Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Deep, dark chocolate gingerbread bundt cake full of warming spices. This chocolate gingerbread bundt cake with cream cheese frosting is a show stopper dessert around the holidays!

This Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with cream cheese frosting is full of holiday spices and tons of chocolate flavor!

I have fallen in love with a bundt cake. Dark and rich chocolate cake spiced with ginger, molasses, and sweetened with dark brown sugar. Blanketed in sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.

Christmas on a plate. 😉

What may look like your run-of-the-mill chocolate bundt cake, one bite of today’s cake will surely take you for a surprise. Deep in the chocolate crumbs you will taste a medley of warming winter spices, pungent and dark molasses, and a bold ginger taste ready to scare off your gingerbread man. And ordinary chocolate bundt cake?  Ha! This is none of the sort.

This Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with cream cheese frosting is full of holiday spices and tons of chocolate flavor!

Originally intending to make a pumpkin chocolate bundt cake of sorts last weekend, I found myself eager to try something a little new. While I love pumpkin dearly, I am beginning to embrace the flavors of the upcoming holidays. There are no flavors I associate more with holidays than gingerbread or molasses, so into my chocolate bundt cake went… Christmas.

Into the cake batter goes cocoa powder, whole milk (or heavy cream), molasses, eggs, and brown sugar. I used oil as my fat in the recipe because I’ve learned that oil produces a much softer, moist slice of cake as opposed to butter. While I love butter in my cookie recipes, when I’m not looking for an item to spread and to remain moist over time – I find oil does the trick. Especially a cake with so much flavor from the ginger, molasses, and spices – you will not miss the butter in this recipe at all.  Box cake mixes (which have the texture I was looking for) are baked using oil, not butter.

For the festive spices – if you’re anything like me, you’re going to lend a heavy hand pouring your cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves into the mix. The two teaspoons of ginger are necessary (you’re making gingerbread after all), but feel free to taste the batter as you add each and cut back as needed. I typically get sprinkle happy when it comes to spices in my baked goods (especially cinnamon), but the spice amounts below were even spot-on to my taste tasters. Just the right amounts, they said.

Spice is always nice.

This Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with cream cheese frosting is full of holiday spices and tons of chocolate flavor!

The cake is left ultra moist from the oil, molasses, and dark brown sugar. More often than not, I favor using dark brown sugar in my baked goods because it adds a larger scale of flavor depth. One secret behind my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies is the use of dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar in the dough.  The dark variety leaves the cookies so soft and moist!

1/2 cup of dark molasses gives the cake a huge flavor punch – a little bit of molasses can go a long way, but in a dense chocolate bundt cake – a whopping 1/2 cup is not overpowering at all. I prefer dark molasses because it has a more robust flavor than light molasses (comparable to the taste difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar).  I prefer dark molasses over blackstrap molasses as well – blackstrap is the darkest variety.  Blackstrap molasses is too bitter for me and light molasses is too mild.  Regular dark molasses fits the bill every time.

*Tip: spraying your measuring cup with non-stick spray before measuring the molasses will save you a lot of sticky trouble!

The cake’s texture is soft, yet dense – exactly how you can imagine the taste of gingerbread and chocolate cake if the two combined forces.  You’ve got your pungent, slightly spicy, and thick slice of gingerbread with a delicate and moist piece of chocolate cake all in one bite. Texture perfection, if you ask me. Each crumb is ultra moist, chocolatey rich, and tender. There are so many complex flavors happening in this cake that it is practically impossible to stop eating it.

I can think of worse problems.

This Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with cream cheese frosting is full of holiday spices and tons of chocolate flavor!

The frosting was an afterthought and while this cake is simply glorious on it’s own, I felt a tangy and creamy layer overtop was the perfect addition.  The cream cheese frosting is a Sally special… the perfect ratio of cream cheese to butter, confectioners’ sugar to vanilla, and a splash of milk to get things moving in the mixer.  The white frosting is quite thick and smooths beautifully over the dark chocolate bundt – I love the color contrast of the two!

I topped the the frosting with a light drizzle of chocolate sauce. From the spices in the batter, the frosting piled on top, to the chocolate drizzle – apparently “more is better” is my motto today. Now THIS is how I like my holiday gingerbread. 😉

 

 

Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Deep, dark chocolate gingerbread bundt cake full of warming spices. Topped generously with cream cheese frosting. This is a show stopper dessert around the holidays!

