This gingerbread cake is a one layer gingerbread cake topped with cinnamon cream cheese icing. It is topped with gingerbread cookies. It is a delicious and easy cake for any holiday party.
This gingerbread cake has the perfect mix of warm spices for a delicious gingerbread cake. It is tender and moist cake, so you your guests will want to keep eating until it is all gone! The gingerbread cookies on top make it cute enough to stand out from the other holiday desserts!
Why This Gingerbread Cake Recipe Works
- Gingerbread flavor- This gingerbread cake has a delicious gingerbread flavor that tastes like the holiday season!
- Easy cake- This is an easy recipe for a one layer cake that won't take up your whole day during your busy holiday.
- Cinnamon frosting- The cinnamon cream cheese frosting is the perfect topping for gingerbread cake. You won't be able to put it down!
Ingredient Notes for Best Gingerbread Cake
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- This will be cooked into brown butter. If you decide not to brown it then pull it out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Buttermilk- Pull this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Powdered sugar- Make sure this is sifted to avoid gritty frosting.
- Cream cheese- Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Molasses- Make sure to use regular molasses not blackstrap as blackstrap molasses is more bitter.
- Dairy free- You can use your favorite dairy free options for this recipe!
- Gluten free- I haven't tested this gluten free. Let me know if you do.
- Buttermilk- You can also do 1 cup of milk with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.
Step By Step Instructions - Gingerbread Cake
Here is how to make and bake the cake layer for this gingerbread cake. You can use a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer.
STEP 1: Brown butter. Use a large frying pan to melt the butter for the cake and frosting on medium heat. Stir occasionally as it continues to cook until milk deposits form and turn amber. Separate it in half and let both batches cool.
STEP 2: Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, spray a 9X9 square baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again.
STEP 3: Dry ingredients. Mix the all purpose flour, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
STEP 4: Beat butter, oil, and sugar. Use a mixer and large bowl to beat the butter, oil, brown sugar, and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
STEP 5: Wet ingredients. Add the molasses and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. Mix it in on medium speed. Then, add the eggs and mix on medium speed until smooth.
STEP 6: Combine. Add ⅓ of the dry mixture and half of the buttermilk. Mix it in on low speed. Add ⅓ of the dry mixture and the second half of the buttermilk and mix again. Add the remaining dry mixture and mix in on low speed again.
STEP 7: Bake cake. Pour the cake batter in the prepared pan. Bake it for 37-40 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
STEP 8: Cool. Let the cake cool in the hot pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Step By Step Instructions - Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Here is how to make the cinnamon cream cheese frosting for the gingerbread cake.
STEP 1: Sift. Sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
STEP 2: Beat butter and cream cheese. Use a separate bowl and an electric mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 3 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
STEP 3: Mix. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix it in on low speed. Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar. Then, add the vanilla extract and mix it on high speed until creamy. Scrape the bowl again to fully incorporate everything.
STEP 4: Decorate. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
Optional: Decorate with gingerbread men.
Expert Baking Tips
- Properly measure the flour- Make sure the flour is spooned and leveled. If you stick the measuring cup directly into the flour, it will compact the flour. Compacted flour can cause the cake to be dry.
- To easily remove the cake from the pan, make sure to first spray the pan with baking nonstick spray. Then, line bottom with parchment paper and spray it again to make sure that the paper does not stick to the bottom of the cake too much. If you miss any spots with the spray they can stick and tear the cake so be thorough.
- For high altitudes add 2 tablespoon of flour to the cake batter.
Yes you can make the cake ahead of time! Once the cake layer is done cooling, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then, freeze up to 30 days. Pull it out 1 hour before decorating.
Yes you can. An 8X8 pan will make a thicker cake. A 9in round pan will also work, but will be slightly thicker than a 9 in square as well.
Yes it can! This recipe will make roughly 12 gingerbread cupcakes.
- No brown butter- If you do not want to make brown butter you can use room temperature regular butter instead.
- Extra cinnamon- If you really love cinnamon you can increase the cinnamon in the frosting to give a stronger flavor.
- 9X9 inch pan: I use metal square pans for baking. I don't recommend glass pans.
- Parchment paper: I use premade sheets of parchment paper vs the roll of parchment paper. It makes baking a lot easier!
- Baking spray: I use the nonstick spray that has flour in it.
- Offset spatula: I use this to easily spread the frosting or fillings.
Storing and Freezing
Store this gingerbread cake in an airtight container like a cake carrier. Store in the fridge up to 5 days.
You can freeze the gingerbread cake in individual slices. Place the cake slices in an airtight container and freeze up to 30 days.
Other Holiday Dessert Recipes To Try
Try these holiday recipes too!
- Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Pie Cookie Bars
- Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- 3 ⅓ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ¾ cup Unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon Oil canola or vegetable
- ¾ cup Brown sugar packed dark brown
- ½ cup White granulated sugar
- ½ cup Molasses Don't use blackstrap
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 3 Large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup Buttermilk room temperature
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup Unsalted butter
- 3 cups Powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- In a large frying pan, add both the butter for the cake, and the butter for frosting in the pan. Heat on medium heat, until butter melt. Then, occasionally stir until milk deposits form and it turns amber in color. Split the butter in half and cool completely.¾ cup Unsalted butter, ¾ cup Unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9X9-inch pan with baking nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spray again.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.3 ⅓ cups All-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon Ground ginger, 1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon Salt, 2 teaspoon Baking powder, ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- Using a mixer, beat the butter, oil, brown sugar, and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl using a rubber spatula.¾ cup Unsalted butter, 2 tablespoon Oil, ¾ cup Brown sugar, ½ cup White granulated sugar
- Add in molasses and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Scrape the bowl and add in the eggs. Mix on medium speed until smooth.½ cup Molasses, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 3 Large eggs
- Add ⅓rd of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk and mix on low speed. Add another ⅓rd of the dry ingredients and the rest of the buttermilk. Then, finish with the rest of the dry ingredients.½ cup Buttermilk
- Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 37-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake sit in the hot pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool the cake completely before decorating.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.3 cups Powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- Using a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl.4 oz Cream cheese, ¾ cup Unsalted butter
- Add in half of the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Repeat with the rest of the powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla and mix on high speed until creamy. Make sure to scrape the bowl so everything is mixed together.1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- Spread the frosting over the cake. Optional: Top with little gingerbread men.