Sneaking in one last recipe before Christmas: this Gingerbread Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting! The cake itself is so soft and flavorful, and the salted caramel frosting is a dream! The cake is one bowl too, making it super easy to whip up for your holiday festivities.
I mean… look at that crumb. 😍 It’s moist and soft and full of those classic and nostalgic gingerbread flavors. I actually had a little bit of a hard time finding molasses at my grocery store. Everyone must be baking up a gingerbread storm! Which is wonderful, honestly.
THE GINGERBREAD CAKE
As with pretty much all of my cakes, this recipe is adapted from my go-to base cake recipe. It’s oil based and produces three nice-sized layers with the perfect texture.
It’s also insanely easy. Like so so easy. I am confident that even the most inexperienced bakers can make this. Here are some key takeaways:
- Start with all room temperature ingredients. I don’t always measure out each ingredient before mixing, but I do like to set out the stuff that needs to come to room temp. Here, that’s milk and eggs. Just measure out what you need and let them sit on the counter while you prepare your cake pans and start adding dry ingredients to your bowl.
- I like to add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk them together. Then add all of the wet ingredients. Then mix with an electric hand-held mixer as opposed to a stand mixer. I tend to accidentally over-mix cake batter with a stand mixer, so this is what works for me!
- Prep your cake pans with baking spray with flour! I have never had any problems with cake layers coming out of the pan this way. Super easy and no fuss!
The Salted Caramel Buttercream
I wanted to do something really fun with the frosting for this cake. While I am an avid lover of cream cheese frosting, which would be an excellent option here, caramel seemed different and still seasonally appropriate!
The main thing to know here is that you want to use a thicker caramel sauce. You can go homemade or store bought, it just needs to be on the thicker side. I already had some jarred caramel sauce from the store and wanted to use it up. Try the Smucker’s Salted Caramel Sauce that’s in the ice cream toppings section of the store. Anything too thin will thin out the frosting, and you’ll need to add more powdered sugar. And we want our frosting to taste like salted caramel, not powdered sugar!
I also like to use a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream in my frostings because it helps create a more whipped and creamy frosting, but feel free to use milk if that’s what you have! You may need to add an extra tablespoon.
I really cannot express how easy this Gingerbread Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting is! Drizzle some extra caramel on top and garnish with some festive sprinkles and sugar rosemary for the perfect holiday look! I love some big frosting swoops too, it just looks so old-fashioned and homemade.
This cake is wonderful with a cup of coffee. Speaking from experience.
Wishing you all a very happy holidays and a Merry Christmas! Happy baking, friends!
MORE GINGERBREAD RECIPES:
Gingerbread Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
Salted Caramel Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 8-oz pkg shortening
- ½ cup thick salted caramel sauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 tbsp heavy cream or milk
- 5 ½ cups powdered sugar
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
- Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, and butter flavoring. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until just blended.
- Add half of milk and half of flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining milk and flour mixture. Mix well.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and set in the center. (Test by inserting a toothpick into the center of each cake layer. If it comes out clean, they're done!)
- Let cakes cool in pans for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- Cream butter on medium-high speed with an electric mixer. With mixer running, add shortening in chunks. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Add salted caramel, vanilla, and heavy cream; mix on high speed until incorporated.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Repeat with second half of powdered sugar, and mix for 1 additional minute.
- Spread frosting between cake layers and over outside of cake. Decorate with additional caramel sauce and sprinkles if desired!
- Store cake covered at room temperature.
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