Ingredients:

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup (156g) dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting by © Sallys Baking Addiction

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 oz (112g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2-3 cups (240-360g) confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • chocolate sauce, for drizzling (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Spray a 9-inch bundt pan with nonstick spray. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out excess. Set aside.
  2. Over medium-low heat, melt together the oil, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan until all of the brown sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk into the molasses mixture after it has cooled (to avoid heating and scrambling the eggs). Set aside.
    Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg into a medium bowl. Gently fold the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until just combined. There will be lumps remaining. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes until cake is pulling away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  3. As the cake cools, make your frosting. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla and the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until you've reached the desired thickness. Add a little more sugar or milk if necessary to achieve a spreadable frosting.
    Invert cake onto a cake stand or a large serving platter. Frost cake immediately before serving and drizzle with chocolate sauce (optional).
  4. Cake remains fresh for up to 4 days stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

Cake adapted from Martha Stewart

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

 

Q: What are your favorite holiday flavors?

Try my Caramel Molasses Cookies next!

Caramel Molasses Cookies

 

 

 

138 Comments

  1. Oh my. I so want to make this! I’ve never made chocolate gingerbread anything. And I loved your writing about this cake. Obviously, after reading all that, I need to make it. 🙂 And I love the chocolate drizzle. It’s so simple but makes it look so much more interesting!

  2. Oh my goodness – this is the most gorgeous bundt cake I have ever laid eyes on! Thanksgiving is tomorrow (a holiday that I look forward to the most each year) but I would gladly give that up and eat this entire cake instead!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sally 🙂

  3. I was looking for a “different” cake flavor for Thanksgiving. Everyone wanted either pumpkin or gingerbread, neither of which I’m crazy about. Then I saw your post and was inspired to try your recipe! We (me & my daughters, ages 5 & 7) made them into cupcakes, and everyone loved them. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Kimberly! I am so so happy to hear that – making them into cupcakes is actually a recipe I have coming up!! You read my mind. 😉

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake Recipe | Clever Cake Blog
  5. I adapted this recipe into cupcakes for a Christmas Eve desert, and they were AMAZING. So, so yummy! Moist, flavorful… A perfect way to enjoy the festivity of gingerbread’s flavor for those who aren’t fans of its usual intensity. Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making it again in holidays to come.

    1. Hi Molly! I am so glad you liked this cake and that you reported back. That means a lot to me! This was my favorite holiday cake and I can’t wait to make it again next year. Thanks again!

  6. I adapted this recipe into cupcakes for a Christmas Eve desert, and they were AMAZING. So, so yummy! Moist, flavorful… A perfect way to enjoy the festivity of gingerbread’s flavor for those who aren’t fans of its usual intensity. Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making it again in holidays to come.

    My post on adapting this recipe into cupcake form, for those interested: http://thebatterthickens.com/2013/01/holiday-cupcakes.html

  7. I’ve always loved Chocolate Bundt Cake but I was wondering if you could make it milk chocolate instead of Dark Chocolate.

    1. Hi Noah, there’s really no way to make this milk chocolate since the only “chocolate” in the recipe is from the cocoa powder, which tastes more dark to me than it does milk chocolate.

  8. Just made this cake for Super Bowl Sunday. Wow! It was delicious! The spices and the chocolate flavors blended so well together. The icing/chocolate syrup were the perfect toppings and complemented the cake itself very well. A very moist cake too! Thanks, Sally!

    1. SO SO glad to hear that Betsy! I love this cake so much. It’s one of my very favorites. And I’m glad you loved the frosting with the cake. I feel it all works SO well together too. Thank you for reporting back!

  9. I made this cake a week ago and it was wonderful! Will be trying to adapt it to a non bundt pan since I don’t have one at school (and no room in my kitchen for more pans).

  10. Hi Sally.
    Will this frosting hold up to frost a layered cake?
    I’d like a white frosting, but cream cheese is #1 on my plate!
    Thanks!

    1. It sure will. It may be a bit thin. Try to add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired thickness you want. If it is too sweet from adding more powdered sugar, add salt. Enjoy! 🙂

  11. Thanks Sally for always getting back to me!…:)
    I used 8oz. of cream cheese, a whole stick of butter, 3cups of powdered sugar and a touch of lemon juice. It’s perfect! Nice and thick. Most cream cheese frostings “melt”
    (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about)
    Thanks again!

