Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake


Sep 10

Moist and flavorful pumpkin cake layers, filled with cream cheese frosting, gingersnap crumble and cinnamon chip ganache.

I’m going to be real honest with you right now. I don’t think I’m ever NOT thinking about cake. I’m serious. I think about it in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and even while I’m sleeping. I always find myself brainstorming new flavor combinations, and how I can turn another treat, like cookies, bars, pies, ice creams, and even breads, into a cake. In fact, that’s how I came up with this cake. I was just looking at Pinterest not too long ago when I saw a recipe for a pumpkin cream cheese streusel bread. I knew immediately that it had to be a cake! I was particularly inspired by the streusel element. How could I get a muffin-like streusel on a cake? And what other flavor could I add to the cake?

Last year I did a Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. It was divine, but I’m not sure it was memorable or jaw-dropping. I want to make cake that you’re thinking about days, weeks, even months after you’ve tried it. I want your jaw to drop!
In an attempt to hit this one out of the park (not just a home run hit, but a grand slam hit), I chose to add a gingersnap crumble and my secret weapon, a cinnamon chip ganache (which you may be familiar with from my Churro Cake). I originally intended the gingersnap crumble to be a streusel but after several attempts, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. The gingersnap flavor was too subtle and the texture was too crumbly. So, I switched the streusel to a crumble, using finely ground gingersnap cookies, chopped cookie pieces, rolled oats and molasses. The result is exactly what I was hoping for: crunchy with a little chewiness, and sweet with a strong blend of that dark cookie flavor you get from a beloved molasses cookie.
I’m so happy with how this cake turned out. I even tried it out on one of my cake classes and it was a huge hit. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake

Yield One 4-layer, 6-inch cake

Moist and flavorful pumpkin cake layers filled with cream cheese frosting, gingersnap crumble and cinnamon chip ganache.

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Gingersnap Crumble (adapted from Layered, by Tessa Huff)

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped gingersnap cookies
  • 1/2 cup finely ground gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons dark or full-flavored molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Chip Ganache

  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

For the Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray again and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin filling and mix until combined, about another 30 seconds. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add to the pumpkin/egg mixture.
  4. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans, smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 23).
  5. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

For the Gingersnap Crumble

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles clumps of sand. 
  3. Pour the mixture over the parchment paper and spread it out evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring the mixture about halfway through.
  4. Let it cool completely and then crumble the mixture into smaller pieces.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.

For the Cinnamon Chip Ganache

  1. Place the cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Alternately, you can heat the cream over the stove.
  2. Pour the warm cream over the cinnamon chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and silky. Allow to cool, but not set, before using on your cake.

Assembly

  1. After leveling each cake layer, place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board. Apply 1/2 cup of the frosting over the cake layer, followed by 1/4 of the crumble and a drizzle of the cinnamon chip drip.
  2. Repeat these steps for the next two cake layers. Finish by placing the final cake layer, top side down, on top of the last layer of filling. 
  3. Before frosting the entire cake, you will want to apply a thin coat of frosting around the cake and on top of the cake. This layer of frosting doesn't need to look pretty, it's simply functional. We want to lock in any crumbs. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes.
  4. After the crumb coat is set, apply the rest of the frosting and drip.

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