Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Icing with Christmas candy.
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5 from 1 vote

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.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas desserts, easy desserts
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 496kcal
Author: Sharon Rigsby

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup molasses unsulphured
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg large, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional garnishes or decorations:

  • Purchased gingerbread cookies and assorted Christmas candies

Instructions

Gingerbread Cake Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans, set aside.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a medium-size bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Add the hot water and molasses to a small bowl and whisk until they are combined. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat at medium speed until well combined.
  • 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.
  • Pour 1/2 of the batter into each cake pan.
  • Place the pans on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Optional, garnish with gingerbread cookies or Christmas candies or both! (I found the gingerbread cookies at Fresh Market.)

Notes

Tips:
  • 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 11x7 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.
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Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 900IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2.7mg