gingerbread cake bars with espresso ermine frosting.

when i got this month’s e-mail regarding the Recipe Swap, i got all sorts of nostalgic.

scanning the list of ingredients, i spied cinnamon, ginger and coffee, all flavors i happen to know and love very well. instantly, i started to think about the holidays.

okay, maybe i was thinking about wintertime because i happened to be listening to holiday music, but that’s besides the point. and yes, i’m aware that it’s awfully strange for a Jewish girl to be singing along merrily to Christmas songs in the middle of August. that’s just how i happen to roll, my friends.

holiday music just makes me all sorts of nostalgic for my childhood. i adore it.

when i was a little girl growing up in North Dakota, i happened to be the only Jewish kid in my elementary school. the month of December was full of holiday songs and Christmas pageants. we sung about Santa, made snowmen during recess, and decorated gingerbread houses to bring home to enjoy with our families. very fun, but a little part of me always felt a little left out, since we didn’t celebrate Christmas.

not wanting me to feel left out of all the merriment, my mom would come in every year and teach all of the kids in school about Hannukah.

when she first came up with the idea, i think i was a little nervous. what if my schoolmates were bored and didn’t care about Hannukah? what if they didn’t like the food, or thought it tasted weird? worse, what if they thought i was weird, because i was different?

psssh. everyone in the class loved it, year after year. they totally thought i was the coolest, because i got presents for eight whole nights in a row. pretty cool indeed.

Mom would spend all morning making dozens upon dozens of the most delicious latkes and soft, chewy coconut macaroons to share with my classmates. we’d nosh while my mom read the story of Hannukah to the class, and then taught everyone how to play the dreidel game. before she said goodbye to us all, Mom gave everyone a little mesh bag full of chocolate gelt. pretty sweet, right?

i love my mom for doing that for me; she was able to make me feel special for being different from everyone, rather than an outsider. she’s kind of the best mom ever.

but those years of singing carols and decorating the school’s Christmas tree definitely left an indelible mark on me. these days, my fiance and i light candles for Hannukah, but we also hang lights outside our home. we hang stockings from our small mantle (for both of us and our dogs, of course!), and our small tree is decorated with vintage-inspired, food-themed glass ornaments i’ve been collecting for years. i love all aspects of the holidays, but none more than the food. naturally.

one Christmas cookie i never actually liked was gingerbread. it was always too spicy, or the little gingerbread men burned in the oven, ending up dry and brittle. i figured that this month’s recipe for the swap was the perfect opportunity to reinvent gingerbread into something i’d actually find edible!

these gingerbread cake bars are incredibly moist, but still hold their shape incredibly well. you could certainly bake the cake in a larger, wider sheet pan to make a thinner cake, then use a cookie cutter to stamp out any shape you’d like. i blended cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and other traditional gingerbread spices with espresso powder to create a cake with a wonderful, slightly spicy, deeply complex flavor.

to round out the nostalgic sensibility of these cake bars, i topped them with an espresso-infused ermine frosting. red velvet cake was traditionally topped with ermine frosting, but fell out of favor due to the popularity and stability of cream cheese frosting. it’s too bad, because ermine frosting is creamy, rich and pitch-perfect when creating a retro-inspired dessert.

flour and milk are heated together, almost creating a pseudo-bechamel sauce, thickened to the point of a soft pudding. the thickened milk is gradually added to fluffy butter and sugar, and the resulting frosting is simply sublime. not overly sweet, and also not too buttery, either.

while i know it’s only August, i really think you should keep these gingerbread cake bars with espresso ermine frosting in mind for your holiday baking. it’s only a few months away, you know…plus, i’m pretty sure that Santa would be all about them!

gingerbread cake bars with espresso ermine frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 22-25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes, plus frosting and cooling time

Ingredients:

for the cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses

for the ermine frosting

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Directions:

for the cake

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

butter and flour a 15" x 13" x 1" baking sheet and set aside. if you don't have this pan, you can always make this cake in a regular cake pan.

in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, espresso powder, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cardamom, baking soda and salt. set aside.

in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown sugars, and vanilla bean paste.

beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium speed until incorporated and fluffy.

turn the mixer off, and add the molasses to the bowl. turn the mixer back on and beat until molasses is incorporated.

add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

allow the cake to cool completely on a wire baking rack before frosting.

cake can be baked and refrigerated up to three days ahead of time before frosting.

for the ermine frosting

in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, flour, espresso powder and salt. whisk to combine, and place over medium heat.

whisking frequently, cook until mixture has thickened, about 1-3 minutes. remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

add the vanilla, and mix to combine.

with the mixer on medium speed, add the cooled milk mixture slowly, about a tablespoon or so at a time. the mixture will slowly begin to thicken and emulsify.

when all of the milk mixture is added to the butter mixture, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake, and set the cake in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up.

once the cake is set, cut into squares and refrigerate until ready to serve.

the cake bars will keep in the fridge, covered for up to 3 days.

frosting adapted from bakespace

    Pin It

777 Responses to “gingerbread cake bars with espresso ermine frosting.”

  1. #
    748
    index backlink — July 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Yes! Finally something about ugg boots outlet.

