Chocolate gingerbread loaf cake

About a year ago, I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate gingerbread that I quickly added to my 'to-bake' list for the holidays.  Some recipes/ideas stick with you and you remember them even if you don't jump into the kitchen right away to make it happen.
This loaf cake appealed to me so much because it reminds me of these chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies, which I make every December and might just be my favorite holiday cookie.  They are a must-try even for those who aren't normally huge fans of bold spices.  At Christmastime, I can't seem to get enough of holiday spices and the combination with chocolate makes it all the more familiar and delicious.

So as we've already devoured most of our annual batch of gingerbread chocolate cookies (with a few stashed away in the freezer for Christmas day, along with other cookies I "collect" throughout the month), it was time to make the loaf version.
To more closely mirror those cookies I love dearly, I added freshly grated ginger to this chocolate gingerbread loaf (instead of using crystallized ginger chips).  I wanted maximum ginger flavor and I personally love how fresh ginger melds into everything throughout.  I added a pinch of cloves to round out the usual medley of spices and to try something new, I substituted some of the all-purpose flour with spelt.  You certainly don't need to do that but in my (albeit, limited) experience baking with spelt, the mildness of the flour is relatively similar to all-purpose flour and I think the hearty flavors of this loaf stand up well with it.  I substituted just about a quarter of the regular flour with spelt and bottom-line, you can't tell any difference.
Feeling confident, I doubled the recipe and made one regular-size loaf for my family plus 2 smaller loaves for gifting.  Luckily, my confidence paid off.  The loaves turned out as flavorful and moist as I expected.  I love the classic flavors of gingerbread interspersed with the studs of dark chocolate, all wrapped up in a soft, moist, cake-like package.  It is most definitely very similar to those cookies we adore (this loaf being a little less sweet and a bit less rich if you want to compare) and now we can further enjoy those flavors in a different way.

I have a strong feeling I'll be making this one again next Christmas and others to come.


For this chocolate gingerbread, you could use loaf pans or bake the batter in an 8-inch round or square cake pan, depending on the type of presentation you're after.  This is the kind of baked good that stands somewhere between bread and cake so I settled by calling it a "loaf cake". 
I doubled the recipe to make a single loaf and two smaller ones.  I would mention that this recipe does not make a lot of batter so if you're using a regular loaf pan, go with a slimmer, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (as opposed to a 9x5 inch) so that you have a slightly taller result.  When I'm making mini loaves, I normally like to use the aluminum kind that's roughly 6 inches by 3 inches because I like that size.  But for holiday gifting, I decided to use these longer paper pans.
I just wanted to show the before and after so you get a sense of how much batter you have in the pan before baking and how they rise after.
What you end up with is a moist and tender gingerbread, thanks not only to molasses, but also buttermilk, in this recipe.  It's definitely more on the side of moist and almost-fragile as opposed to dense and hearty. All the zesty gingerbread spices come through (but it's not overpowering; even kids like it in my experience) and the studs of dark chocolate just make the whole thing utterly addictive for the holidays.  I never would have considered myself a gingerbread fans years ago.  Now, I can't seem to get enough - particularly around Christmas and especially when it involves chocolate!


Recipe:

Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf Cake
Adapted from Lara Ferroni (and also inspired by Martha Stewart's chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

- For one 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf (you could also bake it in an 8-inch cake pan or two smaller loaf pans; the recipe also doubles well) -

135 grams (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour (I substituted 1/4 cup with spelt flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with baking spray.

In a bowl, sift together (or whisk thoroughly) the flour, baking soda, cocoa, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Place butter and freshly grated ginger into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed for about a minute to incorporate. Add brown sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, scraping the bowl as necessary.  Mix the buttermilk and molasses together in a measuring cup and add all at once to the mixture.  Mix until combined.  The mixture will look curdled at this point but will come together after the dry ingredients are added.  Add the flour and spice mixture and beat together until just combined into a smooth batter.  Lightly fold in the chocolate using a rubber spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before turning out and setting on the rack to cool completely.




58 comments:

  1. Last week I baked a gingerbread loaf, but it's nothing like yours..so moist, chocolatey and wonderfully delicious. I must give your recipe a try soon! Thanks for sharing, Monica.

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  2. I'm not usually super into gingerbread, but the chocolate addition is winning me over. Big time.

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    1. I didn't grow up ever eating it and I never thought I'd like it until a few years ago my son had a gingerbread cookie and liked it and asked me to make him some. It went from there to the discovery of the chocolate combination and that changed everything. I am craving these spices at this time of year. It's funny how we have seasonal cravings.

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  3. Hi Monica, gingerbread is one of my favorite flavors, love that you added chocolate to the mix, I bet this is delicious!

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    1. For me, chocolate makes everything better, Cheri! : )

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  4. Looks gorgeously rich and festive x

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    1. It's really moist and the chocolate definitely adds infinite richness that I adore. : )

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  5. We've been all about gingerbread this year too because that's my son's new favorite flavor obsession at the moment. Your chocolate gingerbread loaves look so moist and incredible! I love that you added fresh ginger to intensify the flavors, it sounds amazing and the smaller loaves do make perfect gifts!

