Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

Soft, moist, and intensely flavored gingerbread loaf tastes just like the holidays! Made with molasses and ginger and drizzled with orange glaze, you’ll welcome a slice any time of day.

gingerbread loaf with icing

Today’s wonderfully spiced gingerbread loaf is 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. Let’s do this!

slice of gingerbread loaf on a silver plate

Why You’ll Love This Gingerbread Loaf

One of the many things I love about this recipe is the smell as it bakes– your home will smell completely divine as guests come and go, not to mention put you in a completely festive holiday state of mind. If you need even more convincing to give gingerbread loaf a try… it’s:

  • Deeply spiced and moist
  • Has rich, dark molasses flavor
  • Not overly sweet
  • Easy to make
  • Perfect any time of day
  • Adaptable into muffins or cupcakes (or try my gingerbread muffins)
  • Delicious with or without the icing
  • Always impressive!

2 images of the hot water and molasses mixture in a glass measuring cup

Ingredients in Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

We use pretty standard ingredients to make gingerbread loaf. They’re all pantry basics that you likely already have on hand.

  • Flour: This is a dense, moist cake so we need sturdy all-purpose flour as the base.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps it rise.
  • Salt & Spices: 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 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 super spiced gingerbread, unlike any others I’ve ever tried.
  • Molasses: A gingerbread essential. 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 brands 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 and why the loaf looks so dark.)
  • Water: We use hot water to thin out the molasses and provide some liquid for the gingerbread batter.
  • Butter: Adds flavor and moisture. Make sure it’s properly softened to room temperature before beginning.
  • Brown Sugar: We use brown sugar (light or dark) for extra molasses flavor and moisture.
  • Egg: One egg binds everything together.
  • Vanilla Extract: A must! Vanilla pairs wonderfully with all of the spices and flavors we have going on. Try using homemade vanilla extract.

gingerbread loaf batter in a glass bowl

Son of a nutcracker! This gingerbread is dark!

How to Make Gingerbread Loaf

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Whisk the molasses and hot water together.
  3. Cream the remaining wet ingredients together. (Butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.)
  4. Add the dry ingredients and molasses/water mixture. In three additions, add the dry ingredients alternating with the molasses/water mixture. Mix each addition just until incorporated. The batter will be thin.
  5. Bake. 
  6. Make the orange icing. Drizzle over cooled loaf.

gingerbread loaf

Orange Icing

I made a simple and quick orange icing for drizzling on top of the soft and spicy gingerbread. You can certainly use vanilla icing instead, but I 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.

Top with cranberries for color. You can even sugar them like I did in my pumpkin pie recipe!

slice of spiced gingerbread loaf on a silver plate

More Gingerbread Recipes

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gingerbread loaf with icing

Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Spiced Gingerbread Loaf is full of robust molasses flavor, cinnamon, cloves, and topped with orange icing.


  • 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 temperature
  • 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
  • 23 Tablespoons (30-45ml) orange juice


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5-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!


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, KitchenAid Glass Bowl, 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup, Melamine Mixing Bowls, and Loaf Pan
  3. Muffins or Cupcakes: Simply pour batter into muffin liners or a greased muffin pan. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20-22 minutes. Makes about 10-12.

Keywords: gingerbread loaf, spiced gingerbread

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


  1. THANKS for all your amazing recipes!

  2. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    it’s so dark and rich looking that it almost seems like it’s chocolate! the orange glaze sounds amazing with all the spices, too (:

  3. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    This is such a gorgeous loaf! Just what I need to nibble on post-Thanksgiving while decorating the house. 🙂

  4. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    This loaf makes me all ready for Christmas! I love how the molasses turn the loaf into such a gorgeous dark color. Can’t wait to give this a try.

  5. Lynn @ Fresh April Flours says:

    I do love the gorgeous dark color of this bread!! Last year I posted a cranberry gingerbread loaf and I’ve been absolutely itching to make it again this year. YES to Grandma’s and Wholesome!’s molasses!! MY FAVS!! And obviously there is black pepper is in my gingerbread too. Gingerbread is just not the same without it!

    1. Cranberry gingerbread loaf sounds so good! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family of 3, Lynn! 🙂 <3

  6. Wow, I can’t believe there’s no chocolate…I’ve never seen such dark gingerbread! I can only imagine how incredible that means it is 🙂 Perfect!

    1. It’s all in that super dark organic molasses I got from Wholesome! I love it.

  7. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    I’m LOVING the dark color of this gingerbread!! Definitely making this for Christmas. 🙂 The orange juice in the icing too is interesting, I would’ve never thought to use that!

  8. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    Oh I love turning anything into a loaf, definitely makes baking much easier.  That orange icing sounds like the perfect topping.  And seriously always loving all your bowls and props in your photos, those bowls are adorable!

  9. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    Yum!!! It looks and sounds SO festive! Plus it photographs beautifully 🙂 Can’t wait to try it!

