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Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake – Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to get baking! This homemade Gingerbread Cake is made with a simple cake batter and warming holiday spices. Great to make for Christmas parties or as a special dessert for your family this holiday season.

Gingerbread cake is a type of cake that is made with gingerbread spiced cake batter. We love making this cake during the holidays because it tastes festive and is easy to prepare! 

One of the reasons gingerbread cake is so delicious is because of its spices. Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves all work together to create a flavor that’s both comforting and will put you in the holiday spirit. 

Another reason gingerbread cake is so good is because it’s moist and fluffy. The cake has just the right amount of sweetness, and homemade whipped topping ties the cake together perfectly. 

This Christmas cake tastes great any time of year but it’s especially delicious during the holiday season because of its rich spices and inviting golden brown color. It can be iced with chocolate or cream cheese frosting, or just served with a light dusting of powdered sugar. 

Add it to your holiday baking list along with our orange cranberry bread, eggnog bread pudding, and of course, cinnamon rolls.

Top down view of gingerbread cake with whipped cream.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Butter – Used to create moisture, density, and a rich buttery flavor throughout the cake. 
  • Brown Sugar – This is a type of sugar that has a light molasses flavor. It can be substituted with white sugar if needed.
  • Egg – These are an important ingredient in baking as they help to bind ingredients together and add moisture.
  • Mild Molasses – This is a syrup that is made from sugar cane. It has a dark color and tastes slightly bitter. Most gingerbread recipes contain molasses. Make sure you choose a mild flavored one for this recipe. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Helps balance out the rich spice flavor by infusing the cake with a light vanilla flavor. 
  • All Purpose Flour – This is a type of white or plain flour that is used in baking. It can be substituted with other types of wheat flour, or gluten-free flour if needed.
  • Gingerbread Spices – You’ll need a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to spice the cake with gingerbread flavor. 
  • Baking Soda – This is a leavening agent that is used to make baked goods rise. 
  • Salt – Salt is used in gingerbread cake to make it more flavorful and taste better. 
  • Hot Water – Used to thin out the cake batter so the spices blend together smoothly and their flavors become more pronounced. 
Ingredients needed for gingerbread cake.

How To Make Gingerbread Cake

  1. Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Set aside. 
  2. Mix the wet ingredients: In a large bowl, add the butter or sugar. Cream together using an electric mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Then, add the egg, molasses, and vanilla. Continue to mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. 
  3. Mix in the wet ingredients: To the bowl with the butter and sugar, ddd the flour, gingerbread spices, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, then add in the hot water. Mix again just until combined. 
  4. Bake: Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely before slicing and serving with your favorite topping.
Collage showing how to make gingerbread cake.

Recipe Tips

  1. Make sure you check your spices before using them in any recipe. Expired spices will not have the same potency as fresh spices which can change the flavor of your cake. 
  2. Don’t overmix the batter; otherwise, the gluten in the flour will get overworked causing an unpleasant texture in the batter.
  3. To make gingerbread cake extra moist, consider adding ½ cup of applesauce or Greek yogurt to the batter.
  4. Make sure the butter and egg are at room temperature before mixing them into the cake batter. This will ensure a smooth and even texture. 

Variations

There are a few different ways to change the flavor of gingerbread cake. 

  • Use a different type of liquid sugar, such as honey or maple syrup. 
  • Instead of vanilla extract, try using maple or almond to change up the flavor. 
  • Add different spices, such as nutmeg or allspice. Or add more or less of the spices you enjoy. 
  • Change up the frosting or topping on the cake. For example, you can use cream cheese frosting or chocolate frosting.
Gingerbread cake on a fork.

Can I use a 9×13 inch pan to make gingerbread cake?

Yes, you can use a 9×13 inch pan to make gingerbread cake. However, the cake will be thinner than if you use a round or square cake pan. You may need  to adjust the baking time and you may need to reduce the number of servings.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: Store gingerbread cake in a cool, dry place. Make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that the cake doesn’t pick up any unwanted flavors. Gingerbread can be stored for 2-3 days at room temperature or 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing: If you’d like to freeze gingerbread cake, do so before you top it with frosting. Simply let the cake cool completely and then store it in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can keep your gingerbread cake in the freezer for 3-4 months.

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Slice of gingerbread cake on a plate.

Gingerbread Cake

Yield: 1 (9x9-inch) Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it's time to get baking! This homemade Gingerbread Cake is made with a simple cake batter and warming holiday spices.

Ingredients

Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup mild-flavored molasses
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water

Optional Toppings

  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x9-inch square cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla. Continue to mix until the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Next, add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Then, carefully add the hot water, and mix just until to combined.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center should spring back when you touch it
  6. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding whipped cream or frosting.
  7. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of cake. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 5g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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