Gingerbread Cake is rich, moist, and full of ginger flavor. This holiday classic is easy to whip up and will be a hit with your guests!

Slice of gingerbread cake and a glass of eggnog on a white plate

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make My Baking Addiction possible.

Do you have a collection of inherited cookbooks like my family? We have so many that belonged to my Nana.

Some of them are full of everything that was awful about food in the 50s (I’m looking at you, hot dog jello salad), and glorious about the following decades, like this Gingerbread Cake. 

When I’m missing my Nana or I’m stuck for a new recipe idea, I like to thumb through these old cookbooks for nostalgia and inspiration. 

They never seem to disappoint, I can tell you that much. 

What I want to know is, who actually ate that hot dog salad thing? Gross.

We usually make a big deal in our house about not yucking anyone else’s yums, but I draw the line at combining jello and meat products, sorry 1957. 

One thing that’s definitely yum for just about everyone is a cake like this one. It’s classic, and for good reason.

Gingerbread cake on a white surface with two slices cut out of it

CLASSIC GINGERBREAD CAKE RECIPE

This recipe has a bit of an interesting history.

While flipping through an old cookbook, a random handwritten notecard with a version of this recipe fell out.

At first, I thought it must be one of my Nana’s recipes. After all, she was famous for her holiday baking, making everything from pumpkin rolls to tins of peanut brittle every year.

Dry ingredients for gingerbread cake in a glass mixing bowl

When I asked my Aunt Debbie, though, she said that it wasn’t Nana’s handwriting. Nana and her coworkers used to swap recipes all the time, so we think it must have come from one of her work friends.

Well, I love gingerbread so I had to give it a try. I made a few tweaks and fell in love with this flavorful cake.

Bag of all-purpose flour in the foreground with gingerbread cake in the background

This recipe is definitely an old-school classic; there are variations of it available all over the internet, which tells me that many handwritten recipe cards must have been shared years ago.

To really play up the ginger flavor, I use two full teaspoons of ground ginger in this cake. I also will sometimes add chopped crystallized ginger to the batter, giving it a great texture as well as another hit of that spicy ginger.

Overhead view of gingerbread cake cooling on a wire rack

HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD CAKE

One of the most unusual things about this recipe is the addition of hot water at the very end.

To make this Gingerbread Cake, start by beating the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then adding the eggs, applesauce and molasses.

Gingerbread cake on a wire rack next to a bag of flour and spices

At this point the batter might look a little weird, almost curdled. Don’t freak out – it’ll come together in the end.

Then whisk together the dry ingredients – including Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour, baking soda and spices – and add them to the butter mixture.

Even during the holidays when we are eating more sweet treats than usual, I still like to reach for the highest-quality ingredients when I am cooking and baking for my family and friends. That includes using ingredients such as Organic All-Purpose Flour from Bob’s Red Mill.

Gingerbread cake on a marble surface with a bowl of whipped cream in the background

Bob’s Red Mill produces the very best in whole grain foods, including their flours. Their products are all-natural, organic ,and non-GMO and are the best in any recipe, from breakfast to dessert.

After the dry ingredients are added, stir in the hot water until the batter is smooth. Yes, after the dry ingredients!

Honestly, I don’t even know the why behind this step. All I know is it makes for an amazing moist texture in this cake, and that’s all I care about at the end of the day.

If you’re using the crystallized ginger, go ahead and fold it in before pouring the batter into a 9-inch cake pan. You can use a square pan or bake it in a springform pan to cut the final cake into wedges.

Slice of gingerbread cake topped with whipped cream next to a glass of eggnog

WHAT TO SERVE WITH GINGERBREAD CAKE

There are plenty of options when it comes to topping your Gingerbread Cake.

A dusting of powdered sugar is a simple and elegant way to go.

Glass of eggnog and a slice of gingerbread caked topped with whipped cream on a white plate

You can also serve it with homemade whipped cream or salted caramel sauce, or even eggnog ice cream!

If you’re feeling extra fancy, try making some sugared cranberries for a festive and delicious garnish.

No matter what you serve with this Gingerbread Cake, it’ll be a big hit with your guests!

whipped-cream-topped gingerbread cake on a white plate next to a glass of eggnog

whipped-cream-topped gingerbread cake on a white plate next to a glass of eggnog

Gingerbread Cake

Yield: 1 9-inch cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Gingerbread Cake is rich, moist, and full of ginger flavor. This holiday classic is easy to whip up and will be a hit with your guests!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
  • Whipped cream and caramel sauce for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan, or a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. If adding the crystallized ginger to the cake, toss the chopped ginger with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, applesauce, and molasses. The batter may appear to be slightly curdled, this is okay - it will come together.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. 
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the hot water until the batter is smooth and has an even consistency. If using, folding in the crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 55-65, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Allow cake to cool before serving with whipped cream, caramel sauce, or even eggnog ice cream!
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 269Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 36mgSodium 277mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 1gSugar 39gProtein 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on social! I want to see what you made! @jamiemba

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.