Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread is without a doubt mandatory Christmas food. In German, gingerbread or Lebkuchen translates as “Bread of Life.” Large chewy or hard cookies and houses, or chewy honey cake gingerbread is often festively decorated for the season.  The epitome of traditional European food, gingerbread is must have holiday treat. Comforting spices inviting the season of darkness, making the coldness soothingly spicy and perfectly sweet. This gingerbread cake variation is one that utilizes entirely non traditional items such as cream cheese, and banana to make a moist nutrient dense cake without an excess of butter or oil. Orange zest, cardamom, cinnamon, and dried fruit pack a punch. Fresh and dried ginger round out this cake to be something truly special.

Gingerbread Cake

This mix and dump cake is fairly forgiving. You can use oil or butter, it doesn’t make much difference. Use paper bake-n-give pans and package it up as cute as can be. I’m not into the IN YOUR FACE holiday packaging, bright shiny bobbles, in your face holiday cheer? Bah Humbug Too cute for me! Plastic wrap and a bow and/or tag are sufficient. If you don’t have bake and give pans you can use loaf pans, muffin tins, or mini  loaf pans. This recipe makes two bake and give ring cakes. You can use a 9 x 13″ pan, or a variety of other standard pans. (Fill bundt or loaf pans approximately half way.)

Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, raw or brown
  • 1 banana, medium sized
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 + tablespoons orange zest, (from 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease two bake and give ring pans, or one 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray. (or butter)

In a large bowl combine wet ingredients. In the order listed. First with cream cheese, sugar, banana and butter together. Mix until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, combining after each addition. Add vanilla, orange zest, and grated ginger.

In another bowl combine spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Whisk together to remove any lumps. Add half of the orange juice and dry mixture into the wet bowl. Whisk to combine. Combine remaining quantities of orange juice and dry mixture to the bowl. Mix to combine. Spread evenly into pans. You can use shaped tins, muffin tins, bread pans or whatever pan you prefer. Baking time may vary.

Bake 23-25 minutes or until toothpick tests clean.

Note: Use 3/4 cup brown sugar for a little less sweetness. You can also modify the quantity of whole wheat and unbleached flour. It is up to your families tastes. My kids will eat some whole grains, but not too much.