Baking Project (TWD): Gingerbread Babycakes

So round 1 of the baking project seemed to go well, so I decided to try my hand at round 2 and 3. Round 2 was a gingerbread that others described as spicy and ‘not lacking in flavor’. This wasn’t that surprising considering the recipe called for fresh ginger, ground ginger, ground pepper (!), molasses, and espresso powder to name a few.20121204-184130.jpg In other words, this is not gingerbread or the weak hearted. This is also not very comforting for someone who doesn’t particularly like ginger snaps let alone a whole cake flavored that way. I was skeptical. But I made it all anyway and stayed true to the recipe. I also paired it with a lemony cream cheese frosting (which I dyed green to be festive).
The full recipe can be found in the Baking with Julia cookbook or on the host of the week’s site: Karen’s Kitchen.


New kitchen task completed! – Cutting, peeling, and grating/chopping the ginger. I’ve never dealt with fresh ginger so this was a first for me. I noticed that if I tried to grate, the ginger got really pulpy. Chopping didn’t seem to make this happen. I did love the wonderful smell this resulted in. So fresh and clean. And then I tried eating a smidgen because I had never tasted raw ginger. Probably won’t be doing that again. But again, the smell was really pleasant. Course, now I have half a blob of ginger sitting in my fridge. I guess I should look up other ginger recipes?

I chose to bake this as mini-muffins vs. any other form of pan as mini-muffins are nice and small and more likely to be eaten by my coworkers. I had two mini muffin pans but still found myself with a TON of batter leftover. Probably should have cut the batch in half. The batter was not something I cared to be licking off spatulas (should have been a big red flag!) so there was probably more than most cake recipes I’d try. I decided to pour the rest of the batter into a jelly roll pan, thinking I’d try some sort of gingerbread roll. I put my two mini muffin pans and the jelly roll pan in the over. The mini muffins came out at about 12 minutes. The Jelly Roll pan stayed in until 20 I think. I decided that since the flavor of those little guys wasn’t the most appealing of baked goods I had ever tried, I’d need a fantastic frosting to subdue them. I opted for a simple cream cheese frosting (1 brick cream cheese + 1 stick room temp butter +1/2c powdered sugar) and added some flavoring emulsion I found at Hobby Lobby last year called ‘Princess flavoring’. I bought it 20121204-184214.jpgthinking it be more almondy, but actually it’s got a kick of lemon to it. I threw in a teaspoon of that to the frosting instead of vanilla as well as some squirts of food coloring. Aren’t they pretty? With the frosting I thought they were at least edible. And actually found myself, despite not really liking the flavor, constantly going back for nibbles. Now on to the jelly roll fiasco. The last time I made any kind of jelly roll anything I was in middle school making a Bouche de Noel for French Class extra credit. Probably a pretty daunting undertaking but at the time cooking/baking anything never daunted me. Maybe because I wasn’t the one buying the ingredients so it was no water off my back if we had to chuck the results.

20121204-184233.jpgAnyway, because I wasn’t a big fan of the gingerbread, I didn’t care that much about making a perfect cake roll. So I just sort of guessed at how to make it. I threw it on some wax paper (half of which broke in this process and I had to puzzle piece it back together) lined with powdered sugar. Gently rolled it (while still warm?), and let it cool down in it’s roll shape. When I tried to unroll, things just got worse and it collapsed into chunks. I finally gave up when I realized I didn’t have enough frosting to sufficiently cover the whole thing. So I left it as is. It’s sitting in my fridge now. I’m debating using it as some sort of gingerbread trifle, but it may just not be worth it at this point. Future baking challenge for myself: Make a rolled cake!

So back to the gingerbreadkins – I took them to work on Monday. The reactions ranged from: Please don’t ever make these again, YUM!, what’s wrong with these brownies??? Blech!! I found that generally speaking, anyone over the age of 30 seemed to find them at least edible and maybe even good while the 30 and younger crowd universally didn’t like them and spat them out when possible. So yeah. I guess I can hold off on ever making gingerbread again until I’m significantly older. Maybe then my tastebuds will have matured to the point of appreciating the flavor complexities. Until then, I will stick to more universally pleasing desserts. Red Velvet Woopie Pies next anyone?20121204-184224.jpg




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  1. Good point about not enjoying a lick of the spatula….I didn’t clue in even then. I still believed while it was baking in the oven. But a first bite of the cake made me realize this is not the gingerbread cake for me.
    Yes to red velvet whoopie pies!!!! Dear god, yes!!!!!

    1. Yeah they certainly aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. They’ll try anything that looks like goodie though, so I just consider them my guinea pigs!

  2. I’m thinking maybe your theory about what age groups like these cakes is right! My husband (who is in his 40’s) thought they were quite tasty. I (who am just in my 30’s) thought they were merely tolerable. Good idea with the frosting! These definitely needed a little something to mellow them out a bit. At least they look nice and festive!

  3. I keep a hunk of fresh ginger in the freezer because we have a knock-off recipe of P J Chang’s Lettuce Wraps that we like. The ginger grates up nicely while frozen (I use a microplane). Heck, sometimes I don’t even peel it.

  4. We had a lot of similar thoughts and both tried ginger for the first time! These did not go over well with any of my tasters regardless of age…I think it was deceiving too that they look so much like a delicious brownie and were far from it.

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