Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

Spiced gingerbread loaf that's soft, moist, and intensely flavored like the holidays with molasses and ginger! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Thanksgiving week. We made it. Have you already started prepping? We had friends over this weekend for a Friendsgiving party. I made plenty of pie crusts the day before (I made this apple slab pie and 2 pumpkin pies) and a few more yesterday for Thanksgiving. I’ll make 3 more pies tomorrow (salted caramel apple pie, apple cranberry pie, another pumpkin pie!).

So much pie, you’d think that’s all we’re eating this week.

Spiced gingerbread loaf that's soft, moist, and intensely flavored like the holidays with molasses and ginger! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

While we’re all in full Thanksgiving mode right now, I want to share something you can make over the weekend and the weeks leading up to Christmas. This spiced gingerbread loaf will make your home smell completely divine as guests come and go, not to mention put you in a completely festive holiday state of mind. Even more festive than Buddy the elf! Smiling’s my favorite.

What I love about this loaf is that it’s breakfast, snack, and dessert all rolled into one. Orange icing and all. You can make the loaf as muffins (see my notes!) or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. Have a slice with coffee in the afternoon or top with homemade whipped cream and fresh cranberries.

The possibilities are endless and if you have a few minutes to spare, you can whip up this gingerbread batter.

How to make spiced gingerbread loaf on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pretty standard batter here with 1 bowl for dry ingredients and 1 bowl for wet. We’ll cream butter and brown sugar together, then add an egg and vanilla. Brown sugar for extra molasses flavor and moisture. To thin out the molasses and provide some liquid for the gingerbread batter, mix it with equal parts HOT water before adding. About the molasses? There are varying intensities of molasses on store shelves from lighter molasses to blackstrap molasses. Go for a dark molasses, also sold as “robust” molasses.

A few I favor: Grandma’s Robust Molasses, Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses, or Wholesome!’s Organic Molasses (this stuff is potent and delicious! It’s what I used in the pictured loaf.)

This loaf is a deeply spiced gingerbread. There’s plenty of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. The three spices I use the most this time of year! Also: I add black pepper. I KNOW. I love it so much in my pumpkin pie, I figured why not?? in gingerbread too. There’s not much– only 1/8 teaspoon– but just enough to make this a suuuuper spiced gingerbread, unlike any other’s I’ve ever tried.

How to make spiced gingerbread loaf on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Son of a nutcracker! This gingerbread is dark!

Spiced gingerbread loaf that's soft, moist, and intensely flavored like the holidays with molasses and ginger! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The gingerbread is quite moist and awesomely impressive left plain, BUT when there’s an opportunity for icing we never skip it. Right?

I made a simple and quick orange icing for drizzling on top of the soft and spicy gingerbread. And highly suggest the citrus! It’s a light and fragrant contrast to the richer, more intense flavors in the gingerbread. It’s just 2 ingredients: orange juice and confectioners’ sugar. You’ve got both on hand, so why not pour on top? You won’t regret this.

Cranberries for color. You can even sugar them if you’d like!

Spiced gingerbread loaf that's soft, moist, and intensely flavored like the holidays with molasses and ginger! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This is any busy cook’s holiday favorite because it’s so simple. I will definitely be making this spiced gingerbread loaf, oh I don’t know, FOREVER.

Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) unsulphured or dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) hot water (about 100°F (38°C))
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature1
  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Orange Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) orange juice

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper together until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl or dish, whisk the molasses and hot water together.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 1 minute until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the hot water/molasses and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Avoid overmixing. Batter will be thin. Whisk out any big lumps.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for around 50-60 minutes or until the gingerbread loaf is baked through. All ovens are different and your loaf could take a little more or less time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the gingerbread loaf. If it comes out clean with only a couple moist (not wet) crumbs, it is done. Allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before removing from pan.
  5. Make the icing: Whisk the confectioners' sugar and orange juice together. Drizzle over cooled loaf.
  6. Leftover loaf keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better after a day or two!

Make ahead tip: The loaf can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Loaf can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Soften butter quickly with this microwave trick!

Muffins or cupcakes: Simply pour batter into muffin liners or a greased muffin pan. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20-22 minutes.

