This past Saturday, we celebrated Bill’s sister Nellie’s birthday. Since she has a December birthday, and absolutely LOVED our Gingerbread Muffins, I had the idea to make a gingerbread layer cake for her, topped with cream cheese frosting, but I wasn’t sure if it would be too much. After a quick Google search, I found that gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese frosting is totally a thing! I had no clue.
After the relief of finding out that people do make gingerbread cakes, I then looked up if it was possible to use cream cheese frosting to pipe flowers on cakes. I really wanted to make a rosette cake for her, but I also really wanted to make cream cheese frosting for this cake, and cream cheese typically is too soft for any sort of piping. I was thrilled to find out that Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting is also a thing, and the addition of the butter helps firm up the frosting enough that you can pipe with it!
(this is the crumb coat of frosting – referenced lower in the post)
A few people also said to add extra powdered sugar if your frosting is still too soft for piping, and another option is to refrigerate it prior to piping. I did both, and I found that the refrigeration wasn’t actually necessary for how quickly I was able to pipe the roses on the cake, and I also found that refrigerating the frosting resulted in texture issues when piping. The roses that I piped with the non-refrigerated frosting were much smoother, and applied a lot better.
For the cake, I used the recipe by Gluten Free on a Shoestring, for The Very Best Gluten Free Vanilla Cake. I had made this cake in November as well, and it really is the very best! I have mentioned here and there that I don’t really do grain-free baking anymore. I’ve found that myself, and many others seem to tolerate gluten-free baked goods better than grain-free baked goods. I do well with coconut flour, but to get a really good texture of cake, you really need to use almond flour, and nuts don’t agree with me very well. Bill’s dad also has a sensitivity to almonds, so I just avoid the grain-free flours for baking now. For this cake I used an all purpose gluten free flour blend that we get at Whole Foods, but it is made by our local gluten free bakery, Gluuteny. It’s really wonderful. I also suggest Better Batter, which is a gluten-free flour you can purchase on Amazon. I used two 6 inch spring form cake pans to bake this cake, because I prefer a more petite cake. I feel the presentation is nicer, and it’s the perfect size to serve a small group of people (up to 10 people). You will still have many, many leftovers!
I did sub palm shortening for butter, only because I had a good amount of palm shortening, and only enough butter to make the frosting. I also used tapioca starch where there recipe called for cornstarch. Besides those two changes, I made this recipe as written.
To create the gingerbread flavor, I simply added 2 tablespoons of our Gingersnap spice blend (Currently 15% off on Amazon!), and 1/4 cup of organic blackstrap molasses. It was the perfect amount to give this cake all of the flavors of gingerbread, but not be too overpowering.
For the frosting, I did equal parts cream cheese and butter, at room temperature. I added 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and around 5 cups of organic powdered sugar, sifted. I know, powdered sugar is SO not Paleo, or healthy, but who ever said birthday cakes were supposed to be healthy?
To frost the cake, I did a thick layer of frosting between the two cakes, a crumb coat, then a second coat of frosting, and then I piped the roses using my Wilton 1M piping tip. I would suggest you keep this cake refrigerated until you are about 45 minutes from serving, just because of the cream cheese in the frosting.
Unfortunately, I do not have a recipe for this cake, because I followed other recipes. If you would prefer a more “Paleo” cake, you can make our Gingerbread Muffins in cake form, and use one of our recipes for frosting. We have many here on the site, which use powdered sugar, or maple sugar, or maple syrup.
I will be making this cake again for Christmas dinner at Bill’s Aunt’s house. It was absolutely delicious!
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