For cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 8-in. round cake pans.
In a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed (use the blade or rotary beater if using a standing mixer), beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in molasses.
In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Stir (or beat at low speed) a third of the flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in half the milk just until blended. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, then remaining milk, followed by remaining flour, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Scrape batter equally into prepared pans and spread level.
Bake cakes until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of a layer comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks and remove pans. Cool completely before assembling.
For frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in cream cheese until well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in powdered sugar, lemon juice, and molasses, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until no lumps remain.
Cut 4 strips of waxed paper or parchment paper, each about 4 by 12 in., and arrange them in a square over edges of a serving platter.
With a serrated knife, carefully slice cake layers in half horizontally. Place first split layer, cut side down, on serving platter (adjust parchment paper so that edges of platter are covered). Spread layer with about 1/2 cup frosting. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup chopped toffee. Repeat frosting and sprinkling with next 4 split layers. Top with remaining split layer, but don't frost or sprinkle with toffee. Brush away crumbs around sides and base of cake.
Spoon 1 cup frosting into a small bowl and stir in milk until smooth. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate cake until coating is set, about 1 hour. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, then remove strips of paper. If not serving within a few hours, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day (see Notes).
Shortly before serving, garnish top of cake with toffee chunks.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per slice.
You can make the cake layers and the toffee up to 1 week ahead. Freeze the well-wrapped split cake layers, then thaw them at room temperature before assembling the cake. Store toffee airtight at room temperature. You can also assemble the cake through step 8 up to 1 day ahead, cover it, and chill. Bring cake to room temperature, then sprinkle it with remaining toffee.
We've made this twice in 5 years and it is a great cake. As others have said, HUGE with servings for 20. It takes a long time, but that's part of the fun--it is a good holiday baking project. Don't think you'll throw it together fast, as there are tricky parts including the slicing of the layers and getting the temperature of the icing cool enough to spread correctly. A great family project that has a nice wow factor when done, and tastes great!
This is a GIANT cake. Like, huge. Twenty servings for people than can eat entire cakes in one sitting maybe :) You could easily get 2 cakes out of this so feel free to cut the recipe or freeze half of your cake layers for another date.
The cake is dense, full of flavor and just wonderful but it's the cream cheese frosting and toffee that really steal the show! and, I disagree with the previous poster - the ingredients are fairly inexpensive unless you really never bake and don't have any of the spices on hand I guess. The most expensive was buying the ingredients for the frosting but it's worth it. So, very, very worth it.
This cake is amazing. The coffee toffee is excellent. I made it for a friend's bday in September and it was gone in less than an hour... and there were only 5 people in the house. It is a large cake so it will probably last a while if you take your time eating it. The cake part is perfect, the frosting RICH! Exactly how it should taste. Thank you!
This cake was very good, great flavor combination. Probably the best cream cheese frosting i've had. The crumbled toffee crunch in the cake gave it an extra sweetness. i made this as a test for bakeshop and here are pictre of the finished cake, the way i did it: http://minameenah.blogspot.com/2010/06/bakeshop-test-out.html