Gingerbread Coffeecake from the Bakehouse

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A wonderful, sweet way to work your way through winter

One of my all-time favorites from the Bakehouse! Apparently, I’m not alone. Amy Emberling, long-time co-managing partner at the Bakehouse, shared,

This cake was the catalyst for the most passionate disappointment expressed about a single recipe that was not included in our Zingerman’s Bakehouse book. The cake clearly has a dedicated following for its deep and satisfying flavors, along with its moist texture contrasting with the crispy, sugary exterior. The response inspired me to bring one home for our personal holiday celebrations and it was the biggest hit of all the choices. Family members literally couldn’t resist going back for more. It was fun to watch. If we do another book I promise the recipe will be in it. 

True to her word, the recipe is in the working draft of the second Bakehouse cookbook, entitled Celebrate Every Day: A Year’s Worth of Favorite Recipes for Festive Occasions, Big & Small, to be released in the fall of 2023. As with everything here at Zingerman’s, the ingredients that go into the cake contribute a lot to the flavor that you and I get to enjoy every time we eat some. Amy says:

The process for making gingerbread is quite simple. It’s a one-bowl quick cake. What makes ours particularly good I think is the combination of ingredients that add many layers to the flavor—brewed Zingerman’s Coffee Company coffee, hot mustard, Indonesian long pepper, crystallized ginger, and orange juice. It actually takes more time to measure all of the ingredients than it does to make the cake!

Add in lots of butter, flour, and fresh eggs. They all come together to make a dark, mysterious, marvelously gingery flavor that appeals to almost all ages and taste preferences. Where did the recipe come from? Amy continues:

We started making this cake when I realized that it was one of the last items I regularly made at home for my family because we didn’t make it at the bakery. Warm gingerbread with homemade whipped cream was part of our winter menu, mostly on Sundays when we were all at home lazing around, doing homework, folding laundry, watching football. We’d make cozy food on those cold winter Sundays, things like roast chicken or beef stew. Warm gingerbread was a perfect accompaniment. It seemed to me that other people might also enjoy this winter ritual so we decided to create one at the bakery.

We don’t make the Gingerbread Coffeecake at our house (I’m a cook, not a baker), but I do bring it home regularly. I love it. It gets this really thin sheen of a sugar crust on the outside, too—sort of like that very first bit of ice crystals that start to form on the lakes in late autumn. (Be sure to let the cake breathe for about 20 to 30 minutes after you open its plastic package.) The Gingerbread Coffeecake ships well too—it makes for a really fine gift for a friend, relative, or business connection you’d like to impress. If I were going to pick something to send (or receive) as a corporate gift right now, the Bakehouse Gingerbread Coffeecake would be at the top of my list!

The Gingerbread Coffeecake is great on its own any time of the day or with Vanilla Gelato from the Creamery, or the handcrafted Cream Cheese, too! If you’re one of the world’s many fans of the combination of ginger and chocolate, drizzle some chocolate over top! You can also crumble some into your coffee or over top of a hot chocolate!