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SHOP THE RECIPE


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Wholesome! Molasses (what I used here)| Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Melamine Mixing BowlsNonstick Loaf PanEat Dessert First Fork

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Spiced gingerbread loaf that's soft, moist, and intensely flavored like the holidays with molasses and ginger! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

88 Comments

Comments

  1. Claire on November 29, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Hi Sally! I made this recipe as muffins and oh my gosh you were not kidding about the delicious smell filling the house! I texted my husband “you better get home right now and smell this kitchen” lol. I made mine as muffins and for some dumb reason thought I could get away without using liners, which didn’t work out so well. But whatevs, cake crumbles are still delicious. I also skipped the glaze and added about 3/4 of mini chocolate chips and it was awesooome. Highly recommend. Definitely making this recipe again. Thanks so much!!

    • Sally on November 29, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Good to know about the muffins sticking! But oh my gosh adding chocolate chips– I can only imagine how wonderful they tasted.

  2. Stella @ Stellicious Life on November 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

    This looks stunning! So beautiful and festive, love it!

  3. Christine on November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Sally – This looks delicious! Do you think I could bake this recipe as a mini bread loaf recipe instead? Do you have any suggestions on changes, ie. baking time? I think these would make a great gift to my work crew!

    • Sally on November 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Hey Christine! I’d love to help– what are the dimensions of the mini loaf pans? I find they typically take 25-30 minutes depending on size.

      • Christine on December 1, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        Sally –
        I found some cute disposable, regular sized loaf pans to use. I’m going to do the originally sized recipe instead. Thanks for getting back to me and I’ll let you know how they turn out! Super excited to start my holiday baking!



  4. Miranda on November 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    This loaf looks incredible! I am so ready for gingerbread season!

  5. Alice / Seattle on December 1, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I made this gingerbread the other day. It made three mini loafs. It taste wonderful and is nice and moist. I will be making these to give away with my cookies for Christmas. Thank you for the great treat.

  6. Melissa on December 1, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Hi Sally! Quick question – does the icing on top dry/get hard or does it remain gooey? I’m going away for the weekend and want to make this and wrap it up in some foil to travel with. If the icing hardens it shouldn’t be a problem but if it stays gooey I’ll leave the icing off. Thanks!

    • Sally on December 2, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Hi Melissa! It will harden after a few hours 🙂

  7. Rachel on December 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    If I wanted to give this as a gift, would I still put the icing on? I was thinking of maybe putting the icing in a separate container and then letting the person put it on themselves. Or should I just make the cake and give it as it? Which would be better?

    • Sally on December 2, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Hi Rachel! I’d either gift it with the glaze on the side OR with a print-out of the glaze recipe. The gingerbread loaf is actually quite tasty without the glaze too, so gifting without is perfectly OK!

  8. Julie on December 3, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I made this bread this morning for my husband and I to have with our morning coffee. It is delicious!!!

  9. Kris on December 6, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I am now making this for the second time. It is a total holiday winner! Slightly sweet, awesome holiday spice, and so incredibly tender. It was delicious even after a week ( I was limiting myself on treats and eating very slowly!) Great the day of, but the only difference the next day was the crust had lost is slight crunch and the whole loaf was delicious and soft. It was fine to make ahead. Love me some Sally’s Baking Addiction, the recipes are no-fail!

  10. Erin FB on December 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I made this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour and it turned out beautifully. I doubled the recipe and it made two loaves and 5 muffins. I made the muffins without liners and had no sticking. Delish!

    • Sally on December 9, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Good to know about the GF flour! Thanks Erin.

  11. Danielle on December 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    This gingerbread recipe is SPECIAL. I made it today and I am so glad I did!  I will use this recipe FOREVER.  It is moist and tender and has the perfect amount of spice for those of us who really love spice.  I baked mine in an 8×8 square pan instead of a loaf pan.  It was perfectly done in about 45 minutes.  The Orange glaze is the perfect accompaniment; no whipped cream needed here!

  12. Rachel on December 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Hi Sally! I love all of your recipes and I wanted to try to make this one for my mother who is vegan.  Could I easily sub oil for butter? Thanks! 

    • Sally on December 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

      I don’t recommend it. What about a vegan butter? (I think Earth Balance brand is great.)

  13. Alice on December 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Is the molasses flavour really strong? I’m making this for Christmas dinner and I just want to make sure that this will appeal to a general group of people (as oppose to spice lovers). thanks for your help!

  14. Desiree on December 21, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Hi Sally! How much cooking time would you recommend for a 5 3/4″ x 3″ x 2 1/8″ mini loaf pan that cooks 4 at once? Thanks!

