Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread

Gingerbread reminds me of gingerbread cookies and gingerbread houses but I wanted to make some real gingerbread cake this season. And I wanted it topped with a light, delicious glaze. Gingerbread already has so many complex flavors going on that you need to keep the toppings simple. A butter cream frosting is the most obvious but I wanted some unexpected flavors to help this recipe pop. Enter: Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread.

Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread

It’s actually a little difficult to find simple gingerbread recipes…and if you’re an experienced baker, you know that tweaking a recipe can drastically change the texture and even the flavor of your baked goods. I was looking for a gingerbread recipe to bring to a party recently and the recipes had me boiling water, dissolving baking soda, and molasses. That was one too many steps for me, so I came up with my Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread recipe instead. It’s simple for the holidays and it makes your house smell incredible.

This recipe is seriously SO good. The gingerbread is packed with spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and even black pepper. These warming flavors pair really nicely with the lemon-vanilla glaze that lightens things up a bit (not to mention a super easy topping).

I love having this around over the holidays for guests if they stop by. It’s such an inviting recipe for kids and adults alike. I used whole wheat flour in this recipe so it’s a little bit higher in fiber and nutrients and it also gives the cake a more hearty texture. I brought it to a friendsgiving party and it was a huge hit. Everyone really enjoyed the balance of the lemon-vanilla glaze. Because of that, it’s actually easier to pick up and to serve than if it had a thick white frosting on it. And you can always freshen it up a few days later but adding on a fresh sprinkle of lemon zest.

I’m baking a lot this holiday! It’s been really fun! I feel like I’ve finally settled into a routine where I plan ahead enough and I know how to carve out time so the months of November and December are more balanced. I made some recipes recently that I’m very excited about. I made a delicious celeriac and apple salad with vanilla honey dressing because celeriac is SUCH a cool veggie and we need way more seasonal salads this time of year. I made a farro risotto with butternut squash and sage that is absolutely incredible and so flavorful for the season.

As you well know, I also do a lot of healthy(ish) cocktails on the blog so I made a Carrot Ginger Turmeric Mimosa as well as an apple cider wine spritzer for all your entertaining needs. I also updated a recipe that I served at Thanksgiving this year: my apple cider bourbon punch. This was such a hit at the party and you know what? It would pair quite well with my lemon-vanilla glazed gingerbread.

Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread

To get started with this recipe, preheat your oven to 325F and lightly coat your loaf pan and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients together. You’ll notice ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and even black pepper in this recipe, spicing it up.

The cake is sweetened with brown sugar as well as molasses. Molasses is such an interesting sweetener to use and it’s found mostly around the holidays, at least in this part of the world. Of any sugar cane product, it has the lowest sugar content and it actually has a little bit of nutritional value in the form of iron, calcium, magnesium and B6. We’re not talking large amounts and of course, it’s very sweet, so you can use it here and there in recipes but it won’t likely be a staple in your daily life.

One fun thing about this recipe is that it contains crystalized ginger. I often cook with fresh ginger root but this Lemon-Vanilla glazed gingerbread cake recipe is all about the dried and candied ginger. I found some in the bulk section of my local grocery store and for the recipe, I just chopped it up and incorporated it into the batter.

If you wanted to get creative, there are many other things you could add to this recipe. You could put in any variety of nuts but I think that pecans or walnuts in particular, chopped, would be lovely. You could also do some dried fruit like currants or raisins if you wanted but again, I was trying to keep it simple this time.

Lemon-Vanilla glazed gingerbread

Lemon-Vanilla Glaze

One of the most exciting parts about this recipe is the lemon-vanilla glaze. It is so simple and just very delicious. My intern Katie was the mastermind here and she whipped up some fresh lemon juice with a dash of vanilla extract, added powdered sugar and water and got it to her desired consistency. It turns into this beautiful creamy, yellow glaze. We popped it in the refrigerator to set just slightly, for about 5 minutes, and then we just topped it and garnished with a little lemon zest.

Lemon is a really fun addition here, nutritionally speaking. Just 1/4 cup, which is about what we used, contains about 30% of your daily vitamin C needs plus a little folate and potassium.

