CA GROWN Blog
Discover. Learn. Connect.
Sticky Gingerbread Cake – Rachel Dunston of Rachel Makes It
Sticky Gingerbread Cake – Rachel Dunston of Rachel Makes It
This Sticky Gingerbread Cake by Rachel Dunston (of Rachel Makes It) is a riff on Nigella Lawson’s famous recipe. It’s a delicious treat during the holidays with its warm spices and tender crumb. Bonus: it has less refined sugar, is lower in fat, and egg free thanks to the addition of Prune Puree.
I grew up in a small California town named for its oak trees and known for its yearly Almond Festival. Our High School was plopped in the middle of orchards and we drove through grapevine covered hills. Growing up, we visited our fruit stands regularly for cherries and corn. I didn’t realize how good I had it until I moved away for college to a place where the growing season is 5 months long.
Coming back to California was the best thing we ever did for lots of reasons. The food is at the top of my list. Living in the Central Valley gives me access to an amazing variety of quality food and quality people. Getting to know many of the families who run their own growing operations has been as good as the food. I’m always happy to support California farmers and farm workers – who are my neighbors and friends.
California has so much amazing produce! Some of my favorite California Grown things to incorporate into baking are sweetpotatoes and the incredible dried fruits we have – especially prunes!
Get a taste of Rachel’s recipes with California deliciousness!
Many people think of England when it comes to the notorious fruit cake, but the cake actually dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. It’s thought that the first fruit cakes were made as a way to preserve fruit. By soaking dried fruit in alcohol, the shelf life can be greatly extended. I really hope you try out homemade Mini Fruit Cakes this year. It’s kind of my goal to make fruit cake sexy again. Together, we can change her reputation.
This cake is chocolate and plum heaven. Super rich, moist and delicious. How can I convince you to try it? Honestly I am not sure what to say, other than the fact the my husband and kids both gobbled it down before I was finished taking photographs of it – so that may be some indication for you.
I am always looking for a way to get my kids to eat more healthy. Discovering that dried plums (or prune) puree can be used as a substitute for butter or oil in baking is a game changer. Using prune puree in recipes that rely heavily on good semi-sweet or dark chocolate is delicious. The kids will never know what you’ve done, and you can rest easy knowing you are killing it at the Mom game. Level 10, for sure.
These cookies are so good, you will be sad you have not been adding prunes all along.
Cookies are best as an after school snack or Saturday afternoon baking project. They keep at room temperature for several days and you can add them to school lunches. If you are not into all that, then just whip them up for yourself and scarf them down in an day or two at your leisure.
Adding pecans and raisins to them makes the cookies feel like a healthy and responsible choice while they taste like a total treat.
A seasoned baker and lip sync professional of sorts, Rachel Dunston likes to hang out in the candy and toy aisles at Target. Her house always smells like cake and is full of wild children who make a lot of loud noise. Rachel is best known for her mind blowing and creatively decorated cakes. She also teaches classes, hosts events, raises kids and has worked with many California commodity companies. Rachel appeared on the Food Network in 2020. We know you’ll love her delicious recipe for Sticky Gingerbread Cake with California Prunes!
Sticky Gingerbread Cake
- 8×8" baking pan
- Immersion Blender
- 2/3 cup Prune Puree
- ⅔ cup corn syrup
- ⅔ cup molasses
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped pitted prunes
- 1, 3 inch chunk of peeled ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup milk dairy or plant-based
- 2¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 8×8″ baking tin with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. Spray corners with flour based baking spray.
- Measure the prune puree (or vegetable oil) into a heavy saucepan. Add the corn syrup and molasses.
- Add sugar to the pan, and chopped prunes.
- Peel ginger then grate it finely into the saucepan. Add in the spices and salt and keep warm over low heat, whisking until combined.
- Once everything is combined, remove the pan from heat. The mixture should be just warmed. Add the milk, whisking gently.
- Whisk in the flour, avoiding lumps as you go. Sometimes an immersion blender is helpful.
- Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water in a large cup, the vinegar will cause a fizzy so extra space in the cup is important. Whisk the fizzy mixture into your pan. Fun, right?
- Pour the batter into your lined tin and bake for 50–55 minutes. This is a very moist and sticky cake, so the best way to check for doneness is by pressing the middle down with your fingers and looking for it to spring back. The usual toothpick test isn’t helpful for this cake.
- Let cool on a rack. This cake is best served cool, the next day.
S’mores Chocolate Banana Bread! One more amazing chocolate + prunes recipe you’ll definitely love.
This fudgy S’mores Chocolate Banana Bread recipe will definitely become a family favorite – assuming you’re willing to share. And since it’s loaded with California grown goodness, it’s way healthier than it looks – or tastes!
Frequently Asked Questions about Sticky Gingerbread Cake:
Gingerbread is sticky because it’s made with a batter heavy with molasses, which creates a dense, slightly chewy and sticky texture. Many recipes also call for corn syrup, treacle or prunes to be added, all of which add to the sticky texture and deep, rich flavor.
The deep color of gingerbread comes from the molasses-rich batter, plus the addition of warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice. The dark color can also come from the addition of brown sugar, treacle or prunes, all of which add flavor and texture to the gingerbread.
Gingerbread cake tastes of warm spices, most notably ground ginger, along with cloves, cinnamon, and allspice, along with molasses. The cake is deliciously sticky from the molasses-based batter, and the rich flavor is often enhanced by the addition of brown sugar, treacle or prunes.