Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Have your cake and eat it too...with vanilla bean frosting!
Vanilla bean frosting and gingerbread cake are the perfect pair.
David Dial, from Spicedblog, used our vanilla beans to develop something spectacular for the holidays: Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting.
Thinking of the holidays and his favorite flavors, David recalled a previous Christmas of running through the backyard dressed as Santa Clause to delight all the children in his neighborhood. The visualization of a success the first year followed by a second-year failure when he was tackled by the local teenagers really made us laugh. The third neighborhood holiday party, David made cakes— a gingerbread pound cake to be specific. This year he decided to give his Gingerbread cake a fresh new twist and add vanilla bean frosting. For this recipe, David uses the Papua New Guinea Vanilla Tahtiensis, but you can use any type of vanilla bean, vanilla powder, or vanilla extract you like. We hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Cake and Vanilla Frosting
For the Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup molasses
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 vanilla beans, scraped
- 3-4 Tbsp milk
For the Sugared Cranberries:
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup cranberries
Procedure for Making Gingerbread Cake and Vanilla Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (3) 8” round cake pans; set aside.
- Using a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg) together until well combined; set aside.
- Using a countertop mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes on medium speed).
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. (Tip: Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with spatula afterward.)
- Add dry ingredients; mix on low speed until just combined.
- Add molasses, buttermilk and scraped vanilla bean seeds; mix on low speed until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly between 3 cake pans. Bake for 26-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans before turning them out onto cooling racks until completely cool.
- Using a countertop mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (~3 minutes).
- Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition.
- Add salt, scraped vanilla bean and milk; mix on low speed until well combined.
Using a small saucepan, add ½ cup of sugar and water. Place the pan over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
Bring mixture to a light simmer and then remove from heat.
Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
Drain cranberries. (Tip: Reserve this soaking liquid for holiday cocktails!)
Place the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar in a shallow bowl. Add cranberries and toss until well coated.
Spread cranberries out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Let dry at room temperature for 1 hour.
How to Frost the Cake:
Place one layer of cake on a large platter. Spread ~¾-1 cup of vanilla bean frosting on top. Repeat with 2nd and 3rd layers of cake. Use remaining frosting on top and sides of the cake.
Garnish top of the cake with sugared cranberries.
As the sugared cranberries need to soak overnight, David recommends making them the day before you make the cake!