I don’t always post desserts on my blog (since I try to keep things as fresh and low sugar as possible), but when I do… I make sure it’s good. And this Spicy Gingerbread Cake with Orange Mascarpone Cream doesn’t disappoint! This is the PERFECT holiday dessert.
Best of all: it’s mostly sweetened with molasses (which, fun fact, is an awesome source of calcium, iron, and magnesium) instead of refined sugar.
The cake is not too sweet, and it’s full of all the delicious holiday spices you love, including both ground AND fresh ginger.
And the orange mascarpone cream is fluffy, light, and divine- the fresh orange flavor pairs perfectly with the gingerbread cake.
In the spring, we planted a satsuma orange tree in our back yard. It’s thrived this year, and has produced upwards of 20 oranges. That’s tons, for such a new, itty-bitty tree!
Satsumas are one of the most popular kind of Mandarin oranges, and are known for how juicy they are. Which makes them perfect for cooking. I used satsuma zest and juice in the whipped cream, but you can use any kind of orange you want – Mandarin or otherwise – to make it.
Ever since seeing Stress Baking’s Mascarpone Whipped Cream recipe, I’ve been aching to try it out. I just LOVE mascarpone cheese.
Usually found in Italian desserts like tiramisu or cannoli, it’s a very soft and somewhat sweet cheese that’s creamy, decadent, and delicious. In this recipe, it thickens the whipped cream a bit and adds a smooth, velvety flavor and texture to the mix. It’s simple and lets the fresh orange shine, and it compliments the spices in the cake perfectly.
As with the cake, the orange mascarpone whipped cream isn’t too sweet and only has 1/4 cup of sugar in the whole batch. Which means you can definitely, without a doubt, eat it by the spoonful while you are waiting patiently for the cake to bake. Right?
The cake really is just a traditional recipe for fresh gingerbread, but since I made it in a round pan and served it like a cake, I called it a cake. It’s best served warm in all its gooey, sticky, molassesey glory, topped with the cool whipped cream.
I love using fresh ginger in desserts (like in these spicy ginger date cookies)– for this cake, I used both fresh AND ground to add an awesome, spicy, gingery punch.
The orange mascarpone whipped cream can be made a few days in advance. The cake can be made a day in advance, but since it’s best served warm, I recommend reheating the slices in the microwave for a few seconds just before serving. Alternatively, since the cake takes a good hour to bake, it would be easy to throw it in the oven during your holiday dinner. By the time everyone is done eating and has digested a bit, it will be ready to go!
Spicy Gingerbread Cake with Orange Mascarpone Cream
For the Spicy Gingerbread Cake:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated on a microplane zester
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- powdered sugar, orange slices, and orange zest for garnish (optional)
For the Orange Marscapone Cream:
- 8 oz. Marscapone cheese
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease the sides and bottom of an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan generously with a little bit of the butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper (I traced the pan with a pencil and cut slightly inside the line).
- In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, cream together the butter (1/2 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup).
- Add the egg and mix on high until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the molasses (1 cup), fresh ginger (1 tablespoon), ground ginger (1 tablespoon), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), cloves (1/4 teaspoon), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), baking powder (1/2 teaspoon), and baking soda (1/2 teaspoon). Mix thoroughly.
- Add the flour (2 cups) and mix at a low speed until fully combined. Add the warm water (3/4 cup) and mix until combined, then increase the speed to high and beat for one more minute.
- Pour into prepared greased and lined cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, to make the orange mascarpone cream, mix the mascarpone cheese (8 oz.), orange zest (1 teaspoon), orange juice (1 tablespoon), and sugar (1/4 cup) thoroughly. Add the heavy cream (1 cup) and mix on high until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until you're ready to use.
- Allow cake to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes, run knife along the edge to loosen, then flip upside down onto a plate or cutting board to remove from pan. Flip rightside-up onto a plate or cake dish. Discard parchment paper.
- Dust top of cake with confectioner's sugar and garnish with orange zest, if desired.
- Serve the cake warm, topped with the orange mascarpone cream and extra orange zest/slices.