Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease and flour 3 x 7” pans and place parchment on the bottoms. This is a sticky cake so please do not omit the parchment paper on the bottom of the pans.
In a large bowl add the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir with whisk to combine. Set aside.
In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add in the orange zest, vanilla and molasses. Mix well to combine.
With mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in by spoonfuls alternately with the water, starting and ending with the flour.
Mix just until well combined and smooth.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Add all ingredients into small pan and bring to a simmer only until sugar is dissolved. Let cool 5 minutes.
Cut any humps off top of cake layers, take a skewer or toothpick and poke random holes on the tops of each cake (this will allow for glaze to seep into cake. Brush the cake layers with the glaze.
BUTTERCREAM: * (see notes regarding quanity)
Cream the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
Add in the vanilla, orange juice and orange zest, mix well to combine.
With mixer on low speed add in powdered sugar one spoonful at a time until well combined and completely mixed and creamy, about 3-5 minutes of mixing after all powdered sugar is added. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Note: This is a soft frosting because of the cream cheese, it does not pipe designs due to its soft nature.
Place dab of frosting on cake board/cake plate to keep cake in place.
Place the first cake layer on the cake board/plate.
Spread a large dollop of buttercream on top and spread evenly to the edges of the cake.
Place next cake layer on top and spread with buttercream.
Repeat with with remaining cake layer until all are stacked.
Once all the layers are in place apply a crumb coat ** (see notes) of buttercream around the top and sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 45 min. (Crumb coat gives a nice smooth base to work with when ready to apply final coat of buttercream and decorate).
Apply final coat of buttercream, I chose a semi-naked cake design for this but I still used a crumb coat to keep the final coat clean.
Decorate with fruit, nuts, sugared cranberries and any holiday cookies and greenery you may have on hand.