Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Have you ever seen anything as sweet as this Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing? With powerful notes of spicy ginger, molasses, warm cinnamon, and cloves, this old-fashioned cake will fill you with nostalgia and memories of past Christmases.
Servings Prep Time
8servings 35minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25minutes 1hour
Servings Prep Time
8servings 35minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25minutes 1hour
Gingerbread Cake Ingredients:
  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4cup molassesunsulphured
  • 3/4cup hot water
  • 1/2cup unsalted butterat room temperature
  • 1/3cup dark brown sugarpacked
  • 1 egglarge, at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Icing:
  • 1/2cup unsalted butterat room temperature
  • 8oz cream cheeseat room temperature
  • 4cups confectioners sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Optional garnishes or decorations:
  • Purchased gingerbread cookies and assorted Christmas candies
Gingerbread Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans, set aside.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a medium-size bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Add the hot water and molasses to a small bowl and whisk until they are combined. Set aside.
  5. Add the butter to a large bowl and using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until it is light and creamy. This should take about a minute.
  6. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  7. Add the egg and vanilla and beat at medium speed until well combined.
  8. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the dry ingredients, about 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, alternating with adding about 1/2 of the molasses mixture. Mix each addition, just until it is combined. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Avoid overmixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  9. Pour 1/2 of the batter into each cake pan.
  10. Place the pans on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  11. Bake approximately 25 minutes. To test to see if the cake is done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, it is done. (Unfortunately, all ovens’ cook differently. My cakes were done in 25 minutes. Start checking your cakes at 20 minutes, and if they aren’t done, you might have to add 5-7 minutes to the baking time.
  12. Set the cake pans on a wire rack to cool. Do not attempt to frost the cakes until they are completely cool.
Cream Cheese Icing Directions:
  1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the mixture is creamy with no lumps.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, a cup at a time and continue to mix until everything is well combined. Add the vanilla and mix on high for about a minute to make the icing light and creamy.
Assembling the Cake:
  1. If you want a flat cake top, use a serrated bread knife to slice off the dome of the cake to make it perfectly flat.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of icing on a plate, to keep the cake from slipping. Then place the cake top down so you will have a nice flat surface for the first layer. Brush off any crumbs and use an ice-cream scoop to add about four scoops of icing to the top of the cake. Smooth the icing with an off-set spatula and allow the icing to extend over the sides about 1/2 of an inch.
  3. Repeat with the second layer of cake, and again add about four scoops of icing to the top. Smooth out the icing using the spatula and ice the sides of the cake.
  4. To give the cake the “naked” look, using a cake scraper or a long spatula held perpendicular to the cake, evenly scrape the icing away from the sides of the cake and even out the top.
  5. This icing-method is very forgiving. If you don’t like the way the icing looks, simply reapply the icing and either try again or ice it as you normally do.
  6. Optional, garnish with gingerbread cookies or Christmas candies or both! (I found the gingerbread cookies at Fresh Market.)
Recipe Notes


  • This Gingerbread Cake is also delicious without the icing.
  • If you want detailed instructions on icing your cake, check out this YouTube tutorial by Southern Living that will show you step-by-step how to ice a naked cake.
  • Here is another YouTube tutorial by Preppy Kitchen on how to make a flat cake without a dome that you might find interesting. Who knew there are such things as “cake strips?”
  • Cream cheese icing does need to be refrigerated, so you will need to store your cake in the refrigerator.
  • This recipe makes enough batter for two 6-inch cake pans or one 11×7 cake pan.
  • One of the secrets to great cakes is using room temperature ingredients. For refrigerated eggs, you can bring down the temperature quickly by putting them in warm water for a few minutes. For butter and cream cheese, simply unwrap and pop them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
  • If you like to make beautiful cakes, you might want to consider purchasing a cake turntable, offset spatula, and a cake scraper, or mention it to Santa. These handy tools will make it much easier to ice your cakes.
Nutrition Facts
Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 496 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3g
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 52mg 2%
Potassium 375mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 66g 22%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 37g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 18%
Vitamin C 0.1%
Calcium 5%
Iron 15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.