My Apple-Ginger Cake is no Gingerbread Man

Caramelized Apple-Ginger Cake

The Gingerbread Man! Like Sippity Sup, the Gingerbread Man is a leading man in a nursery rhyme. The Gingerbread Man is a likable guy, if you like rhyme that is. But if you’re one of those people who developed a crush on the Gingerbread Man based solely on his catchy phrases (and boyishly, arrogant attitude), then I’ve got a romantic buzz kill for you. This Apple-Ginger Cake is an unabashed adversary to the Gingerbread Man. This is a cake that can explain why the story of the famous cookie – nobody could catch – was only laughing at himself.

In the story he was running from adversity. “Run Run as fast as you can, You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!”

Yes, he outran the little old woman and the little old man. Sure the pig and the cow and the hungry horse couldn’t catch him. He was too fast for them.

But if you remember the Gingerbread Man came at last to a river. He knew he could not get across the river. He was made of flour and sugar after all. So he joined forces with a fox.

Apple-Ginger Cake

Well, I respectably offer that this Apple-Ginger Cake is a bit like that fox. This Apple-Ginger Cake says it just wants to help. But if I were the Gingerbread Man I wouldn’t trust this cake any further than I could throw a fox.

Because, like that fox, this Apple-Ginger Cake has an ulterior motive. In the story they say it this way:

“No sooner had they reached the other side, than the fox tossed the gingerbread man up in the air. He opened his mouth and ‘Snap!’ That was the end of the gingerbread man.”

I’m not saying that this cake wants to eat the Gingerbread Man. But, sitting side by side, I’m quite sure you’d pick the spicy zing and moist texture of this apple-studded cake over the catchy rhymes of some old, dried-out Gingerbread Man. GREG

Caramelized Apple-Ginger CakeCaramelized Apple-Ginger CakeApple-Ginger CakeApple-Ginger Cake

Caramelized Apple-Ginger Cake 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6–8Source Inspired by Frances PricePublished

I used two 6‑inch cakes pans to make this cake a layer cake. You can make the cake in one (8 to 9‑inch) cake pan, or other similarly sized 4‑cup capacity ovenproof dish. Adjust cooking time as needed.

Caramelized Apple-Ginger Cake


  • cooking spray (as needed for pans)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 9 tablespoon unsalted butter (at room temperature, divided)
  • 2 crisp, tart apples (peeled, cored and cut into ½‑inch dice)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup unfiltered molasses
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 12 dried apple rings (optional, as garnish)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar (optional, as garnish)
  • mint leaves (optional, as garnish)


Lightly coat two 6‑inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom with a parchment round trimmed to fit, then lightly spray the paper. Divide the chopped walnuts evenly between each lined pan Set aside.

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water, and 4 tablespoons butter. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook an additional 6 or 7 minutes, or until mixture is thick and foamy and becomes a rich, light brown color. Remove from heat and immediately pour half the caramel over each of the nut-lined cake pans. Spoon half the apples into each cake pan, then use the back of the spoon to spread the apples evenly across the bottom. Use caution as the caramel will be very, very hot.

Place the oven rack in the center position, then heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, place the brown sugar and the remaining 5 tablespoon butter. Using a hand mixer, beat at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and molasses, and continue to beat another 2 or 3 minutes.

In a separate medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.

With the mixer on low, alternately beat in the buttermilk and dry ingredients in 2 or 3 additions, until well combined. Do not overmix.

Scrape half the batter into each cake pan, spreading it evenly across the apples. Tap the pans flatly on the counter several times to release any trapped air.

Bake in the heated oven for 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately use a blunt knife to loosen the sides of the cakes. Quickly invert each cake onto separate plates; leave pans in place for about 5 minutes then carefully remove them and peel off the parchment. Let the cakes cool completely, then stack one on top of the other. Garnish with dried apple rings, cinnamon-sugar, and mint leaves (if using). Serve at room temperature.

May be stored up to 3 days, covered at room temperature.