Gingerbread Layer Cake
Why This Recipe Works
We wanted the dark, moist crumb and spicy bite of gingerbread in a tender, sophisticated layer cake. For fiery flavor, we added 2 tablespoons each of ground ginger and freshly grated ginger, and we enhanced that heat with both white pepper and cayenne pepper. Molasses and coffee contributed moisture, rich color, and pleasantly bitter notes that worked well with the spices and sweetness. Cocoa powder, an unexpected ingredient in gingerbread, added depth to the color and the flavor and, as it is mostly gluten-free starch and fat, it increased the cake’s tenderness. To avoid the challenge of slicing thicker layers in half horizontally, we baked four thin layers in two batches. Finally, a silky, fluffy, and not-too-sweet ermine frosting, made by beating softened butter into a cooked gel made with milk, sugar, and starch, showed off the spicy, tender cake to its best advantage.