This Gingerbread Crunch Magic Cake is a festive spiced holiday twist on the classic magic cake. One batter magically separates into layers to create your new holiday must have dessert!
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Friends: I don’t mean to panic you, but are you aware that Christmas is (gulp) only 62 days away?
I know, I know. We aren’t even through with Halloween or Thanksgiving and already I’m starting with the Christmas talk. But the truth is, fall ALWAYS sneaks up on me and then it’s gone—poof! It’s my all–time favorite time of year and I seriously wish it could stay around for more than 3 months.
The music, the smells wafting through the house, baking all the things, everyone packed into warm little houses, visiting and eating way too many appetizers? Gah…yes! Let’s just say I’m thoroughly in love.
This year we decided a little more gingerbread was needed in our life this fall. It just seemed unfair that such a delicious flavor should be relegated to only December. Just putting it in cookies and of course the gingerbread houses that never get to be eaten felt like such a shame.
So we set out to bring gingerbread to a fun fall cake! I wanted something that would lend itself to being a snack coffee cake of sorts. But, I also wanted a cake that was almost pudding like, reminiscent of a pumpkin pie style if you would, but that was firm enough to be picked up and eaten with coffee. A tall order, but I’m SO happy with how it turned out! We settled on a twist on the classic magic cake.
Have you ever had a magic cake? They are incredible! The theory is that the batter magically separates into 3 layers. I will say, after having made dozens of these cakes over the years that the more things you add to these cakes the less distinct the 3 layers tend to get. For this version I wanted it a bit firmer so we increased the flour a hair, which helped it set more solidly but the layers aren’t quite as distinct.
For this gingerbread version we added a glorious crunch topping to the top. It’s packed with pecans, oatmeal, candied ginger and (of course) cooked down with butter and brown sugar. It’s one part gingerbread and one part coffee cake.
Okay, let’s jump in!
The secret behind these cakes is adding nice stiff peak whipped egg whites to the batter. The egg yolks get whipped as well with sugar until they are nice and lightened.
Then molasses, glorious Land O’Lakes melted butter, spices and flour get added to the mix.
Next up add in some gently warmed milk. We made this version with Silk cashew milk and it was creamy perfection!
Finally it’s time to add the egg whites to the batter. Don’t overmix here or you will lose all your layers! Just a nice gentle folding action is what you are looking for.
Pour it into the pan and then it’s into the oven!
The sweet, creamy base is packed with spices and molasses, and the crunchy top offsets it so beautifully with the bite of the candied ginger and the chew of the oatmeal.
Top it off with Land O’ Lakes whipped cream, powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon for the perfect finish!
Pour yourself a steaming mug of coffee and you’ve got yourself crisp fall morning heaven right here!
- 4 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 tbsp molasses
- ½ cup Land O’ Lakes butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups Silk cashew milk, slightly warmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
- ¼ cup chopped candied ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease an 8x8 baking dish (we prefer metal as it heats faster and creates more distinct layers in our testing).
- Beat egg whites in a mixer with whisk attachment to stiff peaks (when lifted whisk out of egg whites the peak formed should stay straight up and not collapse at top). Remove from mixer and set aside.
- Beat yolks with sugar until visibly lightened and fluffy about 4 minutes. Add molasses, melted butter, vanilla bean paste, spices and flour slowly.
- Add warmed cashew milk and beat until combined.
- Add egg whites to batter and fold or whisk them in. Batter will NOT be smooth and should be lumpy still.
- Pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 50-70 minutes.
- Ovens greatly vary so check at 50 minutes and gently shake the rack. If the center is unset and very wobbly it needs more time. The top may over brown before the middle is fully cooked so tent with foil on top if this occurs.
- We have much better results with metal pans over glass and recommend them. The size is also crucial for layer formation so do not substitute with a larger or smaller pan.
- In a large saucepan melt butter. Add sugar and stir until bubbly.
- Add flour, pecans, oatmeal, ginger and cinnamon. Toss together and cook for 2-3 minutes until well combined.
- Pour over cake top and allow entire cake to cool completely. Can be chilled for an even firmer texture.
- Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with powdered sugar & cinnamon and serve in small slices. Lovely with coffee.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. We are grateful to our partners who enable us to bring you gorgeous recipe content every week for free!