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This gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese german buttercream is the perfect Christmas cake! With the perfect balance of spices and sweetness along with the flavor and moisture of molasses, this cake is sure to be a holiday favorite. It's decorated in a luscious cream cheese german buttercream that seriously tastes like cheesecake! What's better than gingerbread and creamy cheesecake?! Umm, nothing...
Ingredients you'll need to make this gingerbread layer cake:
- All-Purpose Flour: You'll need a little more than 2 ⅓ cup of flour.
- Baking Powder: You'll need 2 ¼ tsp baking powder.
- Spices: I used a combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Milk: Use whole milk for the best flavor.
- Yogurt: Use plain whole milk Greek yogurt for the best flavor.
- Butter: You'll a little more than one stick of unsalted butter at room temperature.
- Brown Sugar: For the richest molasses flavor, use dark brown sugar in the cake.
- Oil: Use any neutral oil, like vegetable, canola, or light-tasting olive oil.
- Molasses: Be sure to use unsulphured molasses.
- Eggs: You'll need 3 eggs at room temperature.
5 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR HOW TO DECORATE A LAYER CAKE:
- Use cake strips to achieve flat cake layers! This eliminates the need to trim the top of the cake.
- Make the cake layers at least one day before decorating and freeze them overnight. Decorating frozen cake layers eliminates the need for a crumb coat, which means less time decorating and more time eating!
- Make the frosting the day of! You do not want to run the risk that your buttercream didn’t warm up enough after being in the fridge all night. Buttercream that isn’t at the right temperature will split and look grainy when you stir it. Avoid the headache of going back and forth between heating it over a double boiler to bring it back together and chilling it down to the right consistency. Of course, if it’s a ganache, like in this recipe, you’ll want it to thicken overnight in the fridge.
- Use an ice cream or cookie dough scoop to measure out an equal amount of buttercream/frosting for each layer. I normally use three, 3 tbsp scoops per layer.
- Allow the decorated cake to sit out at room temperature for several hours to defrost before serving.
OTHER GINGERBREAD RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE:
- Small Batch Gingerbread Caramel S'mores Bars
- Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts with Gingersnap Crust and Brown Sugar Meringue
- Soft Brown Butter Molasses Cookies
- Spiced Macarons with Gingerbread German Buttercream
- Classic Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
A few tips to make this gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese german buttercream:
- If you use cake strips, the cakes will take a lot longer to bake. I used DIY cake strips instead, so they would still bake up flat, but not take too long to bake.
- For the pastry cream, it can be difficult to tell when milk is simmering, so a good rule of thumb is to simply bring it to about 195-200 degrees F.
- If you'd rather make a traditional cream cheese frosting, I have one here.
- P.S. If you love these speckled ceramic plates, you can find them here! They are made by Mora Ceramics, one of my absolute favorite ceramic companies! These are the Rimmed and Speckled Salad Plates, which are 7.8" - the perfect size for a big piece of cake!
Happy baking! xPrint
With the perfect balance of spices and sweetness along with the flavor and moisture of molasses, this cake is sure to be a holiday favorite. It's decorated in a luscious cream cheese german buttercream that seriously tastes like cheesecake!
For the Cake:
- 290g all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
- 12g cinnamon
- 10g ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- 272g milk
- 140g yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 136g unsalted butter (room temp)
- 256g dark brown sugar
- 115g neutral oil
- 105g molasses
- 3 eggs (room temp)
For the Buttercream:
- 4 egg yolks
- 198g granulated sugar
- 24g cornstarch
- 340g milk
- 340g unsalted butter (room temp)
- 170g cream cheese (room temp)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- ¼ tsp salt
For the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line three 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Warm it slightly in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the bowl, then add in the oil and molasses, and mix until fully combined.
- Next, add in the eggs, mixing between each addition.
- Then, alternate adding the dry and milk, yogurt mixture.
- Use a rubber spatula to make sure everything is combined and nothing is settled at the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter in the cake pans and bake for about 34-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool for a few minutes, then turn out of the pans to cool completely.
- Decorate the cake once the layers are completely cool, or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
For the Buttercream:
- Start with the pastry cream – heat the milk in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer or about 200 degrees F.
- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together for 2-3 minutes until light in color.
- Once the milk is simmering, slowly pour half into the egg-sugar mixture, whisking at the same time to temper the eggs.
- Pour everything back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly. After a couple minutes, a layer of bubbles will form over the top and it will begin to thicken.
- Once the bubbles disappear, continue whisking for one more minute, then remove from heat.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly up against the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill overnight. Alternatively, you could place the bowl of pastry cream over a water bath and whisk constantly until it cools down to 70 degrees F – you can immediately turn it into buttercream at this point.
- If the pastry cream was chilled overnight, make the buttercream by beating the pastry cream for about 10 minutes on low speed until it warms up to about 70 degrees.
- Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, and beat on medium speed. If it looks curdled at all, continue beating on low speed until smooth.
- Add the cream cheese, vanilla paste, and salt, and beat until fully incorporated.
- Secure the first cake layer on the cake stand with a small amount of buttercream on the bottom. Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to measure out the buttercream for each layer. I used a 3 tbsp cookie scoop and put 3 scoops of buttercream on each layer. Place the second cake layer on top, and add another 3, 3 tbsp of buttercream on top, then place the last cake layer on top.
- If your cake layers were frozen overnight (which I highly recommend doing), then there is no need for a crumb coat. Decorate cake as desired with the buttercream.
- Keep the cake at room temperature until ready to serve.