  2. #
    749
    golfowego — July 6, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Wszystkie imprezy odbywają się w Olympic Golf
    Membership, który posiada najlepszą lokalizację i udogodnienia do organizacji tego typu imprez.

  3. #
    750
    advertisers — July 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you
    present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same outdated rehashed material. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  4. #
    751
    las vegas thai restaurants — July 7, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Quality posts is the secret to interest the viewers to pay a visit the web
    page, that’s what this site is providing.

  5. #
    752
    bikeparent8's blog — July 7, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i
    subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.

    I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  6. #
    753
    read more — July 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

    It’s actually very complex in this busy life to listen news on TV,
    therefore I simply use world wide web for that purpose,
    and obtain the most recent information.

  7. #
    754
    site link — July 7, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Actually no matter if someone doesn’t understand afterward its up to
    other users that they will help, so here it occurs.

  8. #
    755
    IAMSport — July 7, 2016 at 11:58 am

    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with helpful info to work on. You have performed an impressive task and our entire group might be thankful to you.

  9. #
    756
    las vegas thai restaurants — July 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Hi, the whole thing is going fine here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that’s really fine, keep up writing.

  10. #
    757

    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience
    over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same
    nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  11. #
    758
    magic rush heroes 1.1.51 apk — July 13, 2016 at 1:01 am

    When you download the app, enter your information and add my invitation code n6215050, we both can get
    2500 points.

  12. #
    759
    BookCrossing - sodaflame89's Bookshelf — July 20, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve
    came upon so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

  13. #
    760
    silicon lube — July 20, 2016 at 5:46 am

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this
    site. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later
    on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now ;
    )

  14. #
    761
    linklicious free — July 20, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Useful info. Fortunate me I found your website accidentally,
    and I’m surprised why this coincidence did
    not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  15. #
    762
    site preview — July 20, 2016 at 6:12 am

    If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, simply
    pay a quick visit this website all the time because it gives quality contents, thanks

  16. #
    763
    greenjacket33 — July 20, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I have read so many posts regarding the blogger lovers but this article is in fact a
    good piece of writing, keep it up.

  17. #
    764
    Zotero & — July 20, 2016 at 6:16 am

    I am genuinely delighted to read this blog posts which carries tons of helpful facts,
    thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  18. #
    765
    Presentations by Yde Bek // Speaker Deck — July 20, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Having read this I thought it was really informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both
    reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  19. #
    766
    sodaflame50 :: COLOURlovers — July 20, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Quality content is the main to attract the viewers
    to go to see the website, that’s what this site is providing.

  20. #
    767

    Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my web site so i came to return the prefer?.I am attempting to to find things to improve my
    web site!I guess its ok to make use of some of your
    ideas!!

  21. #
    768

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve
    found something which helped me. Thank you!

  22. #
    769
    division — July 20, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Hi to every body, it’s my first go to see of this webpage; this weblog contains
    awesome and truly fine stuff in favor of readers.

  23. #
    770
    IAMSport — July 20, 2016 at 6:49 am

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this.
    And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah,
    thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.

  24. #
    771
    shadow — July 21, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I was suggested this website through my cousin. I’m now not positive whether
    this submit is written by way of him as nobody else understand such designated approximately my difficulty.
    You are incredible! Thank you!

  25. #
    772
    sponsors — July 27, 2016 at 7:53 am

    It’s genuinely very difficult in this full of activity
    life to listen news on TV, so I simply use the web
    for that reason, and take the most up-to-date information.

  26. #
    773
    clashroyalehacklabs — August 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Lasst Gegner, wenn möglich, in Reichweite Eurer Türme kommen, damit diese
    dann mit Pfeilen oder der Hauptturm-Kanone schießen können.

  27. #
    774
    canadian pharmacy — November 6, 2016 at 4:00 am

    General Low-down About this by-product

1 14 15 16

Leave a Comment