Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate Seeds

Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate SeedsGingerbread cake is one of those definitive holiday dishes to me that oozes warmth and festivity. It’s spiced and dense, rich with the dark sugars of molasses, yet balanced by lemon zest. With a dollop of airy, freshly whipped cream adorning the top and its viscous sheen, a good gingerbread cake simply cannot be beat. Yet I make them all too rarely! This year, I endeavored to change that.

Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate SeedsI love the simplicity and elegance of the cake — they say its origins date back as far as Ancient Greece, which is a tried-and-true recipe if I’ve ever heard of one. Of course, each iteration changes it, from light and fluffy to thick and dense, to flattened out crunchy cookies decorated to look like characters out of the song, “Little Boxes”.Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate SeedsSo, this year, to balance out the inherent classic nature of the dish, I decided to put a bit of a spin on it, using winter’s darling of the fresh and seasonal world: the pomegranate. I’d originally bought a pomegranate to make a baby kale, pomegranate, feta, and walnut salad, but when plating my gingerbread cake for photos, I was struck by a chord of genius. How amazing would those juicy little bites be, ruby pockets of tart flavor, pillowed by fresh whipped cream, the princess pea on the bed of rich, spiced gingerbread?! Not only did they add the perfect visual element, an elegant addition to a comforting holiday dish, but they added the perfect balance of bright tartness, paired with the necessary citrus infused in the cake itself.

Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate SeedsMake sure you don’t overbake this cake, or you’ll end up with a dry texture. Other than that, it’s incredibly simple to make, yet perfectly sophisticated. Perfect for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, holiday parties and the office, weekend breakfast (or, let’s be honest, a mid-morning over-my-desk snack on a Wednesday). Fresh whipped cream will hold well in the fridge for a couple to a few days, so make the whole batch when you make the cake and store it in an airtight container to cut down on serving time on your second and third go-round with this classic holiday cake.

Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate SeedsA tip on separating the seeds of a pomegranate without mess – slice off the crown (top) of the pomegranate then cut into sections. Submerge sections in a bowl of water and simply roll out the seeds with your fingers. Drain the bowl of seeds into a strainer and voilà! Lastly.. did you know the pomegranate “seeds” are not seeds at all? They’re called arils, and they’re actually juice sacs. Weird, amIright?

Make this.

Gingerbread Cake with Pomegranate Seeds
A rich, spiced gingerbread cake with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and bright, juicy pomegranate seeds - an elegant take on a holiday classic.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves (or an additional ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon, if you don't have ground cloves)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon (avoid the white pith)
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses (spray measuring cup with cooking spray before pouring in molasses to help it come out easily)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped until peaks form using an electric beater or stand mixer
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds of (see note in blog text)
  • powdered sugar, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and place rack in middle of oven. Butter and flour a 9" round or square cake pan with 2" sides.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  3. In bowl of electric stand mixer (or medium bowl with handheld electric beaters), cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed. Add half the dry ingredients, the milk, then the remaining half of the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with offset spatula. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Start testing at 35 minutes. *DO NOT OVERBAKE!* Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar through a wire sieve over the top of the cake. Spoon a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the individual piece and garnish with several pomegranate seeds.
To remove seeds from pomegranate without mess: slice off the crown (top) of the pomegranate then cut into sections. Submerge sections in a bowl of water and simply roll out the seeds with your fingers. Drain the bowl of seeds into a strainer. Dry before garnishing cake.



  1. ateaspoonofhappiness says

    I can just imagine the little pomegranate seeds bursting in your mouth. YUM. I never ever considered baking with pomegranates. I actually have never bought a pomegranate in my life. Maybe that should change. I saw some sad looking ones at the grocery store the other day, but maybe if I find a nice one this recipe would be perfect for our mini Christmas “party” next week.

    • thestylistquo says

      Dang! Only you would be able to move across the world and host a party within a few weeks! And yes, you MUST start buying pomegranates. They really can dress up any recipe with absolutely no effort and they lighten up the palette of so many otherwise heavy holiday dishes. But most importantly, please tell me you’ll be blogging about your mini Christmas party!

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