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    1. I was so shocked when it turned out that my son liked gingerbread cookies and kids don't find the flavor too much. It really was very moist and it holds well for a few days. I think I'll go have a slice soon. ; )

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  6. Chocolate gingerbread?!?! Oh my gosh, I need to add this to my baking list for this season! haha I am so obsessed with gingerbread this year and with chocolate... well that just sounds even better!

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    1. Oh yeah, Ashley...love gingerbread cookies (and now bread) with chocolate! I suppose I would love almost anything with chocolate but it's good!

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  7. How am I going to make all these wonderful recipes before Christmas? I love this - thank you so much for another fascinating recipe. I thought I was done baking but now I have to have this! Yum! Monica - you are an awesome baker and wonderful blogger - you apparently read my mind and know what I need even before I know I need it! Haha - Merry Christmas!

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    1. Tricia, I see so many great recipes/ideas/inspiration from bloggers like you! I wish we all had more time and tummy space! Thank you so much for your kind words, as always. I am glad we're thinking along the same lines! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  8. Wow! You've totally convinced me that I've got to try out a chocolate gingerbread cookie or loaf cake recipe this winter! The photos look amazing (:

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    1. haha - I'm glad I did! Thanks, Monica

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  9. Gosh that looks delish ! I love the gingerbread spices in loaves and cakes.

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    1. I was missing out for all the years that I didn't think I enjoyed gingerbread. : )

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  10. I love seeing those delicious melting chocolate chips inside too. I bet your house smelled amazing while your chocolate gingerbread loaf was baking was baking. Shared!

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    1. Hi, BAM - thanks! It does smell good and honestly, chocolate makes everything better (in my book). ; )

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  11. Oh my gosh Monica! Look how moist that Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf is. My stomach just growled out loud - I think it's saying "feed me!"

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    1. It's crazy moist, Kristi. I was really happy about that.

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  12. This looks so rich and full of yummy flavor!!!

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    1. It's nice and moist, and definitely full of gingerbread flavor. : )

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  13. Chocolate and gingerbread are so perfect!!! Love how moist these breads look :)

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    1. Thank you! I love a moist cake, don't you! : )

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  14. Monica, this looks so moist. I've never made that combination before, It looks so good.

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    1. I hope you try it! If you like chocolate, it opens the world of gingerbread for you. haha

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  15. Lovely, delicious looking bread. Perfect for the holidays. Please send me one of those loaves, please. I can see that you have quite a few of them. ;)

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    1. haha - It *is* the season of giving! I love packing up goodies and sharing...I'm sure I'm more excited and happy about it than the recipients.

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  16. Gingerbread loaves are my favorite this time of the year!!!!! I love how you translated your love for gingerbread cookies into this super moist looking loaf! I want a slice (or 3 ) of this heavenly looking cake! <3

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    1. Thank you, Samina. Those cookies rock and I just knew I'd get a very similar flavor here and a good cake is a beautiful thing.

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  17. It looks so moist and fluffy! I bet the smell and flavors were simply irresistible!

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    1. I was really happy with how moist this loaf is. Thanks, Katerina.

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  18. Sure, who would not love such moist and tender-looking gingerbread! I particularly adore it with the add of fresh ginger and spelt flour, with which I always excuse myself to eat more.

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    1. You got me! I add a little whole grain and I feel like I can totally dig in and load up! ; )

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  19. This. looks. AMAZING!! I am a huge gingerbread lover, and my husband is THE chocolate lover, so this is going on our must-make list! ;)

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    1. Aww..thanks, Marie! This is the perfect marriage of flavors for you guys then. haha - hope you try it if you have time.

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  20. Looks absolutely mouthwatering! You always have such amazing ideas, and I love that first photo!
    - Alessandra (www.thefoodieteen.com)

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    1. That is so kind of you. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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  21. I adore gingerbread, but have never tried chocolate gingerbread. From the looks of your cake, it would be worth a try!

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    1. It's definitely worth the try, in my opinion!

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  22. Absolutely amazing! Loved the pic too..

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  23. Moist and chocolatey.... Looks perfect, Monica! Happy Holidays to you and your family! :)

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    1. Thank you - and the same to you and yours. Enjoy your new condo!

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  24. Monica, the texture of this looks amazing! :o Love that cross section pic :D

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    1. Glad you like that, Lorraine. Happy Holidays!

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  25. Delicious. It is very inviting. Beautiful presentation and pic too. :)

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  26. These are gorgeous looking gingerbread loaves! The addition of chocolate is a great idea too. I love gingerbread, these look fantastic.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Nazneen!

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  27. Chocolate and Ginger are huge favourite and hit combination on my blog. Spices just go so well with chocolate. These loaves look mouthwatering delicious with the perfect colour and texture.I've never tried using molasses..always treacle and/or golden syrup. Dying to give this a try.

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    1. I am planning to make this soon and realized I didn't reply to some comments. It wouldn't be Christmas without chocolate and spices! Just made some chocolate gingerbread cookie dough and this is slated for next week!

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  28. Gosh, I love the moisture in this cake Monica and the glistening chocolate chips. I can only imagine how great this tastes!!

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    1. I can't wait to bake and eat it again, Jo!

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