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Gingerbread

close up shot of a serving plate of slices of Gingerbread stacked on top of each other
Gingerbread is a classic homemade favorite for the holidays. Rich, moist, with plenty of warm spice this delicious from-scratch recipe will become a Christmas tradition for your family.
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Table of Contents
  1. GINGERBREAD INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS GINGERBREAD RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This old-fashioned gingerbread is a traditional holiday season favorite. Dense, moist, and rich, this simple cake has all the spicy flavors that are so beloved this time of year and is easy to mix and bake; perfect to serve at your Christmas gatherings.

Make sure you also check our gingerbread cookies and gingerbread fudge for more gingerbread recipes!

GINGERBREAD INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the Cake

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

PRO TIP:

Unsulphured molasses is made from ripe sugar cane and has no additives. It is generally the kind you will find at the grocery store and is different from blackstrap molasses.

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

WHIPPED CREAM: If you do not wish to make a homemade whipped cream, the squirt kind from the can will work just as well.

TOPPING: You can also top individual pieces of gingerbread cake with a store-bought, or homemade, caramel sauce drizzle. You could also sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS GINGERBREAD RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with baking spray, and set aside.

STEP TWO: In a small bowl combine the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir to make a spice blend. Remove 1 teaspoon of the mixture of ground spices and set aside to use as a garnish sprinkle for the cake pieces when serving.

STEP THREE: In a medium bowl combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the spice blend (not the 1 teaspoon reserved). Whisk together to completely incorporate all the spices evenly into the flour. Set dry ingredients aside.

STEP FOUR: In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and mix for another 30 seconds until the egg is completely incorporated.

STEP FIVE: Add the molasses and vanilla extract to the creamed butter mixture and mix to combine well.

PRO TIP:

Molasses is a great ingredient to keep on hand in your pantry! It stays fresh at room temperature for quite a while, can be used in many different recipes (like this one), and you can quickly make brown sugar in a pinch. Just mix 1 teaspoon of molasses into 1 cup of granulated sugar (or 2 teaspoons for dark brown sugar) and you have your own freshly homemade brown sugar!

STEP SIX: Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and combine, at low speed, just until all the flour has been evenly incorporated.

STEP SEVEN: While your electric mixer is on low, slowly pour the boiling water into the batter. Mix just until all the water is incorporated. Do not overmix. You can use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure that all the batter is evenly mixed.

PRO TIP:

Boiling or very hot water is critical to this recipe as it helps to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients for a smooth batter and (perhaps most importantly) blooms the spices for the best possible flavor.

STEP EIGHT: Carefully pour your batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow your cake to cool completely, on the counter, prior to slicing and garnishing with the whipped cream topping.

STEP NINE: While your cake is cooling you can make your whipped cream topping by adding your very cold heavy whipping cream to a large bowl and mixing on low speed, with a handheld mixer, for 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip, on high speed, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. You can transfer your whipped cream to a piping bag, or a Ziploc plastic bag with the corner snipped, and pipe a pretty swirl to the top of each piece of your gingerbread cake.  

PRO TIP:

You can use a little bit of that 1 teaspoon of spice blend you reserved to sprinkle lightly on top of the whipped cream and onto the top of your piece of gingerbread cake. 

HOW TO SERVE

This gingerbread cake is best served at room temperature. It’s also yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for a delicious holiday dessert. You can enjoy a piece of this gingerbread cake with your morning cup of coffee or homemade pumpkin spice latte too.

STORAGE

ON THE COUNTER: If you have any leftovers, store in an airtight container for up to three days.

IN THE FRIDGE: This tasty cake would also keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

IN THE FREEZER: The cake can be frozen if you want to make your batch of gingerbread ahead of time but we would suggest waiting to add the topping until you are ready to serve it.

Rich, moist, flavorful, and delicious, this classic homemade gingerbread cake is the perfect dessert to bake and offer during holiday parties and Christmas gatherings. We love this easy, traditional favorite!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why did my gingerbread sink?

Two of the main reasons that your gingerbread may sink. If the cake is under-baked or the oven door is opened too many times before the cake is fully baked, the gingerbread may sink. If the batter sits too long before making its way into the oven, the baking soda can begin to react with the other ingredients too quickly.

What is unsulphured molasses?

Unsulphured molasses is made from ripe sugar cane and does not have any additives. It is generally the kind you will find at the grocery store and is different from blackstrap molasses.

Can I freeze this gingerbread?

You can freeze gingerbread for up to three months but we would recommend waiting to add the topping until you thaw it and are ready to serve.

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close up shot of a serving plate of slices of Gingerbread stacked on top of each other

Gingerbread

5 from 1 vote
Gingerbread is a classic homemade favorite for the holidays. Rich, moist, with plenty of warm spice this delicious from-scratch recipe will become a Christmas tradition for your family.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Whipped Topping

  • cups heavy whipping cream very cold
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with baking spray, and set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Stir to make a spice blend. Remove 1 teaspoon of the mixture of ground spices and set aside to use as a garnish sprinkle for the cake pieces when serving.
  • In a medium bowl combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spice blend (not the 1 teaspoon reserved). Whisk together to completely incorporate all the spices evenly into the flour. Set dry ingredients aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and mix for another 30 seconds until the egg is completely incorporated.
  • Add the molasses and vanilla extract to the creamed butter mixture and mix to combine well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to butter and combine, on low speed, just until all the flour has been evenly incorporated.
  • While your electric mixer is on low, slowly pour the boiling water into the batter. Mix just until all the water is incorporated. Do not overmix. You can use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure that all the batter is evenly mixed.
  • Carefully pour your batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow your cake to cool completely, on the counter, prior to slicing and garnishing with the whipped cream topping.
  • While your cake is cooling you can make your whipped cream topping by adding your very cold heavy whipping cream to a large bowl and mixing on low speed, with a handheld mixer, for 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip, on high speed, for an additional 2-3 minutes. You can transfer your whipped cream to a piping bag, or a zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped, and pipe a pretty swirl to the top of each piece of your gingerbread cake.  

Notes

TIP: Unsulphured molasses is made from ripe sugar cane and has no additives. It is generally the kind you will find at the grocery store and is different from blackstrap molasses.
TIP: Molasses is a great ingredient to keep on hand in your pantry! It stays fresh at room temperature for quite a while, can be used in many different recipes (like this one), and you can quickly make brown sugar in a pinch. Just mix 1 teaspoon of molasses into 1 cup of granulated sugar (or 2 teaspoons for dark brown sugar) and you have your own freshly homemade brown sugar!
TIP: Boiling or very hot water is critical to this recipe as it helps to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients for a smooth batter and (perhaps most importantly) blooms the spices for the best possible flavor.
TIP: You can use a little bit of that 1 teaspoon of spice blend you reserved to sprinkle lightly on top of the whipped cream and onto the top of your piece of gingerbread cake. 

Nutrition

Calories: 536kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 716mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 926IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 4mg
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