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Gingerbread Cake

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This gingerbread cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly moist and fluffy, and made with a delicious blend of molasses and warming spices.

This is one of those recipes where I so wish I could just pop over and serve you a warm slice to try. ♡

Because if you love gingerbread as much as I do this time of year, I’m telling you, this gingerbread cake needs to be part of your life. It’s made with the classic rich mix of molasses and warming spices that we all love in a good batch of gingerbread. And I’m partial to this particular gingerbread cake recipe because it bakes up to be incredibly moist and fluffy. You can either serve it up solo, dust it with some powdered sugar, or go all out and top it with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting — all will be delicious. And of course, cake for breakfast the next morning is always an excellent idea too.

I’ve included a few extra customization ideas below, if you would like to mix in some orange zest, chocolate or bourbon for a slightly different twist on this recipe. But however you make it, you can count on the fact that this cake is going to make your home smell extra cozy and festive this time of year…and taste even better.

Alright, let’s make some gingerbread cake!

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients

Here are a few quick notes about the gingerbread cake ingredients that you will need to make this recipe:

  • Flour: We will use basic all-purpose flour here, which gives the cake its structure and fluffy texture.
  • Butter: The recipe is written with unsalted butter, which needs to be room temperature in order to cream well with the sugar. If you only have salted butter on hand, no worries, just subtract 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt from the recipe.
  • Molasses: Unsulphured molasses is the classic ingredient that gives gingerbread its distinctly rich and sweet flavor.
  • Egg: An egg will serve as our binding agent to help hold all of these ingredients together and add extra stability to the cake.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar will serve as our primary sweetener, which also adds its own extra hint of molasses flavor to the cake.
  • Spices: I’ve used a classic mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to spice this cake. But please feel free to customize this recipe with whatever types and amounts of warming spices you prefer in your gingerbread.
  • Salt: A hint of fine sea salt will help to bring out the best of these delicious flavors.
  • Vanilla extract: We will also add a hint of vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the spices and add a bit of warmth to the cake.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda will serve as our primary leavening agent, to give the cake and light and airy texture.
  • Boiling water: Yes, we will use an entire cup of boiling water to help dissolve and meld the ingredients together and give the cake plenty of moisture.
  • Toppings (optional): This cake is delicious on its own. But if you’d like to go the extra mile, it is also absolutely heavenly topped with whipped cream, cream cheese frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar.

Gingerbread Cake Tips

Detailed instructions for how to make gingerbread cake are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Use room temperature butter. As always, it’s important to use room temperature butter here so that it can properly cream with the sugar to make the cake nice and fluffy.
  • Don’t worry about the runny batter. Heads up that the batter for this cake will be quite runny once the boiling water is mixed in. Don’t worry — the cake will bake up to be perfectly after some time in the oven.
  • Grease your knife. This cake is definitely (and wonderfully) quite moist and can have the tendency to stick a bit when cutting. So if you want clean slices, I recommend lightly greasing the knife with a bit of butter.
  • Adjust the spices to taste. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to gingerbread spices, so feel free to adjust the amounts of ginger, cinnamon and cloves to taste.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few more variations that you’re welcome to try with this gingerbread cake recipe:

  • Add orange zest: Add the zest of 1 medium orange to the batter for a citrusy twist.
  • Add cocoa powder: Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the batter for a chocolatey twist.
  • Add rum or bourbon: Replace 2 to 3 of the tablespoons of boiling water with rum or bourbon (or your favorite liquor) for a boozy twist.
  • Add nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles: Unfortunately most of these add-ins would sink to the bottom of the batter if you try to add them to the actual cake, but feel free to sprinkle on top of the whipped cream or frosting!
  • Add caramel sauce: My favorite bourbon caramel sauce would be absolutely heavenly drizzled on this cake too.

More Ginger Recipes

Looking for more sweet ginger-loving recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites:

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Gingerbread Cake

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x

Description

This gingerbread cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly moist and fluffy, and made with a delicious blend of molasses and warming spices.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups (184 grams*) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • optional toppings: whipped cream, cream cheese frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Prep oven and pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and sea salt until combined.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients. In a separate large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), use an electric mixer to cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, vanilla extract and egg and mix on medium-low speed until combined, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the dry ingredient mixture and mix on medium-low speed until evenly combined. Add the boiling water and (very carefully) mix on low speed until evenly combined. The batter will be quite thin and liquidy – don’t worry.
  4. Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  5. Serve. Slice, top with any of your desired toppings if desired, then serve and enjoy!


