Gingerbread Snack Cake with Sourdough Discard

Gingerbread has always been one of my favorite holiday flavors. As a kid living in Europe with my family, I grew up going to German Christmas markets: stalls filled with nutcrackers, handmade trinkets and intricately iced “Lebkuchen” (gingerbread). I was always intrigued by the sweet and spicy smell and the delicious flavor. This sourdough gingerbread cake evokes so many of those Christmas childhood memories and will make your whole house smell like Christmas. It is a soft and tender crumb, jam-packed with gingerbread/molasses flavor and uses up a bunch of sourdough discard. My kids especially love this sourdough gingerbread snack cake and always ask for extra whipped cream. It takes me back to my childhood Christmas memories and is the perfect snack cake to eat all winter long.

Jump to Gingerbread Snack Cake with Sourdough Discard Recipe

Sourdough Discard in Gingerbread Cake

A word of warning: not all sourdough discard is created equal, age makes a difference. The discard that has been sitting in my fridge for a week or two gives a lot more “tang” to this cake. For some recipes you will want to taste that sourdough flavor. For this recipe, I prefer to use sourdough discard that is only a day or two old, so it cuts down on the tang. My family didn’t even know there was sourdough in this recipe. You can also use bubbly sourdough starter if you want in this gingerbread snack cake and it should work well. If you want to taste the tangy sourdough along with the gingerbread spices, go ahead and use up that 2 week old discard from your fridge. It will still taste delicious.

Blackstrap Molasses

Molasses is made out of sugar cane, and it is categorized depending on how many times the sugar cane syrup has been boiled and then extracted. The first boiling/extracting is light molasses. Second boiling/extracting is dark molasses and third boiling/extracting produces Blackstrap molasses (affiliate link). It is the most concentrated molasses and has a bittersweet flavor on its own. Typically you will find the “light” molasses in a regular grocery store. Health food stores and some grocery stores will often carry blackstrap molasses due to the concentrated nutrients found in it. In this cake, I love the flavor the blackstrap molasses brings when combined with the sugars. It gives a depth of delicious molasses flavor that pairs so nicely with the spices. If you don’t have blackstrap molasses on hand, you can substitute it for regular molasses (it just might not have as “punchy” of a flavor).

A Few Gingerbread Snack Cake Tips:

  1. The first step in making this gingerbread snack cake is to mix very hot (nearly boiling) water with the molasses. This helps break down the sugars in the molasses and lets it fully incorporate into the cake batter. 
  2. I use one bowl for this gingerbread snack cake. I add my spices directly to the center of the bowl and mix them in before adding in the sourdough discard and flour. I like to go with “less cleanup”, and with four kids, we always have a lot of dishes. You can find some of my other favorite one-bowl recipes: here, here and here.
  3. I like to bake this cake at 400 degrees for the first ten minutes and then reduce the temperature and continue the bake. This hot temperature activates the baking powder in the cake, giving it a beautiful domed top. 

Deep Gingerbread/Molasses Flavor

If you really want the deep gingerbread flavor, this cake needs to cool completely before serving. As the cake cools, the flavors bloom and turn into the perfect mix of molasses/gingerbread heaven. If I am making this cake for my family, we will often snack on a piece fresh out of the oven…and then wait for it to cool and have another slice. We like to top it with whipped cream (fresh is best, but we don’t always have heavy whipping cream on hand), and it is just delicious. I hope you enjoy it too!

Gingerbread Snack Cake with Sourdough Discard

A soft and tender crumb, jam packed with gingerbread/molasses flavor and uses up a bunch of sourdough discard: the perfect Christmas snack cake.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cake

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup very hot water
  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses can substitute regular molasses
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar can also use dark brown
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil any neutral flavored oil works
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup sourdough discard see note
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 by 8 pan with cooking spray or a parchment sling.
  • To a liquid measuring cup, add 1/3 cup water. Microwave it until very hot or almost boiling. You can also do this on the stovetop. Add the molasses to the hot water and mix together. Set aside.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add brown sugar, granulated sugar and oil. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and mix.
  • Add the molasses/water mixture, mixing as your pour it in (this helps temper the egg if the molasses mixture is still very hot). Continue mixing until completely incorporated.
  • Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and cloves directly to the middle of the bowl and mix together, taking care not to splash any of it out of the bowl.
  • Add the greek yogurt and sourdough discard. Mix together. Then add the flour and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the mixture into your greased pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30-40 minutes until the center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool before serving. This gingerbread snack cake deepens in flavor as it cools. Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Notes

Not all sourdough discard is created equal. For best results, use discard that is only a few days old at the most. You can also substitute ripe, bubbly sourdough starter for the discard in this recipe.
Keyword gingerbread, sourdough

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The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

I had big dreams this year of planting a large beautiful garden and watching it grow all summer long. This did not happen. My big beautiful garden did not grow very well this summer (thank you bunnies, weird weather and a somewhat last-minute long-distance road trip that kept me from tending to the garden much throughout the summer). I was hoping for big, beautiful zucchini to sautee as a side to any meal, turn into our favorite zucchini boats or make many loaves of this amazing zucchini bread. This zucchini bread is light, tender, fluffy and uses up some of the sourdough discard that I always seem to have lurking in the back of my fridge. Lucky for me, my local farmers market and grocery store carry lots of zucchini this time of year.

