I recently made this cake for a friend’s birthday celebration. I was torn on what to make and had tossed around the ideas of perhaps red velvet or maybe caramel — that is until I took the first bite of a gingerbread spice chocolate bar by Theo. The flavors of chocolate with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and more… Simple yet delicious.
I decided to make a play on those flavors with this cake (and kick it up a notch). I started with a relatively healthy cake recipe — applesauce instead of butter, and half whole wheat flour for a bit more substance and texture (I’d say it’s pretty low-fat alone; with the buttercream? Not so much...)
To make the cake a bit more “mature,” I wanted to some stout (a natural partner to molasses) to make the gingerbread rich and moist, but didn’t have any — an amber ale stepped in. A slight drizzle of Grand Marnier was trickled into the buttercream frosting to compliment the spiciness of the gingerbread. Topping it off, I candied some tangerine and orange peels to enhance and draw out the orange flavor of the liqueur.