This is a brown colored recipe so adding in a little glaze gives it both a pop of color as well as flavor. The sweet glaze balances all the spice in the gingerbread for a very wonderful little holiday dessert.

This would be such a perfect treat to take to an office party or simply to treat your coworkers. I could imagine enjoying it with a cup of coffee in the morning. I work by myself now – or with my interns – so I miss out a little on that office camaraderie that I used to have. However, I’m at home more, in my office, and my kitchen is right outside my door. I love that I can pop out and bake something delicious like this lemon-vanilla glazed gingerbread any time of the day now. I hope you enjoy it!


Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread

Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread

  • Author: Ginger Hultin
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf



Cooking spray
1 ¼ cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
¾ cup molasses
¾ cup water
2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, roughly chopped

Lemon-Vanilla Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk

1 Tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, salt, and baking soda together in medium mixing bowl. In a separate small mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg to wet mixture. In a third small bowl, mix remaining 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour with chopped ginger. Alternate adding water and butter and sugar mixture to flour-spice mixture 1/4 cup at a time, mixing to combine.  Once combined into a batter, fold in the crystallized ginger and flour mixture. Transfer to prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. To make the glaze whisk together confectioner’s sugar, milk, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Top gingerbread loaf with glaze to serve.

  • Category: dessert
  • Cuisine: Americana


  • Serving Size: 1/8 loaf

Keywords: gingerbread, gingerbread cake, lemon glaze, vanilla glaze, holiday cake, real gingerbread, easy gingerbread

The post Lemon-Vanilla Glazed Gingerbread appeared first on Ginger Hultin MS, RD, CSO.

Rosewater Shortbread Cookies

These are buttery, whole-wheat shortbread cookies – fragrant with rosewater, and flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They have a crunchy dusting of sugar on top that provides a satisfying, sweet tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. I’m not going to lie – it took a few attempts to nail them down. As many of you know – dealing with floral flavors can be a bit tricky. But now, as written, they’re oh so tasty.Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Shortbread Cookies: Inspiration

These little guys came about when I was tasked with bringing dessert to a friend’s house. She was cooking an impressive Ottolenghi-inspired feast, and I thought these would be a pretty finish. With the rose petals and all. In the years since that dinner they’ve become part of my regular shortbread repertoire, and I make them often for special occasions and holidays. I mean, they’re so pretty and tasty!
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Baking with Flowers

The trick with cooking or baking with florals is figuring out how much is too much, and how little is too little. For example, with this shortbread recipe, the first couple of attempts I used dried rose petals only, and a good amount. But the flavor got pushed around a bit, bullied and overpowered by the browning butter.

Second attempt? I gave the rose notes a boost by layering the petals in the dough with a splash of rose water. The dough immediately became more fragrant, balanced, and helped nail what I intended (and hoped for) from the start. I suggest using a bit of caution when baking with rose water, because each bottle seems to vary in strength, quality, and scent. Strictly for reference, I’ll mention that I have been using Nielsen-Massey Rose Water. If you’re unsure about the quality or strength of your rose water, start with half, and taste the dough. You can always adjust with more from there. Trust your senses :)!
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These little shortbread cookies are perfect alongside other bite-sized treats on a post-dinner sweets board. I like to break up a good bar of chocolate, include some salted caramels, maybe a few dates, etc. Or you could do a cookie-only sampler, with a range of tiny cookies. There are a lot of favorite cookie recipes to explore, or bake larger cookies, and cut them into quarters so people can sample.

Continue reading Rosewater Shortbread Cookies on 101 Cookbooks

Thanksgiving 2019

{My new wreath from Target!}

Hi friends! It feels like forever since I chimed in with a post. Did that weekend feel long to anyone else? We had lots of hustle and bustle with family and friends Wed – Friday and then Thomas and I spent Saturday and Sunday relaxing and recharging. It was a super holiday overall!

Grammie + Pea Came To Visit!

Grammie brought Gus a toy duck, which he promptly tore apart. Grammie was not too happy!

Wednesday: Bball + Date Night

On Wednesday, Thomas took my dad to the UVA basketball game, and then G+P babysat the boys while T and I went on a date. We went to Ten Sushi and had a great time!

