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. 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!!

    1. 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 says:

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

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

      2. How long do you suggest to bake for 6”x2”x2” loaf pans?

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

  5. Alice / Seattle says:

    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. 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!

    1. Hi Melissa! It will harden after a few hours 🙂

  7. 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?

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

  9. 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. 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!

    1. Good to know about the GF flour! Thanks Erin.

  11. 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. 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! 

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

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

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  20. 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. Is it okay to use blackstrap molasses?

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

      1. Hi Sally, I was also wonsering about black strap molasses. I didn’t realize it was different than dark molasses and used it in your chocolate gingerbread bundt cake, and it was way too strong. Do you think it would work to cut the molasses in half and use brown sugar for the other half to help it not be so pungent? Thank you!

      2. Hi Jeannie! I haven’t tried altering the brown sugar/molasses combo, but it’s definitely worth a shot. I can’t see any issue.

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

    1. How about vanilla or maple?

    2. I actually love lemon with gingerbread!

  23. 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

    1. Sure can! See my make ahead tip.

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

    1. 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.

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

  25. 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! 

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

    1. I suggest icing after freezing.

  27. 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?

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

  28. 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? 

    1. 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.

  29. Wow! You weren’t kidding when you said this loaf has some spice. My gingerbread-loving husband was over the moon for this recipe. I subed out the orange icing for a Greek yogurt icing to lighten things up a bit, and also cut down on the butter and added Greek yogurt to the batter. It turned out so moist and delicious!

  30. When I looked at the rich color of this loaf I could have swore it was a chocolate and gingerbread beauty lol.

    My question is have you ever attempted a yummy chewy gingerbread brownie? If not would you?

    1. Hi Krystle! I haven’t, but here’s a chocolate gingerbread cake recipe 🙂 I LOVE it!

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