This Marbled Gingerbread Cake is a delicious spin on classic gingerbread. The cheesecake-like swirl gives it a little something extra special to enjoy.
What is Molasses?
Gingerbread gets its flavor from the rich, dark, molasses flavor in the batter enhanced with a seasonal blend of spices. What is molasses? Molasses is a by product of sugar production. Once the juice of the sugar cane is boiled to remove the sugar crystals we all know and love, what's left behind is molasses. It can come in various levels of color, sweetness and even bitterness, depending on how many times it's boiled. The first boil results in the lightest color and most mild flavored molasses. On the other end of the spectrum is blackstrap molasses. It's typically boiled at least three times to reduce and increase in intensity. This process results in the thickest and most bitter tasting molasses. You can read more about the processing of different varieties of molasses on The Spruce Eats.
Helpful Tips for Making Marbled Gingerbread Cake
- The flavor of this cake can vary depending on the type of molasses used. Blackstrap molasses would be too bitter in this instance so, it's not an ideal choice. Use a quality, unsulphured molasses such as Grandma's Original unsulphured molasses or, your favorite brand.
- This cake achieves the ideal thickness in a 12 x 8 inch dish or baking pan. It can be made in a 13 x 9 inch pan but, will be thinner. Should you choose to do so, it likely won't take as long to bake. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the cake portion around 35-40 minutes and adjust the time from there.
- Due to the dark sweet molasses, the top can overbake if left uncovered for the entire baking time. I recommend checking it at 30 minutes and laying a piece of foil on top to prevent this from happening. Spritz the foil lightly with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to the top of the sweet gingerbread cake.
Other Gingerbread Goodies to Enjoy
Since the season for gingerbread is rather short, look for many ways to enjoy it at every turn.
- Gingerbread Chess Bars a.k.a. Gooey Butter Cake is a fabulous choice
- Gingerbread Cream Pie from Lauren's Latest
- For more baking inspiration checkout 100 of the Best Christmas Cookies recipes
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Marbled Gingerbread Cake
- 12 oz plain cream cheese (1 and ½ blocks) softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cloves or allspice
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 10 Tbsp salted butter softened
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk (not fat free)
- powdered sugar and whipped cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12 x 8 inch baking pan with baking spray or lightly grease with butter. Set aside.
- To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in granulated sugar, flour, vanilla and 2 eggs until combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, use a whisk to sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cloves, baking powder and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until combined. To the creamed mixture add molasses and eggs. Whip until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with buttermilk beginning and ending with flour. Beat just until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl.
- Spread ⅔ batter into the prepared baking pan. Pour cream cheese filling evenly over batter. Spoon remaining batter in mounds on top of filling. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to gently swirl the batter into the filling.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes back clean. Check at 30 minutes and lay foil on top to prevent overbrowning, if needed. (Lightly spritz foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking.)
- Once done, cool in the pan on a cooling rack.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled dusted with powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.
- Store leftovers chilled in an airtight container.