Jump Ahead to The Best Zucchini Bread Recipe

Sourdough Discard in Zucchini Bread

If you have zucchini coming out your ears and sourdough discard taking over your fridge, this recipe is for you! I love using sourdough discard in recipes, not only for the little tang it gives but also because I’m not a fan of wasting food. This recipe uses ½ cup of sourdough discard directly from your fridge (you can also use bubbly sourdough starter) and it enhances the flavor of this delicious zucchini bread. If you don’t have sourdough starter, don’t worry. You can still make an awesome loaf of zucchini bread: Omit the sourdough starter. Add 2 cups of flour instead of 1 2/3 cups and 1/4 cup of milk to the batter. That’s it. I made both recipes side by side (pictured above) and both were delicious. You don’t need sourdough starter to make this delicious loaf, but if you have it on hand, it is the perfect way to use up some of your sourdough discard.

Wringing Out the Zucchini 

Did you know that 1 cup of chopped zucchini is made up of 90% water? Because of this high water content, it’s important to wring out the zucchini a bit before adding it to the recipe. The pictures below show the easy way I do this. Take a box grater, shred the zucchini and then use a paper towel to wring the zucchini. I give it about three squeezes over my sink and call it good. This little extra step will help your zucchini bread to turn out perfectly moist and delicious.

Baking Temperature and Time

One of the tricks I’ve learned over the years I’ve been baking is to bake quickbreads, like zucchini bread, at a high temperature for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to finish the longer bake time. The high heat helps activate the baking powder giving a nice lift and rounded dome shape to your loaf of zucchini bread. This zucchini bread takes about an hour to bake. I like to stick a knife or toothpick in the center to see if it’s completely baked all the way through. Depending on the temperature of your oven it may need more or less time.

Quick Mix. Long Bake. Delicious Zucchini Bread

Whatever way you slice it, this zucchini bread is delicious. It is tender, moist and perfect to gift this time of year. It is my kids’ favorite way to eat zucchini. They do eat other preparations of zucchini, though maybe not as willingly. If I only had to make one zucchini bread recipe for the rest of my life, this would be the one. It is that good! I hope you enjoy it too.

The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

Amy
Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious, this zucchini bread recipe is perfect for using up garden zucchini and sourdough discard.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf of zucchini bread

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb zucchini
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (sour cream can be substituted in a pinch)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8.5 by 4.5 loaf pan (you can also use a 9 by 5 loaf pan) with parchment paper.
  • Wash 1 lb of zucchini and chop off the ends. Use a box grater (affiliate link) to shred the zucchini. Grab a sheet or two of paper towel. Add the shredded zucchini to the middle of the paper towel and wrap the zucchini up to form a ball. Squeeze the paper-towel ball of zucchini over the sink 2-3 times to wring most of the water out of the zucchini. Continue this process until you have 1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini.
  • To a bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Stir together with a fork until fluffy and combined. Add the zucchini and stir until the zucchini is spread throughout the dry mixture and thoroughly combined.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out ½ cup of sourdough starter. Add the eggs, vegetable oil and greek yogurt. Stir well to combine.
  • Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork or spoon until just combined (over-mixing will result in tough zucchini bread and nobody wants that).
  • Pour the zucchini bread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. This helps ensure a nicely domed loaf of bread.
  • After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of the bread to check if it is ready. If it comes out clean with no streaks of batter, it is ready! If it has streaks of wet batter, bake it a little longer and check again.
  • Allow the zucchini loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pans. Move the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before digging in. Enjoy!

Notes

To make an absolutely amazing loaf of zucchini bread without the sourdough discard, omit the sourdough discard. Increase the all purpose flour to 2 cups. Add ¼ of milk  to the liquid ingredients before mixing with the batter.
 

