Totally in love with this moist orange spiced layer cake and cute gingerbread village, which is optional but provides a lovely extra layer of flavour and crisp texture. There are printable templates for the houses and they’re pretty with rustic imperfect piping. Even without gingerbread the naked layer cake is amazingly delicious and I can see making it again and again. Yum yum. The moist sponge can be optionally glutenfree like mine and has a perfect blend of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg with orange zest. The light cream cheese frosting complements it all wonderfully and is interspersed with thin layers of apricot jam alternating with orange marmalade. This absolutely delicious gingerbread village orange spiced cake blew the socks off my mum, me and various friends. Happy sigh. Wish I could transport slices to you all.
The layer cake is slightly adapted from la Peche Fraiche’s Almond and Orange spice cake. The design of the gingerbread village houses was inspired by Call me Cupcake’s gingerbread village cake. I make the cake glutenfree, increase the cream cheese and decrease the sugar in the frosting then add hearts to the decoration and mini 3-D houses on top. The recipes for homemade gingerbread and royal icing are from my gingerbread house post. But you can keep the layer cake naked and even serve with plain homemade gingerbread biscuits.
Day 1 – Make gingerbread dough, optional (10 – 15 minutes), store overnight.
Day 2 – Bake biscuits (30 mins + 10 mins baking), cool then decorate (1 hour +); make sponge (20 – 30 mins, 30 mins baking, 1 hour cooling); make frosting (10 mins); assembling (20 mins).
Day 3 (or Day 2) – Stick on gingerbread biscuits (15 mins). Serve.
You can make and decorate the gingerbread cookies a day or two in advance.
Gingerbread village (see full recipe on gingerbread house post)
You could forget the cake and just make these cookies – they’ve been so popular! 🙂
- 1/5 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 140g/1 cup + 2 tbsp plain all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (2-3 tbsp extra)
- 40g/2 and 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter, good-quality French style like le Président
- 20g/1 tbsp runny honey (or pure maple syrup)
- 20g/1 tbsp golden syrup (or honey/pure maple syrup)
- 20g/1 tbsp + 1 and 1/4 tsp caster (superfine) sugar – I used golden unrefined
- 20g/1 tbsp + 1 and 3/4 tsp light muscovado sugar (or light brown)
- 30ml/g whipping or single cream (35% fat) – apparently cream is optional
- 1/2 to 1 tsp gingerbread spices mix, to taste (this blend is nice and not too sweet: 1/4 tsp each of ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom plus 1/16 tsp allspice) You can also add finely grated orange zest from 1/2 an orange just before the flour mix.
Gluten-free version: needs two to three tablespoons extra flour and seems softer (so made the shapes a little thicker)
Follow the recipe below but with the reduced quantities above (1/5 of the original dough). Makes enough for extra cookies.
Here’s the village printable template (click on image).
Print on card then cut out the shapes. Place on rolled-out gingerbread (2-6mm thick, rolled between 2 sheets of baking paper) and cut around shapes with a small sharp knife.
Number 1 house was stuck at the front left-hand side of the cake, number 2 on its right, and the other houses follow in order around the cake. But do please design the piping and shapes to place in any order you like.
Mini 3-D houses
The secret to making your houses stand up is to first stick the two sides to the front and back walls with lines of icing. Hold in shape 10 seconds or so then allow to set 30 minutes. Then (and only then) stick the roof on, hold in place 10 seconds then allow to set.
Made a totally gluten-free Valentine’s version with hearts and trees.
While you’re shaping your cookies preheat oven to 160°C/320°F fan/convection or 180°C/360°F static oven.
Place cookies on a large baking tray lined with baking paper (with 8-9mm between shapes – they spread a little). Bake 6 -12 minutes (depends on thickness) in middle of oven until golden or deeper brown and darkening around the sides.
The biscuits are nice thinner and brown or thicker and more pale.
Wait till they cool completely before decorating.
- 125g/1 cup icing/powdered confectioner’s sugar
- 18 – 20g egg white (from 1/2 egg)
- 1/2 to 2/3 tsp lemon juice, add a little at a time until you get a thick but fluid consistency
Whisk egg whites lightly until frothy. With a spoon gradually stir in icing sugar then little by little add lemon juice until you have a smooth thick fluid icing that’s not too runny.
Pipe with a very small plain nozzle or cut a very small hole in the piping bag. It will take time. I piped while sitting on the sofa in front of a Netflix series – not the most professional approach but enjoyable. 🙂
Once set carefully store in airtight tupperware between layers of paper.
Orange spiced layer cake
Equipment – 2 round springform moulds (16cm/6.3in diametre and 4cm/1.6in high)
All the illustrated recipes below are printable (click on the image).
- 55g/4 tbsp softened unsalted butter, good-quality French style like le Président
- 150g/2/3 cup caster sugar (I used golden unrefined) or 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (2g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (1g) ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground or very finely-grated nutmeg
- zest of 1 large orange (5 – 7 g)
- 110g/ml lightly-beaten egg (2 medium-large eggs)
- 125g/1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Doves Farm self-raising gf) or 120g/1 cup less 2 tsp plain all-purpose flour
- 32g/1/3 cup finely ground almonds (or almond flour)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp (8 – 9g) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 120g/1/2 cup milk (semi-skimmed or full-fat, either works)
Allow sponge to cool completely 1 hour or more before assembling the cake.
- 131g/9 tbsp unsalted butter
- 112g/4oz cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
- 1 tsp/5ml pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 120g/3/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar
- plus 20g to 65g/2 and 1/2 tbsp to 8 and 1/2 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar, to taste (the original recipe had more)
Use the frosting immediately (storing in the fridge makes it difficult to spread).
- 4 tbsp bitter orange marmalade
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
Both good-quality with high fruit content (65%) or low-sugar
Leave naked or…
Lightly stick gingerbread houses around the cake. Once sure of their position press them in a little more firmly. Dust the top with icing sugar if you like.
Eating and storing
Store in fridge 1 hour before eating (once out leave 20 minutes to come back to room temperature). This cake keeps well in the fridge up to 4 days or so (the biscuits gradually get softer but are still great). Slices can be frozen in airtight tupperware up to 1 or 2 months.
Slice between houses so everyone gets a cookie then maybe serve with extra cookies!
Really recommend this Gingerbread village orange spiced cake. It’s one of our favourites. Hope you’ll give it a try and have a slice now…
It looks like patchy snow or sleet on the cake (thanks for helping out with the icing sugar snow photo experiment mum!) but there’s less snow in real life as the weather warms up especially here in Barcelona where it’s almost spring-like!
Farewell dear reader! Have a lovely week and Valentines if you celebrate and wishing everyone a love-filled world with lots of yummy cake! Happy baking and eating! 😉 Lili x