  15. Alice on December 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I was really excited about this recipe, but I found the molasses flavour a bit too strong for me.
    The loaf came out perfectly; moist, tender, and fluffy. I’m just not the molasses fan I thought I was

  16. B on January 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    ive added cayenne instead of black pepper and its just as spicy and delicious.

  17. Ariane on February 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I LOVED the cake, but the glaze wasn’t a winner. The cake recipe is a keeper!

  18. Prafulla on April 12, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hi sally

    What is the substitute for molasses, as we don’t get in India… Only the imported variety which will be very expensive.. Can I use Jaggery, is it same as molasses? We use it in Indian sweets. Please let me know.
    Thankyou
    Prafulla

  19. Jess on April 27, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Was really looking forward to this, but the result was quite disappointing… I followed all the steps, but the flavour of the loaf was just over powered by the molasses which left quite an overbearing bitter aftertaste that I could hardly taste the ginger.

    Maybe it was designed to be prominent, but would not recommend for those who want a more “gingery” loaf.

    • Sally on April 28, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      What type of molasses are you using? Because that has a major influence on the final flavor of the gingerbread.

  20. Pilar on June 21, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Hi Sally…I am wanting to make this loaf but my question has to do with the suggested decoration; the sugared cranberries. Can these be done with dried craisins?

  21. Shalah on June 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Is it okay to use blackstrap molasses?

    • Sally on June 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

      The gingerbread loaf will have a very intense flavor. That being said, yes you can.

  22. angela on September 1, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Anyone have a different flavor glaze they could recommend I’m not a fan of orange flavor?

    • Sally on September 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

      How about vanilla or maple?

    • Diana on October 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      I actually love lemon with gingerbread!

  23. Clare Smith on October 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Just made this loaf, adapting it to gGuten Free. I thought i was going to end up in trouble with the very liquid batter. But hey on the money here Sally. Alchemy of baking at its best. Its moist and gorgeous.
    Will put it on the Christmas bake list, only question is does it freeze okay?? Im on nights up to Christmas morning so need to make a week before and hide it in there

    • Sally on October 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Sure can! See my make ahead tip.

  24. Niti Mayer on November 14, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Hi Sally, any replacement for the dark molasses? It isn’t available where I stay 🙁 

    • TinaLouise on November 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Try dark corn syrup, honey or maple syrup as a molasses substitute, 1 cup or you can substitute 3/4 c. brown sugar. That’s what my friends who can’t get molasses do and they are happy with the results. They do that for my molasses cookies recipe.

      • Niti Mayer on November 27, 2017 at 11:50 am

        Thank you so much! Will definitely try it out! 🙂



  25. Corrie on November 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Sally! I need some baking therapy time in my kitchen & was looking for something comforting & delicious, and I believe this loaf fits the bill!! Looking forward to smelling it baking away, ahhhh! I also considered the Moist Ginger Spice Snack Cake. I noticed they are the same recipe so I’m wondering, why does the loaf look like it comes out sooo much darker than the cake? 
    Can’t wait to try this! Thanks Sally ~ Merry Christmas! 

    • Sally on November 29, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      The molasses! It makes all the difference. I used Grandma’s brand molasses in the gingerbread snack cake and Wholesome!’s Organic Molasses in this gingerbread loaf.

  26. Kelly Hood on December 11, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Can you ice the gingerbread and then freeze? Or should it be iced right before serving? Thank you!

    • Sally on December 12, 2017 at 5:49 am

      I suggest icing after freezing.

  27. Molly on December 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I baked this loaf using Grandma’s brand molasses, and while the texture and moisture were perfect, I just felt that the molasses flavor overpowered all the spices 🙁 I do want to try again, I’m thinking of reducing to 1/2 or 1/3 cup molasses and upping the spices a bit. Do you think the reduced molasses would impact the moisture level?

    • Sally on December 14, 2017 at 10:07 am

      It shouldn’t. Hope that you enjoy the modified loaf a bit more than this one. Thanks Molly!

  28. Kathryn on December 22, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I just made this 2 days in advance of when I’m needing it. Should I glaze it before serving or can I do it now. Also should it go in the fridge or is covered on the counter good? 
    Thanks
    Kathryn 

    • Sally on December 23, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Hi Kathryn! This gingerbread loaf keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. And the flavor gets even better after a day or two, so it’s great you made it ahead of time! I would let it sit at room temperature (maybe a couple hours) and then glaze it before serving.

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