Classic Gingerbread Cake with a rich molasses, cinnamon and ginger flavor is fuss free and the perfect holiday breakfast. Also works great as part of your dessert table.
Classic Gingerbread Cake is the epitome of the Christmas season and the perfect breakfast cake with your morning cup of coffee. When I was younger and loved getting holiday drinks from Starbucks I used to love the gingerbread loaf they would sell and I would buy a slice without fail.
This Classic Gingerbread Cake is like the Gingerbread loaf from Starbucks without the icing and it is the perfect slice of cake for your morning coffee or for easy holiday office treats. The flavors are strong, sweet, slightly spicy from the ginger and scream holidays. This post is going to be the last one until after Christmas but I will be back next week with more delicious recipes, so I hope you all have a happy, family filled weekend whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or whether you’re just enjoying a quiet long weekend at home (hopefully with an extra day off work!).
We’re celebrating Chrismakkuh here, so the kids are going to be swimming in presents, latkes, all things Christmas and lots of Gingerbread Cookies and Gingerbread Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup. If you’d like to learn the history of Chrismakkuh look at this Seth Cohen video from the OC. My family is a huge fan of all things Gingerbread, so along with the Award Winning Cookies recipe I was given, this recipe is an old family recipe over 50 years old that I’d never actually tried before. Go figure the treasures you find when you ask for it, I made the cake immediately and it was heaven on earth.
My original recipe shows the whole recipe written out and an added footnote to the bottom that looks like applesauce was added in at a later date. So hey, recipe testing over the years! This Classic Gingerbread Cake has been recipe tested over the years and is ready for your holiday table. Happy Holidays everyone, thank you for an AWESOME year and next week will have a couple of recipes and some of the year end superlatives I love to revisit.
Tools used in this Classic Gingerbread Cake Recipe:
Baking Pan: Love this baking pan for the perfectly angled sides that allow the cake to cook and rise evenly and high against the sides of the pan.
Unsulphured Molasses: There are many kinds of molasses, the kind used in this recipe is unsulphured which is my molasses recommendation in all gingerbread baking. I use Grandma’s because it is most widely available, but I also love Brer Rabbit brand in the mild flavor when I can find it.
Applesauce: Any applesauce will work here, but we all love Musselman’s because its a brand that has been around over 60 years, all the apples are grown in the US and the only added ingredient is absorbic acid and the flavor is fantastic. That being said… I have definitely used one of the kids applesauce pouches in a pinch too, haha.
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup applesauce (optional, but will add to moistness of cake)
- 1 cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter and flour or use baking spray with a 9 inch square pan.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses until fully combined.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves until just combined.
- With a whisk, add in the hot water and applesauce (using the stand mixer would make a mess with the water and pouring in the water slowly would cause the flour to over-mix).
- Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven until the cake springs back up when touched or a knife comes out clean
Can I double this cake and is it necessary to add molasses, would like a feedback Thank you
Yes you can double the cake. Simply hover over the word “Yield” in the recipe card and use the bar to increase to the number of desired servings. The recipe will automatically change to reflect your choice.
If you don’t want to use molasses you may mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup water and use in place of 1 cup molasses. The sugar will add sweetness and the water will add moisture.
wonderful. I used light brown sugar instead of white. perfect. moist. the spice is spot on. Hadn’t made gingerbread in years. this was the bomb.
I love your recipe! And I saved it for Christmas baking I only save and rate the really good recipes !! ” my kitchen, my rules “!!
While this recipe is good, I can’t believe the cake pictured was made with unsulphered molasses. I just made this today, with Grandma’s brand unsulphered molasses, and my cake came out much darker than the blogger’s. I have to believe light molasses was used for the pictures. No way using unsulphered molasses would result in a medium creamy brown. I also thought 1 cup of molasses was too much going in, but unless the recipe is so far off the mark for my brain to consider, I like to make a recipe as written the first time. I should have cut it back a little and added a bit more applesauce. But it was good, with a nice gingery flavor. I’ll play with the recipe the next time.
