They say three times a charm, but in the case of this Pumpkin Molasses Gingerbread Cake, it was four times. That is, I tested the cake four times, tinkering with ingredients each time, before it felt ready for prime time. I wanted a cake that had a balance of deep ginger and molasses flavors, light texture, with a few healthyish add-ins. Along the way, I served it at a dinner party, shared wedges with neighbors, sent friends home with leftovers, and ate slices in the quiet of my kitchen. It’s a very good cake and now is a terrific time to make it.
Gingerbread for the Holidays
There’s no reason you can’t make gingerbread every month of the year, but no time is better than the holiday season. The smell of ginger coming from my kitchen is as synonymous with Christmas as pine needles littering my floor and carols on my Spotify. This Pumpkin Molasses Gingerbread Cake is a good one because it’s pretty unfussy to make. Also, you can bake it a day ahead, wrap it in plastic, and it will be nice and moist when you’re ready to serve (tip: wait until it’s cool and lay a piece of parchment or wax paper on top before wrapping). The yogurt whipped cream is also a plus, since it holds up better than standard whipped cream if you make it a few hours ahead.
A Feel Good Cake
I don’t think the world needs healthy cake. That’s not my intention. But I don’t see a downside to working good ingredients into any baked good. Why not? As long as said cake is as tasty as it should be. And this one is, and then some. The pumpkin puree, while delivering a dose of vitamin A, also gives the cake a moist crumb. The olive oil adds richness and heart healthy fats. The whole-wheat pastry flour is plenty light. And the Greek yogurt adds a pleasing tang to the whipped topping. It’s a win win.
Works for Cupcakes, Too
If cupcakes are more your jam, this batter will do the job. Indeed, these might be just the thing to bring to a school holiday party or serve for a family-friendly buffet. The recipe makes about a dozen generous cupcakes. Be sure to fill the cupcake cups nearly to the top so you get a lovely dome. Figure about 25 minutes for baking.
If you like Pumpkin Molasses Gingerbread Cake…
You might also like:
Mini GF Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes (my recipe on Simply Recipes)
Pumpkin Molasses Ginger Cake with Whipped Yogurt Cream
This wholesome cake is deeply flavored with ginger and molasses. It’s light and tender and quite wonderful topped with a generous spoonful of yogurt whipped cream. The batter works well for cupcakes, too. Fill 12 (or so) generously greased cupcake cups nearly to the top and bake for about 25 minutes.
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see notes)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree unsweetened
- 2/3 cup molasses I use blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the finished cake
Whipped Yogurt Cream
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment to line the bottom of the pan.
In a medium bowl whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, molasses, buttermilk, and olive oil. Add the egg and mix again until smooth.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl. Beat until blended and creamy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, mix again until the batter is smooth with no streaks of flour.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake. It’s done when you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out with crumbs and no wet batter, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake, and then turn it upright on a serving plate.
Whipped Yogurt Cream
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar until smooth.
Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the heavy cream into pillowy peaks.
Add the yogurt to the whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the ingredients together.
Use a sieve to lightly dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with big spoonful of whipped yogurt cream.
If you can’t find whole-wheat pastry flour, substitute 1 cup whole-wheat flour plus 1 cup all-purpose flour