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21 comments on “Gingerbread Cake”

  1. Can this recipe be doubled? And if so what size pan would you suggest using then? It looks delicious!

    • Good question! If you’d like to make a bigger batch, I’d actually recommend making a 1.5x size cake, which would fit into a 9×13-inch pan. I’m afraid a double batch wouldn’t work well in a 9×13.

  2. Can I use this recipe to make gingerbread muffins?

    Thanks!

  3. I love Gingerbread anytime of the year. I have lotions and oils that smell like Gingerbread. Why just at Christmas time?
    I’ve been trying to get recipes from all over the world. Maybe one day, I’ll have the kitchen I’d be able to use to make any and all recipes.
    Thank you. I look forward to trying yours.

  4. It was chilly this morning in Alabama, and a Gingerbread Spice cake seemed like just the thing to warm up the kitchen. I followed the recipe exactly and the Gingerbread Cake was perfect, just as described – light, moist, flavorful. It didn’t seem to need a thing, but because I love candied ginger, I might add some next time to see if I like the extra zing. Thanks for a great, easy recipe! Will keep and share.

  5. Excellent recipe! I baked this today and it came out perfect and tasted great! Super easy!

  6. I’m thinking about making this and freezing it for Christmas… thoughts on freezing it?

  7. Would this work as a loaf cake? Looks like a lovely recipe that would be wonderful as a Christmas gift. 🎄

  8. This gingerbread cake turned out awesome! Light and fluffy, and it looked just like the photos. I baked it in an 8×8 pan and it was perfectly done in 40 minutes.

    I didn’t have time to soften the butter so I followed some instructions from another recipe: Mix the molasses with the boiling water, add in the sugar and butter, then add in the other wet ingredients once the mixture has cooled a bit. There was no need for an electric mixer – just a whisk and a spatula.

    Served with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream, this gingerbread cake was delicious!

  9. We make the cookies. I made them for my sister-in-law and her family after my brother’s wedding, added them to our cornucopia for Thanksgiving, and took them on a tray for neighbors to sample on a cold day.

  10. The cake came out perfect. Great flavor. My family loved it!

  11. Can you substitute oil for the butter?

  12. I can’t wait to try this! I forsee this becoming a Christmas day dessert tradition 🎄

  13. Made this with no variations to the recipe. It was really delicious!

  14. It’s the perfect Gingerbread cake. Soft and fluffy with amazing flavours.
    I added 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder because i love using it with other spices. Did not change anything else.
    Thanks for such an easy and quick recipe.

  15. Really great cake. Gorgeous “springy” texture, very fluffy. I will adjust the spice level next time as suggested (maybe some nutmeg…and a little less ground ginger) but it’s worth trying it as it comes to get a baseline. I wonder if there’s a way to use fresh ginger for this? I wanted to point out an error, though. The flour is given as 2 cups or 184 g. I LOVE to weigh when weights are given, but 184 g didn’t look like enough. The recipe says 184* grams, but the * didn’t lead to any notation. Anyway, I went back and measured the flour in a cup and I was quite a bit short with 184 g. It was more like 235 g for 2 cups. So I’m glad I checked. (I am in Canada, and I used standard all-purpose flour, dip-and-sweep, not packed down.) But yay for a yummy cake, that I will definitely make again.

  16. This recipe is delicious! I made this gluten free, substituting the 2 C all purpose flour for 1 C Pamela’s gluten free all purpose flour and 1 C Bob’s Red mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour. Another time, I’d like to try using King Arthur flour gluten free measure for measure flour. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  17. Easy recipe, excellent flavour, very moist and will make again for sure :)

  18. THIS GINGERBREAD CAKE RECIPE WAS EXCELLENT! SO MOIST, FOLLOWED DIRECTIONS EXCEPT USED SALTED BUTTER, ALL I HAD ON HAND.

  19. Have you tried freezing this recipe? Thanks!