Our moist, old-fashioned gingerbread cake, baked in three 8-inch layers, is fragrant with the holiday flavors of molasses and spice. Bake and freeze up to two months ahead, then frost thawed layers on the day you plan to serve. Unwrap layers before thawing so excess moisture can evaporate.
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup light molasses
3/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 package (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
Preheat oven to 350. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour. In medium bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In 4-cup glass measuring cup, whisk molasses with 1 cup water.
In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat margarine with granulated sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium-low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, alternately add flour mixture and molasses mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until blended.
Pour batter into pans and spread evenly. Stagger pans on 2 oven racks, so layers are not directly above one another. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of each layer comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen layers. Invert layers onto wire racks to cool completely; discard waxed paper.
Prepare cream-cheese frosting: In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat frosting ingredients just until blended. Increase speed to medium; beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Makes about 2 1/2 cups frosting. To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on cake plate; spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer; spread with another 1/3 cup frosting, then top with remaining layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate if not serving right away.