Thursday: Thanksgiving

We each took a shift in the kitchen. I made cranberry sauce (Teri’s version with bourbon!) and Pinch of Yum’s Sweet Potato Casserole.

Mom made her popular corn pudding, and Thomas smoked our turkey on his Big Green Egg!

He was happy as a clam smoking on our new porch!

I put together a mini version of the charcuterie board from last week.

And set the table!

Thomas’s parents and T’s cousin, Michael, also joined us. (Mazen was there but he was too cool to get in the group photo so we didn’t force him.)

I had an egg sandwich for breakfast, nibbles + cheese board for lunch, and a big plate for dinner at 5:00. Plus a generous plate of pie with whipped cream! We had three kinds: pumpkin, pecan, and apple, all from Paradox Pastry.

Birch loved the corn pudding and sweet potatoes! His first real Thanksgiving.

We were all worn out for the day and in bed by 9.


On Black Friday, I woke up and made a cranberry sauce smoothie! Hoping to share the recipe soon.

Thomas and I went to ACAC for a post-Turkey Day workout (led by Matt, yes that Matt!)

We said goodbye to Grammie and Pea and then had friends over all day to watch the UVA football game! The new porch TV was installed just in time. Thomas was in heaven! We had sandwiches and some beer and did lots of cheering (and chasing after kids!)

Trim The Tree

Our sweet little tabletop tree couldn’t hold too many ornaments. But the minimalist in me is loving it! Mazen had so much fun getting out the Christmas decor this year.

While Mazen, Birch, and I decorated, Thomas reheated all of the leftovers. I think he put more on my plate than I had on actual Thanksgiving!! But that was no a problem – I still ate it all :mrgreen:

I watched the latest Survivor episode on the edge of my seat!!


We couldn’t wait it relax on Saturday after having company for a few days in a row. I went to my 8am workout class and had a slice of pie (!) and the rest of a smoothie for breakfast. Mazen went over to Matt’s for the night, and T and I caught up on laundry, emails, and couch time.

Saturday evening we went to a friends’ party for a bit before watching a couple episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix. It’s our new favorite show!

9 To 5 is my new favorite holiday lip color!

Beautycounter is on its final day of the best deals of the year!

Sunday Yoga

Breakfast of eggs, fruit + scone.

I was SO THANKFUL to get to go to a 75 minute hot yoga class at The Elements! My body and mind needed it so badly, and it had been way too long.

Hope you guys had a great holiday full of joy!

What was the highlight of your long weekend? Buy anything good for Black Friday?

The post Thanksgiving 2019 appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

Categories: Nutrition Tags: Tags: ,

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

These Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes are my favorite dessert on my whole blog. The day we made them, we taste tested them and they totally blew us away with their delicious flavor, texture and the gorgeous edible topping that creates such a special, beautiful display. I took these to a party the next day and people couldn’t get enough of them. These cupcakes are absolutely perfect for the holiday season or really any time of year because they offer such a unique flavor profile. They’re simply delicious.

When I was planning this recipe, out, I realized that I don’t have enough specifically gluten-free recipes on my blog. Of course, many are naturally gluten-free like my No Bake Vegan Chocolate Haystack Cookie Bites or my Fresh Lemon Honey Tapioca Pudding. There are so many options for gluten-free but I also have some flour-containing recipes that would need to be adapted to cut out the gluten. That’s really no problem with so many amazing gluten-free flours available today. The one I used for this recipe is the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour blend. It works perfectly every time.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Being a dietitian, I work with a lot of people who are either gluten-free or want (or need) to go gluten-free. That can be daunting! The first thing we start discussing is what exactly gluten IS. So many people associate gluten with carbs but that’s not it at all. For example, rice, corn, quinoa and oats don’t contain gluten. Rather it’s a specific protein in wheat so that’s why gluten-free eliminates products made with flour like bread and baked goods. Keep in mind that grains like spelt, farro, durum, and bulgur all contain gluten.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

When I was making this recipe, I was thinking about keeping it super simple. If you are making these around the holidays, and if you’re like me, you need to keep it simple. I recently wrote a post about my top tips for a stress-free (or reduced stress) holiday and not getting in too deep with recipes is certainly part of that.

