Best Homemade Gingerbread Cake

This best homemade gingerbread cake is just like the old-fashioned classic with the addition of fresh ginger in addition to the usual gingerbread ingredients. A sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar or a dollop of cinnamon-spiced whipped cream makes it even more irresistible.

Squares of best homemade gingerbread cake dusted with confectioners' sugar on a silver platter.

How often do we forget the memory of the joys of eating gingerbread warm from the oven as children? The baking cake would fill our house with the scent of exotic spices and make us salivate. It was torture to have to wait long enough for it to cool so it wouldn’t become a burning mass in our mouths. We couldn’t get enough whipped cream and would pile dollop after dollop on top of our fragrant warm brown squares before my mother would pull it away from us. Fresh ginger adds a pungent note to this sweet bread, much more so than using only powdered. This gingerbread also bakes beautifully in a small decorative pans such as a fancy Bundt.–Maria Helm Sinskey



Best Homemade Gingerbread Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 10
4.7/5 - 3 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Vineyard Kitchen cookbook

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  • For the gingerbread
  • For the soft whipped cream (optional)


Make the gingerbread

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter and lightly flour a square 9-by-9-by-3-inch (23-by-23-by-8-cm) cake pan or a 10-inch (25-cm) round cake pan.

Tester tip: Avoid using a dark-colored pan. It browns the sides and bottom of the cake too much.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the grated ginger and beat well for 15 seconds. Add the eggs, 1 at a time one, beating well after each addition.

Tester tip: Grate the ginger on the fine side of a grater and try to leave most of the fibers behind when taking away the juice and the pulp.

In a small bowl, whisk together the molasses and buttermilk. Add the flour and molasses mixtures to the butter mixture in 2 additions each, beating after each addition just until the ingredients are combined before adding the next.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes. If desired, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely.

Make the soft whipped cream (optional)

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, if using, and vanilla, until softly mounded. Place a dollop on top of each serving of cake.

Serve the gingerbread

Sprinkle the cake with confectioners’ sugar or serve with a generous dollop of soft cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Originally published September 1, 2003.

Print RecipeBuy the The Vineyard Kitchen cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Hands-down one of the best gingerbread recipes I've ever tasted. This is the sort of recipe that will please everyone around your holiday table and will be requested year after year, guaranteed! This homemade gingerbread cake is so tasty I wonder why we need to wait until holiday time to make it?!

I love this sort of recipe because if you have a well-stocked pantry, you most likely already have all of the ingredients on hand. Not only is the fragrant combination of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves perfect in this batter, the moist crumb of the cake (thanks to the buttermilk, baking soda, and powder) is unlike any other gingerbread I've ever tasted. I think of a traditional gingerbread as a dense-ish cake, but this cake's crumb is pillowy and super moist. I will be dog-earring this recipe to make again when family comes to town in December!

I did add the confectioners' sugar to the whipped cream. I left my butter out on the counter for about 4 hours so that it was truly at room temperature when I needed it and that made the creaming process go smoothly and quickly. As for grating the ginger, I find the best way to grate fresh ginger root is with a microplane grater.

Lovely served with a soft, vanilla-scented whipped cream. I can also see this fragrant cake being lovely with vanilla ice cream or even a warm crème anglaise. I made it in a 9x9-inch cake pan and it easily serves 10 people.

Usually when I bring a cake to work, I take a few slices home at the end of the day. Not this time. This gingerbread cake was gone, not even a crumb left, after only a few hours. Needless to say, it’s good. The flavor is crazy gingery, the cake is tender and moist, and the recipe is easy to make. That’s a win in my book.

It’s intensely gingery the day it’s baked and mellows as it sits. Neither is better and neither is worse. It’s all delicious. The other spices are there, too, so no worries about a one-trick pony here. I skipped the whipped cream part (I’m lactose intolerant and didn’t want the temptation or the stomach ache) and the cake is delicious on its own.

I baked the ginger cake in a 9-inch-square pan and it was perfectly baked in 45 minutes. The suggested timings are correct. A sensible person could get up to 16 servings from this cake, but 9 seems more realistic.


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  1. Terrific – very “un- molassey “ as opposed to one I grew up eating with lighter texture as well. Everyone enjoyed

    1. That’s wonderful, Janet! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know.

  2. This is a very nice gingerbread cake! It was easy to make and really tasty. The addition of fresh ginger was nice. I think next time I might add some chopped candied ginger as well. The only problem I had with it was of my own making: I cut the recipe in half and used a 9×5 pyrex pan to bake it in. Well, the sides weren’t very high and the cake overflowed a bit. Next time I will use a loaf pan with higher sides to make a half recipe.

    1. Thanks, Amy! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know how it turned out for you.

    1. Good question, Debbie. May I ask what altitude you are at? I have successfully baked this cake at 3100 feet with no modifications, but much higher than that may require some adjustments. Typically, you’d want to decrease the baking powder slightly, perhaps to 1 3/4 teaspoons in this recipe, and increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Also, you can add an extra 1 tablespoon of buttermilk to your batter. Take care to not overfill your pan so that it doesn’t overflow. Do let us know how it turns out.

    1. We haven’t tried this, so we can’t say for certain, but I think it would work fine, Lee. The only thing that you need to watch is that they may give off some extra moisture as they bake, so your cooking time may be a little longer. If you try it, do let us know how it turns out.

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