"For those of you who may not like the very spicy, dark version so often served during the holidays, this loaf is lighter and very moist. A hint of orange is a wonderful addition, and the cream cheese icing is a perfect complement. It tastes best the next day."
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan or a square baking pan.
Stir flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda into applesauce and mix into the creamed butter. Stir in 1 teaspoon orange extract. Add flour mixture and mix batter until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just slightly sticky, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour.
Beat cream cheese in a bowl with the electric blender until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and beat until well combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cake.