spices.
Thanks. Coconut sugar is the best, especially for a cake like this.
You are right! I couldn’t taste anything over the strong molasses taste. I was hoping for gingerbread too!
This recipe definitely benefits from cutting down on the amount of molasses used. In our case, it was initially just by accident (we ran out), but in hindsight it was just perfect. Using coconut sugar instead of regular sugar also makes a difference. Thanks for the follow.
Your cake looks fabulous, and kudos for making it gluten free too.
Thanks for stopping by.
I’m always very grateful for your recipes as there is no other way to cook in our house. And, your cookbooks are just as wonderful as this blog.
Thank you so much!
¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
Thanks Linda. Much appreciated. The painting is done. Hoping to post a few more holiday recipes over the next few days. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Inge and Gillian
I’m just starting to experiement with some gluten-free recipes, so your blog is an inspiration. Cutting down on the amount of molasses was a good move – the flavor was very strong. For the instant espresso, I used some Starbucks Via instant Italian Roast coffee packets. Your cake looks delicious, especially with the candy canes.
Thanks. This cake does lend itself for a festive occasion. We couldn’t find espresso powder, but instant coffee seemed to work equally well for us. It was great hearing from you.
wow, this looks teriffic. you are right–it’s like treacle cake. no wonder it was a little too strong for my tastes. i think i was missing the cream and candy canes–good idea!
Hi, Steph. Thanks. Less is definitely better as far as molasses is concerned. It is a festive cake, though.
glad it was a positive experience. Your photos are beautiful–they look good enough to eat!
Inge and gillian.. I really enjoyyour gluten-free adaptations of each of these recipes!! and yes i too loved the way the smell of ginger overtook the kitchen.. 15 minutes into the baking time!!
For hours afterwards, the delicious aroma of ginger permeated our house. It felt like stepping into a bakery just walking through the door ;-). But, since this cake is so very rich, very small servings are a must.
OuU!!!! Your cake looks great!! I love the idea of adding candy canes. So festive!
In the Harry Potter books, treacle cake would always come up and I never knew what it was. Now I know. And knowing is half the battle. 😀 Thanks!
Never thought of Harry Potter when making this recipe, though the books are a favorite. But now that you mention it … Treacle cake seems to be a British favorite.
I enjoyed reading your blog and it was interesting to learn about Treacle cake. I loved your idea to add candy canes!
The candy canes added a nice touch for the photos. The cake certainly didn’t need more sugar!?! The whipped cream, however, was a welcome addition. Thanks for stopping by.
Awesome!!! your cake looks so beautiful!!!!!
I didn’t like so much this recipe but your gingerbread seems so good, so moist….Glad you enjoyed it!!!
It was a winner with everyone in our family. However, it is not gingerbread in the classic sense. Thanks for visiting and Happy Holidays.
Your gingerbread looks great. Glad you were able to make a gluten-free version and that you enjoyed it. Very pretty with the peppermint.
Thanks, Elaine. This one was easy and fun to make.
I am always amazed at your gluten-free creations and this time was no exception! Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog. http://www.praycookblog.com
Thanks, Catherine. You are very welcome. Happy Holidays.
Inge and Gillian: your cake looks so moist and has such a wonderful dark and warm color – I am sure that I would have enjoyed a taste with a bit of whipped cream. You took wonderful pictures, very festive!