While this recipe is good, I can’t believe the cake pictured was made with unsulphered molasses. I just made this today, with Grandma’s brand unsulphered molasses, and my cake came out much darker than the blogger’s. I have to believe light molasses was used for the pictures. No way using unsulphered molasses would result in a medium creamy brown.
I also thought 1 cup of molasses was too much going in, but unless the recipe is so far off the mark for my brain to consider, I like to make a recipe as written the first time. I should have cut it back a little and added a bit more applesauce.
But it was good, with a nice gingery flavor. I’ll play with the recipe the next time.
We made as is (maybe a little generous with spices) and the cake was perfect!
Best gingerbread cake!!
Do I use sweetened or unsweetened applesauce? Thankyou for this recipe. I’m making it for a friend
I always read comments to see how others’ tries at a recipe came out. After doing so, I decided (for personal taste reasons) to reduce the molasses by 1/4 cup and increase the sugar by 1/4th cup. Everything else I left as is. WOW! I grew up eating a box mix gingerbread during the holidays which was extremely good. I wanted to try from scratch for a more homemade taste and this definitely worked. I topped it with organic whipped cream (from a can – Whole Foods brand)… I had two large helpings and my mom and brother (who are picky) loved it! This is a keeper and brings me back to fall and winter holidays when I was a kid. Just excellent! Thank you for this recipe. 😉
Thanks for the 5 stars, Christine.
Very good and easy to make. I found the first cake moist but not very sweet. Made a second and used 1 cup sugar. Will make again. Had friends ask for recipe. Topped with homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce. Loved it.
Just what I been looking for ginger bread recipe that is so good.
This ginger cake recipe is just what I need! Unfortunately, I don’t have an oven. Can you make it in a 6 qt. crockpot?
I’ve not tested it before so I’m not sure. You might be able to find a crockpot cake recipe online and use that as a guideline. Good luck!
Can you suggest how to re-heat this cake? I would like to serve it warm with whipped cream and/or ice cream.
To reheat it in the oven, place the cake on a foil-lined baking sheet in a cold oven and turn the oven to 250 degrees. Bake just until the cake is moist and warm-not hot, about 8 to 15 minutes or you can pop it in the microwave. Hope this helps!
Can you adjust for 9×13 pan?
Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. You can, but you’ll want to cook for less time, depending on your oven. I would recommend increasing the ingredients by 50% more so that it’s not too flat.
This cake is really good. I wanted something to welcome in fall. This fit the bill. It was moist and very flavorful. I like melting down lemon icing and pouring over the cake slices, before serving . Lemon and Gingerbread are a great couple. There was not a crumb left in the pan. This recipe is a definitely a keeper.
So glad you liked it! And I’m loving the idea of a lemon “sauce”. YUM!
I followed the directions exactly and the molasses flavour is way too overpowering. Yuck! I’m disappointed and it irks me when I feel that I’ve wasted ingredients and my time. Also, my cake turned out a lot darker than the picture that’s shown here so something doesn’t match up. Next time I’ll put less than half the molasses that is called for and I’ll up the apple sauce because I love the apple flavour and I dislike detectable amounts of molasses in my baked goods.
Followed the directions exactly (using apple sauce) and it turned out great! Just the right amount of spice – not too strong. Thank you for sharing this, I will be making it again for a pot luck this weekend.
So glad you enjoyed it, Tom! Thanks for the 5 stars.
Sounds like you used ‘blackstrap’ molasses. Check the label, that will give a stronger bitter taste and a very dark cake. Look for just ”molasses” or ”light and mild unsulfured molasses”
Hi the cake smells really good, after 43 minutes it’s still kinda wet in the middle, I’m going to bake it for 10 minutes and see what happens!!
When done, is the cake able to be inverted from the pan, or does it have to be cut and served in it?
