Orange Gingerbread Cake

voracious vander - gingerbread

I know the last thing you want to hear me talk about is how I STILL cannot deal with being in the opposite season of what I’m used to.

But it just doesn’t feel right, you guys.

The symbols of the holiday season are all out of place, for starters. There are no snowmen (or women), disposable pine trees or need for a yule log. And Santa’s apparel makes me sweat just looking at it. Get that man some shorts! Or at least some capri pants.

I started to wonder if the usual heady holiday baking spices were appropriate for the summertime?

I feel like the whole point of using lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves is to warm me up when it’s cold and I’m looking for some comfort wrapped in sugar wrapped in cake.

But really, the point of all of these awesome spices is to make it taste unmistakably like holiday time.

So short answer: they’re totally appropriate.

Despite beach weather and no air conditioning and not feeling like Christmas outside,  it can still taste and smell like Christmas at our place. Making this moist orange-scented gingerbread cake was the perfect way to kick off the season, summer be damned!

Sorry, I’m being dramatic.

No need to damn a whole glorious season. Just serve your gingerbread with a scoop of maple ice cream (yes, maple) and maybe start to think that this whole summer Christmas thing isn’t so bad.

vv - baking gingerbread

Food 2012 092

Notes: The original recipe called for a 8×8-inch square (or 9-inch round) baking pan but I used a loaf pan instead. Do what you’d like, I just happen to love a humble loaf. Joy also made a frosting for hers, which looks beyond amazing. Due to lack of snow, I was in more of a dusting of icing sugar mood. 

Orange Gingerbread Loaf Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker’s recipe

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsulphered molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F/175 C. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment paper.  Set pan aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs until thick and pale.  Stir in molasses and orange zest.

Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the wet ingredients.  Stir together until entirely incorporated.  Add the warm water and gently stir until entirely incorporated and the mixture is silky smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  If you find that the mixture fills the pan more than three-quarters of the way full, you might consider using a larger pan (a 9 or 10-inch cake pan may serve your better).

Bake cake for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Mine took the full 45 minutes.)

Allow to cool completely and dust with icing sugar.


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