Applesauce Ginger Cake (Like Starbucks Holiday Gingerbread)
Did you know, the gingerbread loaf cake at Starbucks is really pretty good? It's also a bit expensive. You don't always notice the $1.85 when you buy a few drinks. I had to wait a whole year to get my fix, because this treat is only available between Thanksgiving and roughly New Year's. I scoured the Internet last January but didn't find a suitable recipe. I gave up and ate Lemon Pound Cake or Pumpkin Bread.
This gingerbread season, I managed to buy a whole slab from the store nearest to home. It was barely a bargain at about $13.00, but I had 8 slices to myself, in my fridge at home.
The best part of this little story, I was dancing around the kitchen, hugging my just-purchased package of yummy cake with such joy. Then my husband broke the moment of bliss by asking what the hell I was doing to that cake?
Ahem. Dancing. And reading the ingredient list on the top of the package! Ha HA! Light bulb! Moment of inspiration! I knew it was time to try again.
So I rechecked Ye Olde Internet for some recipe input. Honestly, people of the Internet, would it really that big of a stretch for you all to try something new? Because I'm tired, TIRED, of doing a search and seeing the same old recipe reposted by 41,300 different people. So HA! I made it myself.
Really, I have never considered myself to be such a pioneer of cooking. To try making something myself from scratch, not such a stretch of the imagination for me. Apparently, I am of the minority. It seems that more and more people rely on others for this sort of thing. Getting recipes, buying prepared food, not knowing what to do with your food... I guess I'm surprised, with a hint of disappointment thrown in there. I will continue to blaze this trail for others to follow because I like it. I like to cook. I like to experiment. I like food...Anyhow, I digress.
I expended honest-to-goodness effort! With mistakes! And good progress! With actually considering the actual ingredients listed on the product itself. No, there is no mustard, dry or otherwise, for "kick"! And no molasses. Honest! So technically, it's not a true gingerbread! Except that it does contain crystallized ginger and ground ginger. That's why I called this recipe "Applesauce Ginger Cake."
After much joy from eating the store-bought "gingerbread" (at about 500 calories per slice mind you), and attempting my own home-made version, (and less joy from realizing that I had gained about 10 lbs in a month), I will now present to you my homemade version of Starbucks Holiday Gingerbread Cake.
Ingredients for the cake
1/2 cup butter, salted, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (this makes it more brown looking)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup finely minced candied mild ginger
Method for the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
3. In the mixer, add the applesauce, vanilla, and flour-spice mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides and mix again.
4. Add the candied ginger and mix just until incorporated.
5. Pour batter into a greased (or nonstick-sprayed) 5"x9" loaf pan. Smooth out the top. Bake about 55 minutes. If you do a toothpick test, it should come out sort of shiny and it's OK if a little bit of crumb sticks to the toothpick. You just don't want it to be goop stuck to the toothpick.
6. Let cool in the pan about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack
to finish cooling.
7. Decorate with orange cream cheese icing and candied orange pieces (recipe below). To make it look more like SBUX, I will not go all the way to the platter with the icing, but you can if you like. Also, I've noticed that if you can manage to wait overnight, the flavors meld and then it really tastes like Starbucks.
Ingredients for the orange cream cheese icing
1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened to about room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup candied orange peel
Method for the orange cream cheese icing
1. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar in intervals, beating after each addition, about 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Add the vanilla and orange extracts and beat until smooth.
If you like this, you might also like these recipes.
Thai Iced Tea
Matcha Green Tea Latte
Lemon Pound Cake
Pumpkin Bread (like Starbucks)