I have cut around the edges and inverted out, it would depend on the non-stick nature of your pan. If you want to invert out be sure to grease and flour your pan well.
Can I make this a couple of days ahead of shen I’m serving it?
I tried your “Classic Gingerbread Cake” and absolutely love it!!! I did NOT use the applesauce and it is so light and fluffy! The flavor of the spices is perfect!
I wish I lived in Sacramento!
So glad you enjoyed it, Dianne!
Well, I just had some of this cake. It is AMAZING. I modified it only slightly: added 1/4Cup chopped candied ginger and 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger. In place of applesauce I used 1/2 cup of brandied dried mincemeat. The mincemeat has been marinating in brandy for about 3 days. But I followed the recipe for ratios of flour, butter molasses (what a lot!) and rest of the spices, and water exactly. This has the most amazing delicate crumb. Featherlight, etherial, delectable. Thank you so much. Happy holidays!
Love your modifications! Sounds amazing!
I thought this cake had a heavy molasses taste, mellowed on day 2. Others really liked it.Don’t know if I would make it again.
I just finally got around to trying this tonight and not only was it super easy, but it was so delicious and exactly what I wanted in a gingerbread!
So glad you enjoyed it, Joanna! Thanks for the 5 stars.
Do you have any feedback if I want double the recipe and cook in a 9×13 pan? Same baking time or increase it? Thanks!
That’ll work perfectly. You may need 5-10 more minutes of bake time but just check it 40 minutes and then every 5 minutes from there to be sure. Enjoy!
If I don’t have a stand mixer, will a hand mixer work?
Just wondering if you made this in the cupcake tin that is shown when you click on “baking pan”, or in a loaf pan or square pan as shown in the slice pictured?? (Baking times would be different). The baking time stated sounds more like a loaf pan or 8″ square pan? The picture looks like it was from the latter. Can’t wait to try it though!
It was made in a square pan, I’m so sorry that link took you to a cupcake pan. Here’s a link to the type of pan: https://amzn.to/2L6Cs8r
So this recipe only makes one small pan? I need to make (3) 8″ layers with mascarpone cheese icing. So I would just double or what?
I don’t think this would be a good recipe for that. This is a much firmer cake and I’m not sure if layering would work. Sorry
Can you make it in an 8-inch square pan?
Yes, though it may take longer to bake since it’ll be thicker. Good luck!
Please tell me what icening you use and the recipe?
I didn’t use any icing for this recipe.
I made this recipe and it turned out really good! I just sprinkled Cinnamon sugar on top. The cake is flavorful, moist and dense but not a sign dense as pound cake.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
We went to the Pomona Fair last September, looking SO forward to the gingerbread house that makes THE best gingerbread. As a lot of things from my childhood, it was no longer a part of the county fair! 🙁 I have been thinking about that darn cake since then and it is now almost Christmas!
Going through Pinterest and this recipe is exactly like my mom’s recipe that she always used, but I had been unable to find.
This is just lovely…..I have it baking right now and am SO excited to present it for dessert tonight!
Hugs, from California!
I’m so sorry that it’s no longer there but glad to give you a little joy here 🙂 I hope you all enjoyed it!
We always had gingerbread with unwhipped table cream (10%) poured on top. Decadent!Catherine Scott
Oooh, that’s sounds heavenly!
Adding vanilla pudding over the top while hot makes it delicious, using the cooked pudding not the instant
Old family recipes are the best… they are always a hit at parties!
This is such a perfect holiday dessert!
A family recipe, over 50 years old?!? Oh my gosh – that’s awesome! And I can see why it’s such a treasure, and why you’re so thrilled to finally try it … and (lucky us!) to share it! Just looking at your gorgeous pics, it’s easy to see how light and fluffy yet rich and comforting it is! So wonderful! Just perfect for Chrismakkuh!! 😀
I love gingerbread, this looks great!
This gingerbread cake is perfect for the holidays!!