Gingerbread is one of the classic flavors of the holiday season. An old fashioned gingerbread loaf is a perfect dessert to have on hand when friends and family come to visit. For me, anything gingerbread is welcome and this classic gingerbread cake is something I bake every year and it goes perfectly with a strong cup of tea.
I made a maple bourbon glaze to coat the gingerbread, which really complements the spices used. You can swap bourbon for a splash of milk to keep the glaze kid-friendly, if you’ll be serving it to the whole family.
The combination of spices that make up gingerbread are the flavors of Christmas. There is something about the blend of cloves, ginger, cinnamon and molasses that fills the house with a warm cozy feeling like nothing else can. These gingerbread biscotti are quickly becoming a new favorite in our house for that reason and also because they are delicious dipped into strong coffee.
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At Christmastime, a slice of old fashioned gingerbread loaf with a cup of tea is something I look forward to. Why we only make this around the holidays, I’m not sure. This quick bread is so good, we should be enjoying it all year.
If you want to make a gingerbread loaf like starbucks, swap out the maple bourbon glaze for a cream cheese frosting. Add a couple of teaspoons of orange zest to the batter of the gingerbread loaf and you’ll arrive at something similar.
Easy gingerbread for homemade gifts
This would also be a great option for a homemade gift. You could bake the loaf in an aluminum loaf pan or bake it in a regular loaf pan, then box it up in these cute gift boxes made for dessert loaves.
Homemade gifts are wonderful and easy homemade gifts are even better. This is the best of both worlds.
I like a strong gingerbread with a lot of spice. This is not at all overpowering, but it is an old fashioned gingerbread loaf that is full of flavor.
gingerbread loaf with icing
I prefer a gingerbread loaf with glaze over one with a thick frosting. I’m more interested in the cake part of that equation.
To coat your gingerbread loaf with the maple bourbon glaze, let it cool completely before glazing. Trust me. If it is even slightly warm, the glaze will run off into a pool underneath your gingerbread instead of on top of it.
The glaze is whisked together in a small bowl, then you can pour right over the bread to coat it. I do this with a cooling rack set inside of a sheet pan to catch the excess. It keeps it from making a mess, and if you want to scoop it up and give the bread another pass with the icing, it will be clean and free of crumbs.
What is the best loaf pan for baking gingerbread?
Before we get to the recipe, I want to talk about the loaf pan. This recipe works best in an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan. If you have a 9×5 pan, it will absolutely work, it just won’t bake up as tall and pretty. The loaf will be shorter (flatter) and you’ll have to keep an eye on the gingerbread loaf, because it will bake a bit faster.
However, that isn’t the only topic for discussion on loaf pans. Do you choose a folded loaf pan or a molded loaf pan? Both have pros and cons.
A folded loaf pan will give you perfect, sharp corners, making your bread look like it stepped off the pages of a food magazine. The drawback is they have places where batter can hide, so cleaning them can take (slightly) more time.
A molded loaf pan is pressed from one piece of metal, making them a snap to clean, but the corners of the loaf will be rounded, not sharp, crisp corners.
You have to decide which is more important to you at that time. Sometimes, if I just want a gingerbread tea cake and I’m not in the mood to wash dishes, I choose the molded pan. If I’m giving it as a gift, or serving it to guests, I’ll use the folded pan because it makes a prettier loaf.
Whichever you choose, it is going to be delicious.
Tools needed to make this gingerbread loaf:
• Cooling rack – I like these cooling racks because they have a tighter grid than most, which gives baked goods support while they cool.
• Sheet pan – for catching glaze runoff and the cooling rack fits perfectly inside.
• Stainless steel mixing bowls – In every professional kitchen around the globe for a reason.
• Rubber spatulas – you can never have enough of these.
• Hand mixer – this is the one I own and love.
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For the gingerbread loaf
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup molasses (I used Grandma's brand)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
For the maple bourbon glaze
- 2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar (UK: icing sugar)
- 2 - 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 - 2 tbsp. bourbon (sub milk for non-alcoholic glaze)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- small pinch sea salt (optional)
Make gingerbread loaf
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C)
- Butter and flour an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl - combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar in a separate medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat until incorporated.
- Combine molasses and water, then add to batter.
- Mix until just combined, scrape down bowl.
- Add flour mixture and beat until just combined - do not overmix.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove gingerbread loaf from pan. Place on cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
Make maple bourbon glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla and salt (if using). Adjust to desired consistency, if needed, by adding more sugar or maple syrup.
- Pour over completely cooled gingerbread loaf. Let icing set for at least an hour to harden before slicing.
• To glaze the loaf of gingerbread, set the cooling rack inside of a baking sheet to catch the excess glaze.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 595mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 1gSugar: 57gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