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. 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.

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

  • 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: Wholesome! Molasses (what I used here)| KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Melamine Mixing BowlsLoaf PanEat Dessert First Fork
  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! this recipe looks soo wonderful! I was wondering if you thing I would be able to turn it into a layer cake. Do you think it would hold-up to stacking? Is it too dense to work in a layer cake?

  2. I made this today – three quarter cups of molasses was too molasses-y. Not enough of the ginger came through 🙁 I might cut back the molasses and increase the ginger next time.

  3. Hi Sally! I’ve made this twice this week (my husband cannot get enough of it!). Both times my bread was not as dark as yours. I used the Grandma’s Unsulphured molasses and I weighed all ingredients (as opposed to measuring cups). And, I greased the pan with crisco before baking but it still stuck to the bottom both times! Is the kind of molasses I used to blame for the color? And is there something else I can try to prevent sticking? None the less, this is delicious! And we enjoy it in the microwave for a few seconds before eating!

    1. Hi Michelle! I used Wholesome brand dark molasses for the pictured gingerbread. I remember specifically because when I’ve made this gingerbread loaf with Grandma’s molasses (my usual kind), it is not as dark. Tastes the same though! Try using nonstick spray, like Pam, instead. I’ve never had sticking issues with that!

      I’m so glad you enjoy the gingerbread loaf!

  4. Hi! This looks perfect for the holidays and I can’t wait to make it. I was wondering if this recipe could be doubled. Would I have to make any adjustments to the leaveners or could I just double everything? Thanks!

  5. Hi there! If I wanted to do mini loaves instead of a big loaf are there any major adjustments I need to make besides time and temperature? What temperature and how long would I bake the mini loaves? I want to wrap them and send them as gifts to family and friends!

    1. Hi Shannon! Same oven temperature. The mini loaf baking time varies between pans (they are all different sizes these days!) but generally 22-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  6. Sounds wonderful! Any idea the calories in a slice of a muffin? I want to gift these (as muffins) to a friend who will ask if I know the calories thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Victoria! I’m unsure, but feel free to calculate using a free online calorie calculator and plug in the exact brands you use.

  7. Just made this as 4 little mini loaves in 3x5ish size pans and it turned out great! Dark and spicy, yum. Will be giving them as gifts (except for the one my husband and I ate haha)!

  8. I made a few of these loaves last year and they turned out beautifully! This year I was thinking about making them bite size and using my mini muffin tin. I’ve had little success doing this with other recipes but I’m quite stubborn. How long do you think I should bake them for? Also, what do you think the yield might be?
    Thank you for any help you can give! I just love this recipe thank you for posting it!

    1. Hi Tracey! I’m unsure of the yield as I’ve only baked this loaf as regular size muffins (about 10-12). Mini muffins usually take about 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees F.

  9. I saw the recipe note for making muffins; thanks! How many do you estimate it would make? I want to send treats into work with my husband and wasn’t sure if sliced up loaf or muffins would stretch further, to give as many of his people something as possible. ☺

  10. This is SO delicious! I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread, but with the holidays I thought I’d give this a try. I’m so glad I did- I absolutely loved this bread! I used lemon for the glaze instead of orange because my kids ate all the oranges before I could make the bread! Definitely a keeper!

  11. I made this for a snack while our gingerbread houses were setting. It was delicious with lemon curd and certainly didn’t last long. I’ll be adding this to my fall and winter menus.

  12. I want to make this in my mini loaf pan. It makes 8 mini loafs. Would you recommend the same temp and cook time as what you recommended for the cupcakes? Thank you!

      1. Thank you! I look forward to trying this. Any suggestions on how to get the icing to set well? I always have a hard time with icings/glazes soaking into the bread and not setting up on top?

  13. Hi Sally! I made this cake to bring into work this week and it was a HIT so I’m planning on repeating it for a quick but delicious Christmas treat. I don’t want to buy a whole bag of cranberries for just a few on top; any other suggestions for festive toppings?

    1. Do you have sprinkles? They are always my go to decoration 🙂 Or if you happen to have made gingerbread men, snowflake, or any other shaped cookies you can place one on top, or even a candy cane….but honestly with a pretty drizzle of icing you don’t even need anything!

  14. I whipped this up this afternoon, and it’s amazing!

    We love the extra dark flavor the heavy spices.

    I added the zest of half and orange and half a lemon as well as the juice from half a lemon to the glaze as written, and it was amazing. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!

  15. This is the best gigerbread I have ever made. I have previous recipies from aunts who are judges with the Scottisj women’s rural feferation. They judge at local showa around the country, but your recipe surpasses any recipe they have given me!!! A definate winner. Shiela from Liverpool, England.

  16. I made this today and it turned out perfect. The taste is amazing and everyone in my household loved it. Thank you for sharing.

  17. This is my first time on your site. I was looking for a gingerbread recipe and this fit the bill. I have my grandmother’s recipe (and yours is pretty close) but, sorry Gram, it only has 2 T. of butter and it’s kind of dry. It’s baking in the oven as I write this and it smells divine. Thanks, Sally
    Your neighbor from New Jersey,

  18. I don’t usually do comments, but this recipe is so very good! I’ve been following you for years now, and have found that I can depend on your recipes always being consistently delicious. I’m very thankful to have discovered you I tell anyone who asks me for a recipe that I don’t have to check your site, that they’ll be happy. I learned from you to bake my muffins at a high start temperature. What a difference! They’re so pretty now! I would not have thought of that to remedy them from spreading out on the muffin pan and being flat. Now they have beautiful rounded tops! Thank you!

  19. So, I like to make something from your blog I haven’t tried each weekend (I’m having heart problems and baking something new distracts me). I would like to make this but I’m out of orange juice. Do you think lemon juice would work or that would be weird?

  20. The recipe immediately reminded me of the older molasses spice fruit cakes. What do you think about walnuts, dried apples and diced candied ginger for additions? Would I have to soak the dried apples first? (If so, I’m thinking of hot apple cider…) Is there another dried fruit that would work better? And how much of each addition?

    1. You can certainly add in nuts and dried fruit! I recommend keeping the total amount of add-ins to about 2/3 cup. Let me know how it turns out!

  21. So so so so good!!! I made this cake with a little extra spice and added a spoonful of honey to help with the strong molasses, and I didn’t use the orange glaze – I used a brandy-butter glaze instead because I wanted something boozy and sweet with the cake, and served with freshly whipped cream. There were two other, fancier, desserts at this dinner party but a week later, everyone is still talking about the gingerbread. Yes, it was too strong for a few people – you have to appreciate real gingerbread to like this. But for those that do, this cake is DELICIOUS. We had literally one slice left, and hubby and I split it the next night and licked our plates clean. I used a fancy-patterned Nordic Ware loaf pan so I buttered the inside of the pan and then dusted it with fine granulated sugar hoping that would help it release – it did, and it also made a lovely crust on the cake. I’ll do that again for sure. I’m on a quest for the best gingerbread cake recipe, and so far this one is in the lead.

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