Monday, June 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cake with White Chocolate Lemon Mousse Frosting

My dear roommate A turned 23 last week and in honor, I wanted to make her a birthday cake. Not wanting there to be any surprises, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted and while she didn't have any definitive requests she was opposed to having a chocolate cake. The entire year A had been begging me to bake spice cookies so in tribute to that love of hers, I decided to bake a gingerbread cake. A quick browse through Sky High Cakes and I had found the cake I was going to bake. A Gingerbread Beer Cake. I went out to buy all the ingredients and set out to making it. I don't know what went wrong, but the cake turned out soft and sticky with no structure and it sunk. Big time. Into the trash it went. Plan B. I opened up my copy of Country Living's Great Cakes and landed on Grandma Stonifer's Spice Cake. Bingo. The recipe is one for a two layer birthday cake but of course as my oven has room for only one pan at a time, one layer baked up perfectly while the other sank. It was going to have to be a one layer birthday cake. I wrapped it up and set it aside for the next day. As I was on my way to catch a bus, an idea for frosting hit me like a ton of bricks. Lemon infused white chocolate ganache frosting! Excitedly, I went out to get the white chocolate and lemon and got to work right when I got back. Now, I'm not going to lie, I prepared the white chocolate ganache in Sherry Yard's book but I don't remember how much cream I added to it to get it to a spreadable consistency when I whipped it. I peeled off strips of zest from the lemon and steeped it in the cream, for a subtle but present flavor. When the frosting became spreadable, I covered the cake with it. I used my leftover gingerbread crumbs to coat the sides and some of the top, which was a big hit, pulling the lemon and ginger flavors together. A LOVED the frosting (she got so mad when she saw I got rid of the unused frosting) but thought the cake could use a bit more moisture, so next time I would add some oil in place of some of the shortening. All in all, this cake was a winner and I was very proud of it.

Gingerbread Cake with White Chocolate Lemon Mousse Frosting
adapted from Great Cakes and Secrets of Baking

Cake: (this recipe yields two layers)
2 cups flour
1 tbsp Dutched cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

8 ounces good quality white chocolate
4 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 tbsp corn syrup

1/4 cup heavy cream plus an additional half cup or so
1 lemon, washed well

For the cakes, preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 9 inch pans with PAM. Cut out parchment rounds to line the pans and grease those as well. Set aside.
Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl,
and whisk to blend.
Place the fats in the bowl of your mixer,
and cream with the sugars.
Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
My batter after I added the eggs.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk/vanilla, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Here is my finished batter.
Divide the batter evenly in the pans and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in their pans for ten minutes.
Unmold on a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. If you're not using it right away, wrap in plastic wrap.
Place the white chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a bowl.
Pour the cream into a saucepan. Peel the lemon with a peeler and drop the peels into the cream. Heat gently until boiling.
Strain the cream mixture over the white chocolate (or just fish out the peels).
Using a circular motion, stir gently until thoroughly melted and uniform. Place in the fridge until completely cool.
Place the ganache into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add half of the additional cream and begin beating. Add cream slowly to the bowl to achieve a cream that you can frost and spread with.
Frost your cake and garnish as desired. Chill before serving. 

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