(Note: this post was originally published on February 9, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
The Perfect Valentine
Are you ready for the most gorgeous, wintry, Valentine's Day appropriate, nourishing cake?? I hope so, because I'm incredibly excited about this gingerbread beauty.
I can't describe to you how much I love this recipe. It's everything I've ever wanted in a cake; it's absolutely delicious, loaded with flavor, moist, and decadent. Yet it's absurdly easy to make; the entire batter is made in the blender! The ingredients are simple and nourishing, so it leaves you feeling good.
It's almost too good to be true!
This cake is spicy gingerbread heaven. It's loaded with ginger in a couple different forms, molasses, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom. These are all classic gingerbread spices, but amped up in their intensity for a cake that screams winter coziness. Because the sweetness is pretty minimal (just molasses and rich, dark maple syrup), the spices can really shine.
While we're on the subject of Valentine's Day, I need to mention my amazing Italian grandma. When I was a kid and even up through college, she always mailed me a valentine that just said "Guess who??". She taught me to bake and always fostered my love of cooking and baking, so I wanted to make this cake in her memory. These are all of her dishes in the photos, including the most whimsical tea set.
I love a dessert that you can feel good about eating. In terms of ingredients, this cake gets most of its structure from rolled oats, so it's actually flourless in the traditional sense. A couple eggs help with loft, while nut butter (my favorite secret baking ingredient!) creates a crumb that is moist and soft.
Unlike most cakes, this one isn't loaded with oil or butter. It only has half a cup of coconut oil. Thanks to the nut butter and molasses, it stays incredibly moist and decadent without the need for a bunch of oil.
Although a drizzle of traditional icing feels like the perfect finish for this special cake, I acknowledge that it's a sugary addition that not everyone will want. As written, the recipe below calls for a standard confectioner's sugar icing, ideally made with ginger liqueur for additional cozy flavor. It's delicious and beautiful. That said, you have options for your icing strategy, so pick what works for you. Here are some possibilities:
Option #1 (as written in the recipe): The prettiest and easiest. Use about 1 c of confectioner's sugar and add tiny increments of ginger liqueur (or water) until you have a thick, drizzly icing. This is what I've shown in the photos. It's definitely the way to go for a special occasion cake.
Option #2: No refined sugar, white, but messy. If you'd rather stay away from refined sugar, one possibility is to heat up and drizzle some coconut butter. It has a nice color, but won't harden in the same way that a confectioner's sugar icing does, so it's messier and will soak into the cake.
Option #3: No refined sugar, super tasty, but not great color. Use some almond butter as your icing base. Stir in some maple syrup to sweeten it up, and add a bit of melted coconut oil (not water!) if you need to thin it out.
Option #4: Leave it naked. This cake is still delicious without icing, but it doesn't have the same visual appeal or decadence. You can add some extra flair by serving it with a big drizzle of nut butter, pumpkin butter, or apple butter!
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Oil of choice. For preparing the pan; I like to use coconut oil since it's in the recipe anyways.
Nut butter. I prefer to bake with peanut butter since it's least expensive. Cashew butter will be your best bet for the most neutral flavor, or sun butter will work for a nut-free option.
Dark maple syrup
Melted coconut oil
Eggs. Note that I haven't tried this with flax eggs. If you do, please leave a comment below!
Crystallized ginger. I adore this stuff, it's absolutely packed with flavor. But it's not critical to the structure of the cake, so you can omit it if you don't mind losing some ginger flavor. If you do omit it, increase the ginger powder to maybe 1.5 tbsp. Or use some freshly-grated ginger instead!
Splash of ginger liqueur. Or water is fine too.
Pink pitaya powder. I love to use pink pitaya (dragonfruit!) powder as a natural food coloring; it has an incredible, vibrant pink color. Hibiscus powder will also work great. Or, feel free to use your food coloring of choice, or even leave the icing white.
This cake is like the gift that keeps on giving. Given that it's basically just oats and nut butter, it makes for a lovely breakfast or lunch. Keep any extras in a tightly sealed container for a few days, or freeze individual slices for later. Reheating a slice in the microwave for 30 seconds is magical.
Wouldn't this be the perfect Valentine's Day dessert? It's beautiful, full of warming spices, and so indulgent. But it's easy to pull together and won't weigh you down afterward. I've made this numerous times already this winter, and certainly plan to again for my Valentine's Day sweetie.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
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This cozy gingerbread cake is fancy enough for a celebration but surprisingly easy to make. The batter comes together in just a couple minutes, all in the blender! Can you believe this decadent-looking cake is made from oat flour and gets its moisture from nut butter??
Preheat the oven to 350 and thoroughly oil a 6-cup bundt pan. Use your fingers to ensure oil gets into every little corner.
Measure all of the cake ingredients into a blender, putting the wet ingredients in first to facilitate easy blending. Process until you have a thick batter that's homogeneous throughout. It should only take a minute or two in a high-power blender.
Pour the batter into the oiled bundt pan. IMPORTANT: Don't over-fill! Leave about an inch and a half of space for the cake to rise, otherwise you'll have a huge mess on your hands. If you have extra batter, put it in a muffin tin and bake a muffin or two.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 60-70 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. The edges will brown quite rapidly because of the molassess content, so keep a close eye on it.
Cool your cake completely! Resist the temptation to try to extract it from the pan while it's still warm.
Once your cake is cool, flip it out onto a plate.
To mix the icing, add tiny increments of ginger liqueur (or water) to the confectioner's sugar until you have a thick, drizzly icing. Just add a bit at a time, otherwise the icing can become too runny very quickly. Add a few pinches of pink pitaya powder to color it a delicate pink color.
Drizzle the icing across the top of the cake and then garnish it with pomegranate arils before the icing hardens.