The Cranberries

I want to tell you that the cranberry toppers are optional…but they’re not. They absolutely blew us away – they are so delicious and add so much to the final product. The festive cranberry toppers are simple, but you’ll need a little extra for preparation.

Cranberry topping for Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

If you needed to make it even more simple and you’re in a time crunch, you could also add pomegranate, raspberries, or some other type of fruit for a pop of color instead.

If you do decide to make the cranberries, I recommend starting with this step and then making the cupcakes since the cranberries have to set for a few hours. It actually wasn’t that bad. Just bring the water and sugar to a simmer in a small pot and pour it over your cranberries the let it sit for an hour. This is perfect timing to whip up that batter. After 60 minutes, drain them and then roll them in sugar and allow to set for another hour on parchment paper. They look like they were picked straight from a winter wonderland they are absolutely so gorgeous. The sugar turns into this fluffy snow-white crust and it’s just incredible.


For the cupcakes, make sure to preheat your oven so you can pop them in the oven and get the smell of gingerbread and chocolate through your house ASAP. Then mix your flour, cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, salt, and baking soda together. Whisk together molasses, sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Keeping your dry and wet ingredients separate until you are ready to put your cupcakes in the oven is actually a pretty important step and it has to do with food science. Baking soda helps the cupcakes to rise and when it is mixed with liquid it starts this process (but we don’t want the process to happen all out of the oven).

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

I just love how many different spices and flavors are in this recipe. Once they’re done, you can’t tell all of them apart, but rather you just have this delicious, decadent treat that is so unique yet familiar at the same time. The chocolate, to me, is the secret weapon here and I think that I love chocolate gingerbread way more than regular gingerbread. And I love regular gingerbread.

Frosting the Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

The cupcakes are so flavorful and the cranberries are so unique in this recipe that I wanted to keep the frosting super simple. Vanilla is already in the cupcakes so it was such a natural fit for a simple butter-cream frosting. A friend was asking about a gluten-free, dairy free recipe and that would be absolutely no problem. The dairy-free/vegan butters are really wonderful replacements to feel free to just replace that for regular butter and you won’t be able to tell the difference.

This frosting is just butter and sugar with a little vanilla. It turns out a crisp white color with a mild flavor that complements the whole recipe. It looks like the icing that you use on gingerbread houses to create snow…but it tastes a lot better. It’s best if you put the frosting bowl into the refrigerator to set a little while you’re cooling the cupcakes. If they’re too warm, it also will melt the butter and your frosting won’t set up quite right.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Once you’re ready to go, you can definitely use a fancy frosting bag and tip…or you can use what I used! A plastic bag with the tip of it cut out. Either way, just frost in a circular motion. You can frost the entire top of the cupcake or you can leave a little bit of the brown peeking through on the sides for a more rustic feel.

The best part of this whole recipe is decorating. I love to alternate with one cranberry and then two. We also dipped some fresh rosemary in the sugar and used that as well. It’s just so lovely and festive…and edible. The recipe turned out so well – please let me know if you try it!



Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Author: Ginger Hultin
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12


24 cranberries, raw
3/4 cup sugar, divided
½ cup water

For the Cupcakes
1 ¾ cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup molasses
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup water

1 stick butter, softened
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup water (more as needed for consistency)


1. Add cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in 1/2 cup of water. Set aside to cool for 1 hour. Place on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with additional 1.4 cup of sugar until coated. Allow to dry.

2. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tins. Combine flour, cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk together molasses, sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Alternate whisking the flour mixture and water until just combined. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes (until toothpick inserted comes out clean). Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

3. Whip butter, sugar, and water together in the base of a standard mixer until the consistency is smooth and thick. Place in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes to firm slightly.  Top each cupcake once cooled. Decorate with rosemary and cranberries (optional).

  • Category: desserts
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Americana

Keywords: gingerbread cupcakes, holiday cupcakes, chocolate gingerbread, holiday desserts, gluten-free cupcakes, gluten-free gingerbread

The post Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes appeared first on Ginger Hultin MS, RD, CSO.

Skip to toolbar