  10. I LOVE gingerbread; cookies, cake, muffins, etc. I make and decorate batches of gingerbread cookies for Christmas Eve every year, but it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet until I’ve had a gingerbread latte from Starbucks. There’s just something about the comforting flavour of ginger-spiced baked goods which makes everything feel instantly like Christmas and hope. This loaf was so dark I almost thought it was chocolate! Chocolate & gingerbread though, never a bad thing (chocolate-dipped gingerbread cookies??) – can’t wait to make this one Sally. I think the Christmas season officially began this week 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, chocolate gingerbread cookies. My mouth is WATERING! You’re like my tastebud twin.

  11. Um…yes please! You had me at spiced :).

    Rachael xx.

  12. Del's cooking twist says:

    Stunning spice ginger bread loaf, Sally! Looks perfect for the holidays, I need to try! 🙂

  13. This looks so good and I normally LOVE gingerbread but my queasy pregnant self is innerly saying I don’t know….. maybe in a few weeks!

  14. Sally! This bread is absolutely gorgeous! I love gingerbread and pairing it with orange sounds heavenly!  Happiest of holidays to you!

  15. Demeter | Beaming Baker says:

    Happy early Friendsgiving, Sally! 🙂 I totally wish I was one of the lucky recipients of all your wonderful pies! This loaf is so gorgeous and beautifully shot. I love that pic on the plate! All those shades of gray and little pops of red–it’s bliss. Just wanted to say, thank you for your “what are you grateful for” post. It made me breathe a bit easier and give myself a break amidst all the pressure to be perfect this holiday season. I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated to myself (in the middle of making another batch of xmas cookies and candy), Just Breathe. Sally said to chill a bit. Focus on family and the enjoyment of the experience, not perfection. Thank you for the reminder about what really matters. <3 Sending you big hugs this Thanksgiving, xo Demeter.

    1. It’s so important to remember that all the stress and frantic chaos just is not worth it. And sometimes we’re going to be extremely busy and overworked, but at least we can control our attitude! Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

  16. Any thoughts on making this in a bread machine?!
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Jake! I’m not completely sure, but probably? Sorry I’m no help!

  17. Hey Sally! Hope you have a good turkey day! Love your pie ideas. I’m making pumpkin cheesecake with ginger snap crust and brown sugar caramel. Yum

    1. That cheesecake sounds incredible!

  18. Jenny Barrett says:

    The contrast in these photos is gorgeous!!! Yum!

    1. Thank you so much Jenny, I had such a hard time photographing this loaf for that very reason– all the contrast!

  19. Tori//Gringalicious.com says:

    Oh wow, this looks incredible!

  20. Arlene A Slobecheski says:

    This looks and sounds soooo yummy. I just love molasses. It is what I use on pancakes since I was a child. And it is good for you.

  21. You make me laugh! “Son of a Nutcracker”…and you are inspiring. I have no idea how I’m going to get it all done the next two days!! 🙂

  22. Hi Sally! This loaf looks amazing! can I just use blackstrap molasses because that’s what I’ve got on hand? And if I can will there need to be any changes? Thank you!

    1. Yes! Keep in mind that the loaf will have a very robust flavor. You could add a little more sugar if you’d like.

  23. Looks so yummy. As some of your other reviewers noted, you can almost take it for a chocolate cake. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Thanks Ann and happy Thanksgiving to you!

  24. can i sub ulsalted butter with flavourless oil?

    1. I do not recommend it. You need to cream that butter as the base… and, of course, for flavor!

  25. So now I know the first thing I will make to kick off the Christmas baking season! This looks wonderful!! And you KNOW we would want the link to that adorable fork…Christmas gift ideas. 🙂

  26. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life says:

    Happy Thanksgiving from Australia Sally! I hope you and Kevin (and Jude and Franklin) had a wonderful day filled with family and happy moments – and delicious food (though I’m sure that one’s a given 😉 )
    This gingerbread sounds perfect to me! I love the addition of black pepper, I always add just a pinch to my spice cookies too 🙂 It’s the perfect little secret ingredient, and very European (my Mum is Danish). I’ll be baking this loaf to share with my family soon 🙂
    Thanks Sally!

    1. Thanks Amy and I hope you and your family love it. Hope you’re doing well!

  27. Sammi Harasymchuk says:

    Hi Sally, just wondering if I could make this in a bundt pan? I just got a new nordicware one and I’m itching to use it!

    1. Absolutely! The bundt cake won’t be very tall.

  28. I made this last night to officially welcome the Christmas season; it was perfect! Delicious, even without the glaze.

  29. Marissa Sharp says:

    Just made this today and it turned out great! My roommates and I loved it. Thanks so much for this new fave!!

  30. This is a awesome Holiday cake , lovely Sally! Thanks for the muffins note , I could make it all year long not just around Christmas 🙂

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