This classic Gingerbread Cake, topped with buttercream frosting, is super moist, perfectly spiced and so easy to make. Serve during the holiday season at parties, around the house or even at Christmas dinner.
Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Recipe
During the holiday season, gingerbread is often reserved for the cookie plate. While we love us some classic Gingerbread Cookies, let us introduce you to this positively delicious Gingerbread Cake. It’s ultra moist, perfectly spiced with baking spices, molasses and brown sugar, and topped with a simple buttercream frosting.
For kids, add festive sprinkles and candies, or you can even bake as cupcakes. For something a little less sweet, serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. However you serve it, your friends and family are sure to love it.
Ingredients in Gingerbread Cake
- Brown Sugar - for gingerbread, we like to use dark brown sugar. In a pinch, light brown sugar will work.
- Butter - make sure your butter is at room temperature so that it is soft enough to cream in the mixer. If you forget to pull it out ahead of time, place on a microwave safe plate and heat for about 10 seconds at a time just until softened.
- Egg - any large egg will work. It’s best to let it come to room temperature, or run the egg under warm water for 1 minute just before using.
- Molasses - this is largely what gives gingerbread is signature flavor.
- Water - make sure and use hot water for this recipe.
- Flour - all-purpose flour works great.
- Baking Soda - this gives the cake a bit of rise in the oven and keeps it nice and soft.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
- Baking Spices - this recipe calls for nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and ground cloves.
- Vanilla Extract - pure vanilla extract tastes best.
How to Make Gingerbread Cake
- Make the butter mixture. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 3-5 minutes. Slowly add the egg and molasses, scraping down the sides as needed, then mix again on low.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Whisk together.
- Mix together the batter. Add the hot water to the butter mixture and mix on low speed, then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Add to pan. Line a 9" x 9" baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray, then add the batter.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool and frost. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature before frosting with buttercream.
- Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
No one wants a cake that’s raw in the center! The best way to know if it has finished baking is to take a toothpick and insert it into the very center. If it comes out clean, the cake has finished baking. If there is a little batter stuck to it, put the cake back into the oven for a few more minutes and then check again.
Sure! You could also bake this in 2 loaf pans, or even in cupcake tins. The only difference would be the bake time. Otherwise, you’ll follow the exact same directions.
Storing and Freezing
- Refrigerator: wrap any unfinished cake in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: Wrap your unfrosted Gingerbread Cake well with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place in a larger freezer bag if it will fit and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Once you are ready to eat, pull from the freezer and store at room temperature, or in the fridge, overnight. Frost and slice just before serving.
Gingerbread Cake Recipe
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ½ cup Butter room temperature
- 1 large Egg
- 1 cup Molasses
- 1 cup Water hot
- 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Butter room temperature
- 1-2 tablespoons Milk
- 2 cups Powdered Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9" x 9" baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, or about 3-5 minutes. Slowly add the egg and molasses, scraping down the sides as needed, then mix again on low.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Whisk together.
- Add the hot water to the butter mixture and mix on low speed, then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature before frosting. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
- Place soft room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy, or about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer off, add the vanilla extract, half of the powdered sugar and half of the milk. Turn the mixer on low to combine, then increase to medium high speed and whip until light and fluffy - about 2 more minutes.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar, then add the milk a half tablespoon at a time, whisking until you reach the desired consistency.
- Use immediately, or store for later.
Here are more Christmas cake and cookie recipes that we love!
- Pumpkin Roll
- Soft Molasses Cookies
- Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Old-Fashioned Pineapple Cake
- Pumpkin Cake
- Rolled Sugar Cookies
- DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Linzer Cookies
- More Christmas Recipes
- More Cake Recipes
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This Gingerbread Cake is moist, perfectly spiced and topped with a simple buttercream frosting. It's great to serve all holiday season long as an alternative to gingerbread cookies.