Confession: Starbucks gingerbread is one of my most favorite holiday indulgences. I make sure to get at least one piece each season. It's so moist and spicy, and it's my triple-grande-decaf-nonfat-extra hot latte's best friend at this time of year. And if the bread wasn't enough ... the frosting and candied ginger - yum!
However, recently I discovered the ingredient list. Sigh. I highlighted the things that make my skin crawl in green.
sugar, enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), apple sauce (apples, water, ascorbic acid), cream cheese icing (sugar, cream cheese (pasteurized milk and cream, cheese cultures, salt, carob bean gum), palm oil, corn starch, dextrose, food starch-modified, propylene glycol, water, mono & diglycerides with citric acid as preservative, salt, maltodextrin, potassium sorbate (as preservative), polysorbate 60, natural flavor, soybean oil, invert sugar, citric acid, corn oil, beta carotene as color, alpha tocopherols as preservative), egg, unsalted butter (pasteurized cream), ginger (ginger, sugar), orange peel (orange peel, invert sugar, and citric acid), water, orange flavor (orange peel, sugar and orange oil), salt, baking soda, food starch - modified, spices, baking powder (cornstarch, bicarbonate of soda, sodium aluminum sulfate, acid phosphate of calcium), pan spray (soy lecithin, may contain canola oil, palm oil, soybean oil, natural flavor, mineral oil).
Propylene Glycol? As in the stuff in hand sanitizer? Yeah, so anyways, I'm never eating that again.
Thankfully there are copycat recipes out there. Ones you can actually comprehend the ingredients in - ha! I found this really yummy one, but I first tried to make it in a loaf pan when it called for an 8 x 8 square pan. (I keep forgetting that there are reasons why people say to do things a certain way in baking.) After baking, the loaf sunk in the middle and then broke into 10 pieces when I tried to remove it from the pan. I had wanted it to look like Starbucks loaf, but it really is best to make this recipe in the 8 x 8 shape for even cooking. I think it would work well in mini loaf pans as well (and wouldn't that just make a sweet little gift?) Oh, and don't worry, none of those 10 broken pieces went to waste. :-)
Anyways, this recipe is super moist and spicy. If you like gingerbread, you'll love this!
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup applesauce
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
chopped candied ginger
- Preheat oven to 350°F Grease and flour an 8 x 8 square baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda into applesauce and mix into creamed butter. Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just slightly sticky. (Be careful not to over bake, for this cake can dry out easily. Just remember that the toothpick shouldn't come out clean, but a little sticky).
- For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Frost the cake when it is completely cooled. Decorate with chopped candied ginger. *Note: This recipe tastes best the next day.