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Crispy Sourdough Discard Waffles

When I was a kid, my dad would make breakfast with us every Saturday morning. It was usually Bisquick pancakes but every so often we would deviate from the pancakes to enjoy some Bisquick waffles. I always loved the waffles because we had the perfect waffle irons. Crispy hearts or a Mickey Mouse waffle iron…the kind where the syrup would puddle and soak in the Mickey ears and they tasted oh so delicious. At that time, I didn’t so much care about the flavor of my waffles…just the fact that I could drown them in syrup and enjoy them on Saturday morning. These crispy sourdough discard waffles bring me back to those childhood Saturday mornings. Yum.

Jump to Crispy Sourdough Discard Waffles Recipe

Our Favorite “Scratch-Made” Waffles

Since I’ve had my own family, I care a little bit more about the recipes and I love the challenge of making recipes as “homemade” and “from scratch” as possible. We’ve had our fair share of waffles over the years and this recipe is one that I keep coming back to. It uses up a whole cup of sourdough discard, can be whipped up the night before and kept in the fridge until ready to make and they taste divine. Crispy, crunchy but so soft and flavorful. These crispy sourdough discard waffles are begging to be made ASAP.

Substitute Whole Wheat Flour

So crispy!

Another thing I love about them is how easily you can substitute whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour in the recipe. If I’m being completely honest, I kind of love the flavor of the soft red wheat from our local mill in these waffles better than the plain all purpose flour. The subtle nuttiness of the whole wheat flour combines so well with the sourdough starter and pushes these already perfect waffles over the top. Check out my post all about different types of flours and why soft wheat would be a good option here.

Overnight Option

Make the batter the night before (except for a few ingredients), set out your waffle irons and viola: easy breakfast!

If you want a stronger yeast/sourdough flavor and an easy start to your morning, the waffle batter can be made the night before, combining all the ingredients except for the baking soda, powder, salt and vanilla (stir those in right before you make the waffles). You can also thin the batter with a little extra milk or buttermilk if you think it needs it. If you haven’t planned ahead, don’t worry! You can make them the morning of by mixing all the ingredients together without the overnight fermentation in the fridge. Depending on how long the sourdough discard has been sitting in your fridge they may have a strong flavor or they may not if you mix them up right away.

I love whipping up some heavy whipping cream, slicing some berries and warming up some syrup to make these waffles a decadent breakfast treat. We also often double the recipe and make the extras to freeze for quick breakfasts throughout the school year. You can toast the waffles to reheat them if you want them crispy or just warm them up a bit in the microwave, if you prefer them less crispy. However you eat them, I think these waffles are the best I’ve ever made…and I’ve made a lot of waffles. I enjoy them best crisp and hot off the waffle press. I hope you love them as much as we do.

Crispy Sourdough Discard Waffles

Crispy and flavorful, topped with fresh berries and hot syrup makes for the perfect sourdough discard waffle.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Overnight option: 12 hrs
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 waffles

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup all purpose flour see recipe note
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sourdough discard
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk see recipe note for substitutions
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil or any neutral flavored oil
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda for overnight option, see recipe note
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder for overnight option, see recipe note
  • 1 teaspoon salt for overnight option, see recipe note
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for overnight option, see recipe note

Instructions
 

  • Using a whisk, mix together the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Add sourdough discard, milk, buttermilk, vegetable oil, sugar and eggs. Whisk together until fully combined
  • At this point you can refrigerate the batter overnight for about 12-24 hours or you can continue with the recipe and make the waffles right away. Refrigerating the batter will give the waffles more flavor but both options are delicious. 
  • Pull the batter out of the fridge, if refrigerated, and continue adding ingredients: baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Stir until fully incorporated. 
  • Heat waffle irons and put about ⅓ – ½ cup of waffle batter onto hot iron. Bake according to the directions on your waffle iron. Ours usually take 2-3 minutes per waffle.
  • Serve immediately with hot syrup, berries or even powdered sugar and whipped cream. Eat immediately. Waffles can be re-toasted in the toaster to bring back a little bit of the crispiness if you want to freeze the extras for a later time. Enjoy!

Notes

Overnight Option: If you want the sourdough flavor to come through, mix up the batter the night before except for the following ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the batter together (except for those 4 ingredients). Refrigerate the batter overnight and add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract right before baking for best sourdough flavor.
Flour: Any whole wheat flour substitutes well in this recipe. The waffles will taste more hearty. I typically use a soft red wheat flour with low protein content. You can also substitute 50% whole wheat flour and 50% white flour.
Buttermilk: I prefer to keep buttermilk on hand if possible for recipes, but in a pinch you can mix 1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt with 1/4 cup milk together in a liquid measuring cup and substitute it for the buttermilk. Alternatively you can “make your own buttermilk.” To half a cup of milk add 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice OR 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using in the recipe.
 
Keyword sourdough discard, waffles

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