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Classic Gingerbread Cake Recipe

This gingerbread cake recipe is the BEST. It is quick, easy, and full of warm gingerbread spices. This moist and delicious cake gets a ton of flavor from molasses and a cup of strong brewed tea.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my gingerbread biscotti and my old fashioned gingerbread loaf recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my gingerbread recipes in one place.

Gingerbread cake recipe with snowflake pattern on top.

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Gingerbread Cake Recipe

This Newfoundland gingerbread is much loved by our family. Gingerbread can be quite heavy and dense, but not this one. It is so light and fluffy that it practically melts in your mouth.

I bake my Nan’s gingerbread every Christmas. It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without it. The other cake that I make every year is my clementine cake.

Slice of gingerbread cake recipe on plate.

Ingredients

If you have a fairly well-stocked pantry, you probably have everything you need to make this gingerbread cake recipe right now.

Ingredients on white background.
  • All purpose flour – The regular flour you have in the pantry.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – These help our cake rise.
  • Spices – Give our gingerbread cake tons of flavor.
  • Salt – All baked goods need salt, I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
  • Vanilla – A baking staple.
  • Eggs – Eggs provide stability and structure.
  • Butter – Unsalted, or “sweet cream” butter. Make sure it is unsalted so you can control the salt. Provides great flavor to baked goods.
  • Oil – Helps to keep baked goods moist.
  • Brown sugar – Has a deeper flavor than regular sugar, thanks to molasses.
  • Molasses – Gives gingerbread an unmistakable flavor.
Slices of cake on white platter with snowflake tablecloth.

How to make it

First, gather all of your ingredients. Measure everything out ahead of time. This is your “mise-en-place“. You want to make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you begin.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Then, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. I let this go for a full 5 minutes.

Step by step photos instructions.

Then add the flour and wet ingredients to the bowl. I like to fold in the remaining flour by hand with a rubber spatula. As I’m doing this, I make sure to scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is fully incorporated before I pour the batter into the pan.

Finally, fill the prepared pan and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top before sliding it into the oven to bake.

Baked cake in pan.

How to bake a flat cake

The dreaded domed cake. It can be really frustrating when you are trying to bake a flat sheet cake and it inevitably comes out with a rounded top.

How to bake a flat cake.

First tip – lower the oven temperature. I’ve always followed directions and baked at 350°F as stated in the recipe. That’s fine, sometimes. But, other times, when you want to ensure a nice level cake, you need to drop the temperature a bit.

Second tip: use cake strips or DIY them. I cut up an old dish towel and clipped it to the pan with binder clips. I also use binder clips to secure parchment paper inside the cake pan.

Run the cake strips or cut up strips of towel under water, then wring them out. You want them damp, but not dripping wet. Wrap them around your pan and secure them before baking your cake.

Close up photo of a slice of cake.

Frequently asked questions

Can I freeze this gingerbread cake?

Yes. Wrap the plain cake tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes. This cake stays moist for days. You can make it a day or two ahead and it will be fine.

What do cake strips do when baking?

Cake strips, whether store-bought or DIY, insulate the outside of the cake and prevent it from baking faster than the inside of the cake. By wrapping the pan, you ensure more even baking.

Pieces of cake on platter with red snowflake tablecloth.

Variations and substitutions

Try mixing either fresh or dried fruits into the batter. My grandmother occasionally added fresh blueberries to this gingerbread.

Use the cream cheese frosting from my cream cheese cupcakes to top the cake if you prefer a frosted gingerbread sheet cake.

Stacked plates with a slice of gingerbread cake.

Serving suggestions

This gingerbread cake recipe is so good, all it needs is a dusting of powdered sugar. A dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream wouldn’t be bad, either. To make it extra special, serve this cake with a crème anglaise.

Helpful tools and equipment

Gingerbread cake slice with snowflake pattern on top.

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Yield: 16 people

Gingerbread Cake Recipe

Gingerbread Cake Recipe

A delicious and easy gingerbread cake recipe to feed a crowd. Perfect for the holiday season!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour // 12.75 oz. // 360 grams
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened // 12 tbsp. // 1 1/2 sticks
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed // 150 grams
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil // 80mL
  • 1 cup molasses, unsulfured // 250mL
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed tea // 177mL
  • *powdered sugar for dusting, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with buttered (or use baking spray) parchment paper, leaving an inch of overhang on the ends. *Wrap pan with cake strips - optional, but recommended.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Add molasses and vanilla. Mix until just combined, scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Then add tea, mix until just combined, then add remaining flour and mix just until you no longer see pockets of flour.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cake batter a few times, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully lift cake to make sure it easily releases. Place a lined baking sheet or cooling rack on top of the pan and carefully flip over. Remove parchment from bottom of cake. Place cooling rack on the cake (bottom) and flip back over. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Notes

Recipe will also make 6 mini Bundt cakes, instead of one 9x13 cake.

If you prefer a cake with a lighter gingerbread flavor, you can reduce the spices to the following amounts:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 331mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

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Questions? Send me an email, I’m happy to help. I’d love to send you weekly tips and recipes, so you can get updates about what’s happening in the kitchen!

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9 Comments

  1. Lovely! You should share this story over at Della Rose Living on facebook. She’s been doing a series on Food from the Heart, and this definitely fits the bill!

    You are a very good writer, sis. 🙂

    1. Hi Stephie! It’s SUPER simple! I got some cardboard snowflake decorations from the party store and placed them on top of the cake. GENEROUSLY dust the top with powdered sugar and then gently lift the snowflakes straight up and off of the cake. Presto! Snowflake pattern!

      1. Thank you. I figured it was done that way, but was wondering where you got the pattern. Thanks for the response. Can’t wait to try this cake. Have a nice holiday!

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