Ginger Cake with Mandarin Cream Cheese Frosting

by Heather on December 7, 2010

Confession:  I feel a little bit guilty about all the Nutella posts lately.  Really, I do.  But to be honest that’s just what I’ve had on the brain since I bought a 2-pack of massive Nutella jars at CostCo for my own enjoyment Nate.

HOWEVER, today we’re going to let the Nutella rest in it’s jar for a bit and talk about one of my favorite holiday desserts:  ginger cake.  No, not gingerbread (although that is fabulous too), but ginger in cake form.  With cream cheese frosting. I don’t know about you, but cream cheese frosting is really the only reason to eat things like carrot cake, red velvet cake, and ginger cake.

KIDDING!  But let’s be honest here:  it only makes it that much better.  And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the frosting a little more sometimes.  I can honestly say I’ve never had it spiked with mandarin orange before though!

This cake is tall, luscious, SPICY, and decadent, only to be topped with even more decadence in the cream cheese frosting.  It just makes me wonder why I even eat things like “chicken” and “vegetables” when true foodie happiness can be found here:

So why the mandarin orange?  Well, it’s pretty simple really:  that’s all the grocery store had when I was there.  However, I really couldn’t have picked a better match for this cake.  The mandarin orange is sweet with minimal tartness and the zest is much more subtle than a regular orange.  A regular naval orange would work just fine, but I was SO pleased with this one!  The hardest part though was that it’s hard to get those teeny tiny sections out for garnishing, but it’s a small price to pay for deliciousness :)


  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 heaping tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13 pan with butter; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and molasses and stir til combined.  Sift together the dry ingredients and slowly add to the wet mixture.  When that’s almost combined, stir in the butter milk.  Pour into the pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest and juice from 1 mandarin orange (should yield about 2-3 Tbsp of juice)

In a bowl cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the powdered sugar and slowly combine.  Add the mandarin orange juice slowly until spreadable consistency is reached (I added all of the juice in mine).  Fold in the zest.  Frost cake with frosting when it’s cooled.

Y’all, one bite and I knew this was holiday flavor at it’s finest.

Thank goodness I had everyone at church to share it with otherwise you’d probably see me rolling my way back home…


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