Gingerbread Layer Cake with Brown Butter Icing

A photograph of a gingerbread layer cake with brown butter icing

Serves 12



  • • ⅔ cup butter
  • • 125 g cream cheese, softened
  • • 2 ½ cups icing sugar
  • • ⅓ cup chopped crystallized ginger


  • • 1 cup fancy molasses
  • • 1 cup hot water
  • • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • • ½ tsp salt
  • • ¼ tsp cloves
  • • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • • 4 eggs
  • • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • • ½ cup brown sugar
  • • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring until nutty brown, 4 to 5 min. Pour into a medium bowl, leaving brown bits in pan. Let cool 10 min. Refrigerate until butter is cold and firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 2 9-in. round cake pans with oil and line bottoms with parchment.
  3. Whisk molasses with hot water in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in baking soda. Let stand for 10 min.
  4. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  5. Whisk eggs, oil, both sugars and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk in molasses mixture. Gradually whisk in flour mixture just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 min. Run a knife around edge of pans and turn out onto rack. Remove parchment and cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Beat cold brown butter with an electric mixer on medium-high, until light and creamy, about 3 min. Beat in cream cheese until smooth, about 4 min. Reduce speed to medium-low. Gradually add icing sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until combined, 5 more min.
  7. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Spread half of the icing overtop. Add second cake layer. Spread remaining icing overtop. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger.
Chatelaine Easy Holiday TreatsChatelaine spreads festive cheer with this flavourful feast. Also in the December issue: show-stopping cookies and treats, all with the triple-tested seal.
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