Recipe Review

Joy the Baker’s Gingerbread Swirl Cake Is the Most Effortless Holiday Dessert

published Dec 23, 2021
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joy the baker gingerbread swirl bundt cake I tried it
Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

I absolutely love holiday baking. My family and I have an annual Christmas cookie day and make over 500 cookies — so I mean it when I say making holiday desserts is my favorite part of the season. I’m always looking for new festive treats to add to my list of old-time classics, so when I saw Joy the Baker’s gingerbread swirl Bundt cake on Instagram, I knew I had to test it out. 

The allure of a spice cake and notes of a gingerbread cookie all in one swirly dessert seemed too tasty to pass up. Here’s what happened when I gave it a try. 

How to Make the Gingerbread Swirl Bundt Cake

This recipe is as easy as it gets. You’ll start by beating the vegetable shortening with an electric hand or stand mixer. Then, add the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Joy the Baker recommends beating these ingredients for another 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is softened and less grainy. Once that’s fluffy, add the eggs one at a time and beat for one minute apart. Next, add the vanilla extract. You can also add in the seeds of a vanilla bean, but that’s optional. Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients until well-incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until fully mixed in and then add milk and beat until combined. Finally, mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. 

Making the gingerbread swirl batter is simple. Just take two cups of the cake batter and mix in the molasses and variety of spices the recipe calls for. After greasing a 9-inch Bundt pan, scoop half of the plain batter into the pan, then half of the gingerbread batter on top of that. Repeat this with the remaining halves of batter. To create a swirl, use a butter knife to dip into the layers of batter and swirl around. Bake for an hour and 10 minutes at 350°F. Once the cake cools in the pan, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

My Honest Review

The batter for both the plain cake and gingerbread swirl was virtually flawless. It was perfectly fluffy, so my hopes were already very high before the Bundt was even in the oven. Plus, making the cake was effortless: creating the gorgeous swirl only required a quick swipe of a butterknife in the layers of batter. As the cake baked, the spicy scent wafting from the oven made me feel like I was standing in a life-sized gingerbread house instead of my kitchen. 

In my opinion, Joy the Baker did not disappoint. The gingerbread swirl cake was perfectly bouncy and light, while the gingerbread-to-plain-cake ratio was just right. Since the molasses shines through the spicy swirls, any more gingerbread spice would be too overpowering. I’m always looking for an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, and this cake just gets it. It’s light and not at all dense, which makes it the perfect companion to morning coffee.

Without a doubt, Joy the Baker’s gingerbread swirl Bundt cake is far superior to any gingerbread cookie I’ve ever had. If you’re all cookied out, this recipe is an easy and delicious way to impress your family and friends with a simple treat that gives off an effortless wow factor. This year, I’m definitely breaking the “only cookie” rule, and adding this to my family’s Christmas cookie baking day.

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

My Top Tips for Making Joy the Baker’s Gingerbread Swirl Bundt Cake

  1. Let it cool a longer period of time before removing from the pan. The recipe recommends letting the cake cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. Given I almost lost a large piece of my Bundt cake when removing it from the generously-greased pan, I found 20 minutes wasn’t enough cooling time. Keep yours in for five to 10 minutes longer to ensure your cake stays intact.
  2. Make sure to beat in each egg one minute apart. Joy the Baker advises beating in each egg one minute apart. If there’s one step you don’t want to skip, it’s this one. This ensures the batter is light and fluffy. At first, I was worried five eggs would make the cake too dense, but this trick helped create an impossibly bouncy and moist cake.
  3. Reduce the amount of sugar. The recipe calls for a lot of sugar. If you’re someone who enjoys dessert, but doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I’d reduce the sugar in the batter slightly. The cake is very sweet as is, that reducing it to your liking won’t completely alter the taste.