This gingerbread cake is perfection. Super moist, tender, and mildly spiced, this holiday dessert is sure to win over your guests.
When it comes to gingerbread, I can be extremely picky. I have had bad and good gingerbreads before, and they always stick to my mind for a long time afterwards. There are indeed many variations among gingerbread and gingerbread cake recipes. Some of them are more on the (dark) bread side in terms of texture and not too sweet in taste, while others have a deep, intense and sweet flavor, with a moist texture.
Then comes the subtle balance to find between the spices, and the choice of flours. While most of the American versions use all-purpose flours exclusively, French gingerbreads tend to mix all-purpose and rye flour, sometimes whole wheat flour. In my opinion, there are no rights or wrongs within all existing versions. They are just different recipes to eat for different occasions, as a snack for tea time, as a toast along with savory foods, as an experience in itself to dive into the holiday mood. In the end, it’s more a matter of personal tastes than anything else.
The version I’m sharing with you today is not my very first one. Indeed, I have shared a couple of gingerbread recipes with you before. One of them is a vegan version I used in this Vegan Caramel Gingerbread Naked Cake. The cakes themselves can be used as separate single cakes. Dark and dense in color, this vegan version holds its shape beautifully. The other one is the so-called French Spice Cake “Gingerbread”, with a bread texture and a light color, pairing perfectly with savory food like here with these Gingerbread Toasts with Foie Gras and Pear Confit.
And here I am today with another version. The challenge was for me to find a perfectly moist and tender texture. I played with the liquid ingredients, milk and melted butter, and added freshly brewed coffee too. Use strong coffee and it will also enhance the deep flavors of the cake. Note that the gingerbread cake does not taste coffee though, and you most certainly won’t find out there is some in the recipe.
Now if you really don’t want to use coffee, you can definitely do without in the recipe. The only condition is to replace it with the same amount of another liquid. Tea would do, but I would mostly advise you simply replace coffee with milk (so there will be even more milk in the recipe). In any case, make sure you heat the coffee-milk mixture (or alternatively the milk texture only). Used lukewarm/warm, it is easier to incorporate into the batter, especially if the honey you use is a little bit hard. You want the batter to be perfectly soft and smooth.
At this point, I place the gingerbread cake batter in the refrigerator. The longer you will leave it in the refrigerator the moister the texture will be. Ideally I recommend 1 hour, but if you do not have that much time ahead of you, you will be happy to know that it works even if you remove it earlier (try to leave it 1-20 minutes at least). When ready, bake it for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool completely into the loaf pan before inverting and serving, or the cake might collapse and will not taste its best. So even if it’s hard, I ask for a little patience here, you will thank me later.
Enjoy as is for breakfast, with a glaze, whipped cream or ice cream for tea time, or use it as toasts for a subtle sweet and savory appetizer.
If you are interested in this last idea, make sure you check the blog these coming days, as there will be a delicious new recipe using this gingerbread cake. To keep your cake moist, wrap it in cling film and keep at room temperature for a couple of days or so (if you don’t eat it up entirely before that).
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon (100 ml) milk
- 3 Tablespoons (50 ml) strong coffee*
- 2 cloves
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon (90g) butter
- ½ cup (90g) light or dark brown sugar**
- 6 ounces (180g) honey
- 1 large egg
- ⅔ cup (80g) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (80g) rye flour, or whole wheat flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ½ teaspoon ginger, ground
- In measuring cup placed in the microwave, heat the milk with the coffee. Infuse the cloves, and set aside.
- In a separate saucepan, melt the butter with sugar and honey. Let cool slightly for about 2 minutes, then add the egg, whisking vigorously to prevent from cooking the egg.
- In a medium bowl, mix both flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Pour the butter-honey mixture into the dry ingredients, then slowly pour in the milk, stirring well.
- Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C) and grease a 9x4-inch (24 x 10 cm) loaf pan.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool completely into the loaf pan before serving.
** Keep in mind than brown sugar will make your gingerbread cake darker and stronger in flavor.