For those of you who may not like the very spicy, dark version so often served during the holidays, this loaf is lighter and very moist. A hint of orange is a wonderful addition, and the cream cheese icing is a perfect compliment. (Originally published by Veronica Hill.)
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
- 1 cup applesauce
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1⁄2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon orange extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan, or even a square baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda into applesauce and mix into creamed butter. Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just slightly sticky. (Be careful not to over bake, for this cake can dry out easily. Just remember that the toothpick shouldn't come out clean, but a little sticky).
- For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Frost the cake when it is completely cooled. Decorate with chopped candied orange peel or candied ginger.
- *Note: This recipe tastes best the next day.