This is my flavorfully spiced and moist version of the timeless classic gingerbread. The spice flavor is incredible! For different pan size options, see my recipe notes below.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- 3/4 cup (180ml) unsulphured or dark molasses (do not use blackstrap; I prefer Grandma’s brand)
- 3/4 cup (180ml) hot water (about 100°F (38°C))
- 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
- 8 oz (224g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional: 1/2 teaspoon maple extract or 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
- optional: cranberries for garnish
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the molasses and hot water together.
- 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 until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the hot water/molasses, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Avoid overmixing. Batter will be thin. Whisk out any big lumps.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for around 35 minutes or until the cake is baked through. All ovens are different and your cake could take a little more or less time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean with only a couple moist (not wet) crumbs, it is done. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. The cake must be completely cool before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until creamy and no lumps remain- about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds then increase to high speed until everything is completely combined and the frosting is creamy. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Spread on top of cake. Spread around the sides if you have extra frosting.
- Slice, serve, enjoy! Leftover frosted cake keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better after a day or two.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The cake can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake the next day when you are ready to serve. Frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Honestly, it tastes much better fresh!
- Different Size Pans: No matter what size pan you use, bake the cake at 350°F (177°C). A 9 or 10-inch springform pan is best because this gingerbread cake rises pretty high. 9-inch cake pans are too short. You can also use a 9-inch square pan or 11×7-inch rectangle pan. The bake times will all be relatively 35 minutes. Use a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake to test for doneness. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. There is not enough batter for a 9×13-inch cake pan or a bundt pan.
- Cupcakes: For cupcakes, fill liners halfway and bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Layer Cake: I suggest making the batter twice. (Don’t double it– make it twice and combine the batters.) This will be a lot of batter and is the perfect amount for a 3 layer cake. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. Fill the cake pans halfway. Use any leftover batter for cupcakes. OR you can make the cake as is and slice in half to turn into a thinner 2 layer cake.
- Adapted from Gingerbread Muffins with Sweet Lemon Glaze.
Keywords: gingerbread spice cake, gingerbread cake