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This gingerbread cake recipe is moist and cozy-spiced! Its rich molasses flavor tastes like a soft and fluffy version of the iconic cookie.

Gingerbread Cake
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Here’s the perfect easy holiday dessert: try gingerbread cake! This soft, moist version of the iconic cookie is so easy to whip up: no rolling or cutting out dough required! You don’t even need a mixer. Stir up the batter and bake it into this beautiful moist and spiced cake. The rich molasses flavor tastes like a soft and fluffy version of the cutout cookies, and it’s made in a big pan to feed a crowd. We became obsessed with the concept and have now perfected it into our new favorite Christmas dessert.

Why to make this gingerbread cake recipe

There are lots of gingerbread cake recipes out there: so why make this one? Here are a few things we love about the recipe:

  • It’s quick and easy. This recipe uses melted butter, so you don’t need stand mixer or to wait for room temperature butter. Just mix together all ingredients by hand!
  • It has just the right flavor without a topping. Many gingerbread cake recipes are pretty bitter on their own, intended to be served with a hard butter sauce or cream cheese frosting. This one is sweet enough so you can top it simply with either powdered sugar and/or whipped cream.
  • It serves a crowd. This gingerbread cake is intended for celebrations, so make it in a big 9 x 13-inch pan to serve a crowd. Plus, leftovers!
Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients in gingerbread cake

Gingerbread is centuries old: in fact, gingerbread cookies were sold in European markets as early as the 17th century! The hallmark flavors of this baked good are the spices ginger, cinnamon and cloves and the sweetener molasses, which adds rich, bittersweet undertones and a dark brown color.

Everyone knows gingerbread cookies, of course: but what about a soft gingerbread cake? This version tastes just like the cookie, but it’s soft, moist and fluffy. You can top it with just powdered sugar if you like, or serve with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting. Either way, you will fall for it just like we did! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • All purpose flour: All-purpose flour makes the backbone of this classic cake. Weigh the flour if you can for the most accurate measurement.
  • Baking powder, baking soda, and salt: Two leaveners make this fluffy cake rise.
  • Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves: The classic combination of these three spice heavy-hitters are required for this cake. Make sure the spices are fresh so they pack a flavor punch.
  • Molasses: Use unsulphured molasses here. We’ve adjusted the molasses flavor to make sure it’s enough to come through but not so much that it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
  • Boiling water: Boiling water helps to make a moist cake and help the molasses to dissolve.
  • Butter: Melted butter brings rich body to the cake.
  • Granulated sugar and brown sugar: A combination of granulated and brown sugar brings nuance in flavor and just the right sweetness.
  • Eggs: Eggs make a smooth batter and fluffy crumb.
Gingerbread Cake

Tips for making the cake

This gingerbread cake recipe is so simple, there aren’t many things to know related to technique. However, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when making it:

  • A 9 x 13″ pan with square edges makes the best look. We like when the pieces look nice and squared-off, and this 9 x 13″ pan does the trick.
  • Bake until the top is set and springs back lightly to the touch. You can use the toothpick test, but this cake is done when it’s fully set and springy to the touch in the center. If you use a toothpick to judge, it can be either clean or have a few clinging crumbs.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before dusting with powdered sugar. Otherwise, the powdered sugar melts into the cake.

Toppings for gingerbread cake

This gingerbread cake recipe is unique because it’s sweet enough to enjoy without an elaborate topping. Some types of gingerbread cake are intended to be served with a hard butter sauce or cream cheese frosting to bring in the sweetness. You can do that here, but this cake can also be enjoyed simply. Here are a few of our top topping ideas:

  • Powdered sugar: Simply dust the entire cake with a generous helping of powdered sugar.
  • Whipped cream (recommended): We love this dessert with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
  • Bourbon sauce: If desired, you can top with a hard sauce like this bourbon sauce. This will make the entire dessert much sweeter, so we recommend decreasing the granulated sugar in the cake to ½ cup.
  • Cream cheese frosting: This cream cheese frosting adds quite a bit of sweetness to the cake, but it does make a nice counterpoint to the bittersweet molasses notes in the cake.
Gingerbread Cake Recipe

More holiday deseserts

We love serving gingerbread cake as a Christmas dessert: it’s like an easier version of our Christmas cranberry pudding and goes over well with everyone! Here are a few more holiday desserts to enjoy:

This gingerbread cake recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Gingerbread Cake

Easy Gingerbread Cake


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large or 16 small pieces 1x

Description

This gingerbread cake recipe is moist and cozy-spiced! Its rich molasses flavor tastes like a soft and fluffy version of the iconic cookie.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ½ cups [350 g] all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Powdered sugar, to top
  • Homemade whipped cream, for serving (optional but recommended!) or cream cheese frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and kosher salt.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the molasses and boiling water. Whisk in the melted butter and sugar. Then whisk in the eggs.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until the center is set and springs back to the touch, and an inserted toothpick is clean or has moist crumbs. Allow to cool until room temperature before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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7 Comments

  1. Megan says:

    This looks yummy? Can this be modified for cupcakes?
    Thanks






  2. Sophy says:

    If I wanted to make it eggless… which substitute do you recommend?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      I would try substituting the 2 eggs with 1/2 cup applesauce. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Anita Fain says:

    Can you make this 1:1 with gluten free flour??

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      We have not tried it! It should work, but I know it can end up becoming dryer. After some research I would suggest adding 2 tablespoons neutral oil if you try it with GF 1 for 1 flour. Let me know how it comes out!

  4. Nancy Groves says:

    It seems like a good recipe, but how does it differ from “regular” gingerbread, which as we all know isn’t “bread” but a cake? The ingredients and steps seem the same. I’m certainly open to trying a new recipe (tried a new one recently from a familiar, never-failed me before cookbook, and it was a disaster).

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! This is very similar to regular gingerbread — however, we did sweeten it quite a bit more than a standard gingerbread so that you can eat it with just a powdered sugar topping (or whipped cream). Many of the older style gingerbread recipes are extremely bitter because they were served with a sweet butter sauce. Let me know if this helps to clarify!