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(Update:  baked again and photographed 12/14/13)

Apologies are due right off the bat for the font and formatting inconsistencies.  No amount of editing, re-typing, cutting and pasting is working, I’m running up the white flag!

I’m also sorry I don’t have a delicious looking picture to share with this recipe, but we’ve eaten it all (until next week) and my friend Julie just asked for this recipe.  Since I’ve just gotten it all typed up, and because she’s not the first person to request it this week, I’m posting for all to bake.

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This tender, fragrant cake is sooo good, and when it’s baking the whole house smells like Christmas!  I prefer to make the smaller loaves so that I can freeze a couple for emergency desserts or impromptu coffee with friends over the holidays.  Plus, we eat whatever is sitting out, so tearing through eating a small one makes us seem so virtuous, nutritionally speaking.

So here it is, friend Julie (and other lovely friends).  Bake, eat, and ENJOY…and don’t forget to lick the bowls!

With love, Lorrie

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Gingerbread Loaf Cake
(adapted from an online recipe I’ve had so long I don’t remember the source)

Makes 1 9 x 5 loaf pan or 3 mini-pans

 You need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
Zest from 1 orange, divided in half
1 cup applesauce

Icing:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz soft butter (or use 8 oz total cream cheese instead)
½  teaspoon vanilla extract
Half of orange zest
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Juice from zested orange

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350°F Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan, or 3 mini loaf pans
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, half of the orange zest and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until its light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Dissolve the baking soda into applesauce, and then mix it into the creamed butter. Add in the flour mixture, blending until its smooth, but don’t over-do it.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan(s).

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just slightly sticky. Be careful not to over bake, for this cake dries out easily. Remember that the toothpick shouldn’t come out clean, but a little sticky.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese or cheese/butter blend until its light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and orange zest.  Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, and add a small amount of the orange juice to get the texture you want.  Frost the cake when it is completely cooled. ( This cake tastes best if you make it the day before you plan to serve it.  It also freezes well, un-iced.)

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