This time of year I especially want things to look beautiful and magical but obviously no one has time for that! Especially when you find yourself wrapping presents at 10:30 at night because you need to wait until after the kids go to sleep and suddenly the kids want to revolt against bedtime even more than usual. So that is why I love grocery store shortcuts this time of year. They can be huge time savers and allow to use that time doing other things or taking those extra steps to make things special. The only thing I made from scratch on this cake is the frosting and no one would know it!
My family loves gingerbread cake with lemon sauce. That’s how my grandmother would serve it and it’s the inspiration behind the cake. It’s a layer cake using boxed gingerbread cake mix, jarred lemon curd and cream cheese frosting. The spicy gingerbread and the bright tart lemon curd is amazing and is only made better by the tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. It’s definitely a rich cake, but hey, it’s the holidays!
For the decorations on the cake I kept it simple and, trust me, even if you’ve never frosted a cake before don’t be afraid to try this. The only special piece of equipment I used was an offset spatula. If you don’t have one, get one! They are extremely useful and relatively inexpensive. To make sugared cranberries, this is how I did it. Gingerbread cookies or house pieces would also be adorable on this cake or nothing at all! The cake can certainly stand on it’s own.
- 2 boxes gingerbread cake mix - I used Betty Crocker
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 jar lemon curd - I used Dickinson's brand
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 5 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 - 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Sugared cranberries
- Sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 - 8" round cake pans, lined with parchment, greased and floured.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together cake mix, water, and beaten eggs. Stir until well combined. Divide batter among cake pans. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool cake in pans on cooling racks for 30 minutes. Turn out cakes and finish cooling on racks.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add in confectioners sugar one cup at a time until well combined and beating at high speed for 10 seconds after each addition.
- Mix in milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Mix in vanilla.
- In a frosting bag or plastic bag, place about 1 cup of frosting and set aside.
- On a cake plate, apply a small dollop of frosting in center of plate to act as glue. Top with first layer of cake. Using bagged frosting with the corner or tip cut, pipe a circle around the outer edge of the cake. Fill in with half of the jarred lemon curd. Top with second layer of cake and repeat frosting and lemon curd steps.
- Top with the top layer of cake. Crumb coat the cake by using about 1 cup of frosting to make a thin layer of frosting on the cake to hold in crumbs. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Once chilled and firm, finish frosting the cake with remaining frosting. To create the swirled effect in the frosting, use a small metal spatula, knife, or tip of spoon, beginning at the bottom of the cake make a small indent in the frosting working all the way around the cake. Slowly rotate the cake and work your way to the top of the cake. Use the same technique on the top of the cake.
- Top with sanding sugar and sugared cranberries.
If you want to make the layer cake like I have, it’s important to crumb coat and chill the cake. The lemon curd makes everything a bit slippery so taking the time to crumb coat and chill the cake before the final frosting makes the finished product much nicer and helps to prevent the headache you might get!
Like What you See? Be Sure to Pin it for Later!