  12. I have a concussion and therefore am stuck at home. This looked wonderful and I was thinking that today I couldn’t bake since I have no white sugar (I don’t even know how something like that happens to a person like me!), but this has brown sugar. Score.

    So I put it in the oven and I was just about to go sit down with some cheerios when I realized that I had forgot the cocoa powder. I stirred it into a slightly warm batter that didn’t look too cooked. Still I’m sure it’s not going to turn out right.

    Lesson learned – don’t cook with a concussion!

    1. … then I proceded to put the cream cheese, still in aluminum wrapper, into my microwave.

      Well looks like I’m ordering dinner tonight.

      1. Oh my goodness! Aluminum on the microwave – terrible mistake! I hope you try this again with the cocoa powder, Mac! And feel better from your concussion.

  13. Hi Sally!! I love to bake and am in love with your website! I would like to make this cake for some of my teachers before my fall break (sidenote – love the teacher appreciation cupcakes you made :P). I think making them into cupcakes would be a good idea (inspired by some commentors). However, I don’t really have experience with baking cupcakes :/ Can you give me some few tips on how to best translate this recipe? For example, is there a certain optimal size of cupcake pan? And should the icing be piped on or just spread? How much will baking time change? Thanks again for the awesome recipe!!

    1. Hi Ramee! Yes, you can use this recipe to make cupcakes. I’m unsure of the exact baking time since I’ve never tried it before, but I do know this batter would translate well as cupcakes. Just use a standard 12-count muffin/cupcake pan and line with liners. The frosting is too thin to pipe, I always spread it.

  14. I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

    My mum gave me an awesome tip that I thought I might share – she suggested that if you coat your cake tin with melted butter then put the tin in the fridge before using it then the cake should be super easy to remove. She uses this tip with her fancy Nordic ware ring pans and hasn’t had a stuck cake!

  15. You say to frost just before serving – How far in advance can the frosting be made? I’d plan to drive 2 hours with this cake – Can it be frosted, say, 4 hours before eating? Thanks.

  16. What a gorgeous and yummy looking cake, great photos! Never was a gingerbread fan growing up, but now I think now my tastes are changing in a delicious direction 😛 Anyway, I was wondering if this is cake is okay to make a day in advance. Can I ice it and then refrigerate it, or refrigerate and ice it before I serve it? Or should I just find a different recipe to bake in advance all together? Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Shae! Yes, you may make this cake 1 day in advance. Cover it tightly and store at room temperature. Make the frosting 1 day in advance and store in the refrigerator, covered. Then frost the cake right before serving the next day.

  17. This recipe is sooo gorgeous. Drool-worthy. I want to make it but I only have an angel food pan/ tube pan and I just LOVE this recipe. Do I have to go out and get a bundt pan or will mine work? I’m responsible for dessert for a Christmas dinner.

      1. It was a hit!!! Thank you so much for you baking addiction and hence this cake! 🙂 It was just perfect.

  18. I made this as a Christmas Eve dessert and it was a hit! My dad especially loved it. He loved how the spices in the cake and the sweetness in the icing went so well together! All of you recipes are so fun and tasty, I want to try them all! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. This was so delicious! Perfect ratio of chocolate to spices. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a few months now and finally made it this weekend. For any others curious, I made no adjustments for high altitude (5300′) and it turned out perferct. I brought the leftovers to work, and it was a huge hit!

    1. So helpful for my high altitude readers, Pam! Happy this was a hit and thank you for reporting back! Very much appreciated.

  20. Hey Sally, I’m in a place where I can’t seem to find molasses :(. Although, I’ll really love to make this cake. Do you have any suggestions to help??? P. S. I never tried anything with molasses… I hear its amazing!

  21. Hi Sally,
    I made this cake for my partners’s birthday and it was a huge hit. He was very impressed. Since his b-day is so close to Canadian Thanksgiving I thought the combination of gingerbread and chocolate would be perfect and it was!
    I have not been much of a baker but I have been trying your recipes lately and everything I have tried has been wonderful. I want to emphasize how helpful all of your tips are. I can follow and know I am on the right track. Thanks for re-awakening the baker in me 🙂

  22. This is baking right now. Can’t wait to frost it in the morning. (my 17 year old son just about wrestled the bowl away from me so he could lick it out when he heard it was gingerbread.)

  23. Was searching for something to make for a potluck early next month and I think this will be perfect 🙂 I don’t have a bundt pan though….have you made this in a 9×13 pan yet? I don’t really have the space for more pans in my kitchen.

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