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Gingerbread Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

I am totally in love with this gingerbread cake recipe with molasses cream cheese frosting. Loaded with cranberries and golden raisins this simple cake is perfect for the holidays. Very spicy, with ginger, black pepper and cinnamon, this incredible cake should be on your must make list!

I’ve never made a gingerbread cake before.

I’ve never made gingerbread men before.

In fact, ginger has never been high on my list except when I use it in Chinese food.

I have used ginger in holiday baking but I never baked traditional recipes and I can’t tell you why.

It was when I finally started listening to my family and it seemed that recipes with lots of spices really bowled them over.

Like these ginger cookies with molasses and cocoa.

And these ginger eggnog waffles.

So the other night when we had friends over I decided to make this decadent fruit stuffed cake with ginger. Oh my.

We were all glad I did. Bake the cake, that is!

Gingerbread Cake

This simple layer cake is not for the feint of heart.

Yes, it has lots of ginger-both dried and fresh. But it also has lots of fresh ground black pepper, too and Wowzers! That makes this moist cake sing.

Topped with a molasses cream cheese frosting this one layer cake is incredible.

If gingerbread is your thing, and even if you think it isn’t, I strongly encourage you to bake this cake.

Perfect for the holiday season, this cake is studded with golden raisins and dried cranberries.

Yes, you can change the dried fruit if you have other preferences.

How to Make a Gingerbread Cake:

Begin with a large bowl and gather all your dry ingredients. No electric mixer required.

This gingerbread cake recipe calls for 2 T of ground ginger. Sounds like a lot I know, but if you are jumping full speed ahead into this spice extravaganza, then don’t hold back.

You can use all dried ginger but I mixed in 1/2 T of fresh ginger from the tube or you could grate your own.

I love the stronger flavor that fresh ginger gives.

And yes, 1 t of freshly ground black pepper is called for and it is a great call!

Add in some ground cinnamon, too.

Baking powder helps give this cake with lots of ginger flavor, the lift that it needs-not baking soda.

Gingerbread Cake

Once your all purpose flour, and spices are mixed together to make your dry mixture, it’s time to combine with the molasses mixture.

Room temperature large eggs, melted unsalted butter, sugar and molasses make up the wet mixture.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, add in the dried fruit and an amazing cake is born.

Helpful Tips to Making Gingerbread Cake:

I always like to soak my raisins and cranberries in hot water to make them moist and plump.

Especially if you saw how dry dried fruit gets in Colorado!

Male sure to use unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap molasses because that will make your cake bitter.

No brown sugar in this cake, just regular sugar because the molasses gives that caramel flavor we all know and love!

Make sure to line your 9″ cake pan with parchment paper as this cake does tend to be on the sticky side.

Always bake in a preheated oven. You knew that, right?

Once it is removed from the oven, cool it on a wire rack. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick or cake tester in the center of the cake and make sure only a few moist crumbs cling to it.

While this glorious ginger cake is baking it’s time to prepare the molasses cream cheese frosting.

Honestly, everything goes better with cream cheese frosting with molasses in it!

Gingerbread Cake

A little room temperature butter, some cream cheese, a touch more molasses and powdered sugar and you are on your way to frosting heaven.

This is the kind of cake that I think benefits from cream cheese swirls of molasses icing.

Of course, you could skip the frosting and just spread the top of the cake with caramel sauce, plain whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, but this gingerbread cake recipe really deserves frosting!

Swirls of cream cheese frosting… Can you tell I’m a frosting lover?

Ginger bread cake is such a simple cake to make. No need for a mixer, though you could use a hand mixer to whip up the frosting. I used my immersion blender!

This dense holiday cake was the perfect dessert after a rich meal.

It easily serves eight and because it is so wonderfully rich with spice, a small slice goes a long way.

If you are lucky to have any left, just cover with plastic wrap and enjoy for a few days.

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful holiday and a Merry Christmas.

A little bit of spice and everything so nice!

Gingerbread Cake with Molasses

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Gingerbread Cake

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Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake

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  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 55 Minutes
  • Yield: 1 9" cake 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This gingerbread cake with molasses cream cheese frosting is dense and spicy. Loaded with raisins and cranberries, this is an easy holiday cake to make. And eat!


Units Scale

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

2 cups grams all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger

1/2 T fresh ginger or ginger from the tube

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup golden raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and drained

1/2 cup chopped cranberries

Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting

4 T room temperature cream cheese

2 T room temperature butter

1 T molasses

1 t vanilla extract

2 c powdered sugar

Pinch of ginger and cinnamon (optional)


Place a rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking powder, pepper and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together molasses, sugar and melted butter. Add eggs, and whisk well. Stir in raisins and cranberries.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the dry ingredients into wet ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. The batter will be stiff. Spread batter into prepared cake pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until a testing skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Run a knife along the edge of the cake, and, once cooled, transfer to a serving platter. Slice into wedges and frost if desired.


Combine softened butter and cream cheese and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy.

Stir in molasses and 1 t of vanilla.

Stir in powdered sugar and spices if you are using.  (If you prefer your frosting thicker, add more powdered sugar. If you prefer it thinner, add 1 T of milk.) I always sprinkle the powdered sugar into the bowl through a sieve to avoid lumps. You can also sift it if you have a sifter.


Originally found in the New York Times but modifications are from me.



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John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

This looks terrific! Perfect for the holidays. Speaking of which, have a great one. :-) See you next year.