Gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting – updated

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This afternoon while the light was bright and the wind was brittle, I went for a small walk around the neighbourhood and it started snowing. Just a few, dusty flakes, and not the first snowfall of its kind, but it still stirred in me that childlike excitement at the prospect of the first real snow. Now, I know November’s not everyone’s favourite month, with the wind beginning to sting, and more often than not a slate-coloured sky, but let’s agree that it too has its moments.

Besides, the weather’s the perfect excuse to start making gingerbread. And I’m not referring to the tooth-breaking cookie kind, either. Oh, no. I’m talking about an earthy, sweet, molasses cake that will melt your heart when you smell it baking in the oven. Honestly, this gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting is nothing short of perfection — and it’s highly adaptable from the most casual to the most formal occasions.



Gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 1 8-inch square or 9-inch round single layer cake

Serving Size: 6-8

This recipe is for an 8-inch square or 9-inch round single layer cake. For instructions on how to make it a layer cake (as shown in the photos) or a bundt cake, see the notes below.


    For the cake
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup boiling (or very hot) water
  • 1/2 cup canola/sunflower/safflower oil
  • (Optional) For the lemon glaze:
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs icing sugar/maple syrup/honey
  • (Optional) for the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1/2 block (125g) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-3 cups of sifted icing sugar
  • pinch of salt


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and generously grease and flour your 8- or 9-inch baking pan + line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the egg and molasses, and mix well.
  4. Pour the hot water and oil over the batter, and stir until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into your prepared pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. For the lemon glaze (optional)
  7. Whisk the lemon juice and sweetener together in a bowl and brush over the cake while still warm. This will give the cake a delicious stickiness akin to an English-style 'pudding' cake.
  8. For the cream cheese frosting (optional)
  9. Beat together the room temperature cream cheese and butter, as well as the lemon zest, until fluffy and light. With your mixer on low speed, add 1 cup of the sifted icing sugar. Continue adding sugar in 1/2 cup increments until you reach your desired frosting consistency -- a little on the soft side is nice if you are just topping a single-layer cake, and on the stiffer side is better for frosting a multi-layered cake (see notes below).
  10. Beat frosting together until smooth, then slather across the top of the cake after it has fully cooled.

*To make this recipe in a bundt or tube pan, double the amount of cake batter and bake for longer -- roughly 45-50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. If desired, you can add the lemon glaze to the bottom of the cake while it cools in the pan.

*To make this recipe a two-layer cake, double the batter amount above and divide into two greased + floured + lined 9-inch round pans. Skip the glaze and double the frosting recipe as well, adding enough sugar for a stiffer consistency to support the cake. The frosting should be enough to frost a cake with 'naked' sides, but if you want to frost it fully, I'd quadruple the frosting recipe.

With love,





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8 Responses to “Gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting – updated”

  1. Julia November 26, 2016 at 5:43 AM #

    This cake looks simple stunning! Looking at the ingredients, I am sure it is equally delicious!

  2. Maureen March 3, 2014 at 2:16 PM #

    Do you know, I made this recipe as muffins yesterday and realized that it’s very dangerous to have a grab-and-go version of something so addictive. There are only 4 of the 12 muffins left. Make that 3.

    • onetoughcookie March 3, 2014 at 10:16 PM #

      You should definitely take some to go at the VM premiere next week!

  3. Nanny Joan January 19, 2013 at 2:47 PM #

    I made this for our annual first night of Hannukah get together at the condo as it is made with oil and I thought it would be good with latkes. I served it with pink applesauce (mixed with pureed berries) instead of the rich icing and it was amazing. People are still talking about it and I refer them to your blog.

  4. Florence pape November 29, 2012 at 6:38 AM #

    I have made this fantastic cake, only I used a tube pan and the height of it was a thing of beauty. The taste still makes my mouth water.Do’t fail to try it!!

    • Alanna November 29, 2012 at 9:07 AM #

      Aw, Thanks. <3

  5. Maureen November 28, 2012 at 7:32 PM #

    Yes. This is the best thing that has happened today. I’m making this tomorrow!

    • Alanna November 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM #

      Your sister came over for brunch yesterday, and this is what we had for dessert!