This super moist Gingerbread cake is a holiday classic made in under 1 hour! Topped with a cream cheese frosting and filled with spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, this recipe results in the delicious signature flavor and soft texture we all love. Using less molasses than some other recipes, this old fashioned cake is exactly what the lighter side of Christmas tastes like!
Gingerbread is infamous during the Holiday’s with its simple spices and molasses creating the most amazing flavors. Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies and Gingerbread Muffins are other favorites of ours.
This gingerbread spice cake will easily become your family’s new favorite not only for taste but because it’s so easy, it’ll soon become a tradition! Any dessert this delicious and this easy needs to be in full rotation during what some might call the chaos of the holidays.
A moist gingerbread cake made in under an hour using simple ingredients can be dressed up or dressed down depending on your preferences. Skip the cream cheese frosting if that’s not your thing. Serve a warm slice plain or dusted with powdered sugar for a vintage look for breakfast. Grab a slice for an afternoon snack or add some caramel sauce or a dollop of whipped cream for dessert.
This cake isn’t overly sweet and doesn’t have a deep molasses flavor, which is why I LOVE the addition of cream cheese frosting. To me, this simple recipe is perfect just the way it is.
Try it then let me know your favorite way to eat it!
How to Make this Gingerbread Cake Recipe
For the Cake
Start your prep by preheating the oven and spraying your baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Blend well and set aside for a moment.
Combine the butter, water, and molasses in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Bring the mixture to a light boil and then gradually add the dry ingredients mixture, whisking continually. One everything is blended remove the saucepan to cool.
Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla into the saucepan and whisk until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and place the dish on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven until done. You’ll know by inserting a toothpick into the middle of it. If it comes out clean, it’s done!
Allow it to cool completely before adding the icing to the cake.
For the Icing
To a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, sugar, heavy whipping cream, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting over the top of the cake and sprinkle with even more cinnamon if desired.
Tips & Variations
- Substitute whole milk for the heavy cream for the frosting.
- Top with chopped pecans or walnuts for added crunch.
- For an even lighter option, use 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of 1 cup of butter in the cake.
- Make sure to measure your ingredients exactly, especially the flour. For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free one to one all-purpose flour. If you don’t have a scale to weigh your measurements, scoop your flour into a measuring cup and flatten it with the flat side of the knife. This is so your cake won’t be dry!
- Use room temperature butter and eggs. Not only does it make for an easier time blending to a fluffy consistency, but it will make for more even baking having everything starting from the same temperature.
- Do not over mix your batter or the cake will become too dense. The initial whisking of ingredients invites the air into the batter and once it’s there you want to keep it there. Overmixing will result in a loss of too much air.
- Although this cake doesn’t use as much molasses as some other gingerbread recipes, you’ll still probably want to stick with fancy molasses. Blackstrap molasses has a deeper bolder flavor that can become overpowering.
How to Store It
Enjoy this cake for up to 2 weeks when kept in an airtight container in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more the spice flavors marry and meld. So good!
For the Cake
- Dry Ingredients
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Wet Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup molasses
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 16 ounces Cream cheese softened
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with spray oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and blend well.
- In a large saucepan, combine the butter, water and molasses and heat on medium until the butter is melted
- Bring the mixture to a light boil then gradually add in the dry ingredients mixture, whisking continually
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and allow to cool for a 5 minutes
- Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined well.
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place the pan on a cookie sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Allow to cool completely before icing the cake.
- For the icing:
- In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, sugar,, heavy whipping cream, cinnamon and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
- Spread evenly over the top of the cooled cake and sprinkle some more cinnamon.