My gingerbread cake takes one of our favorite holiday staples, gingerbread, and turns it into a moist, velvety cake that's the perfect finishing touch to a festive meal. Brimming with lots of aromatic ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, and sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, my gingerbread cake recipe is then glazed with a rich, vanilla sour cream icing!
A Festive Cake Filled with the Flavors of Gingerbread
The holiday season just wouldn't be complete without a sweet dessert that fills the kitchen with the fragrance of warm spices and buttery aroma.
Of course, gingerbread loaf and gingerbread cookies are a favorite goody to prepare this time of year, brimming with abundant spices and molasses, which many of us find irresistible to indulge in.
And seeing as I myself was really craving some warming spices when it came to this year's holiday dessert, I got to thinking that creating a moist, velvety and decadent gingerbread cake would be a fantastic and whimsical way to go.
It's a delicious little “twist” on the traditional way we're used to enjoying gingerbread!
Filled with dark, earthy molasses, brown sugar, loads of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, plus melted butter and rich buttermilk, my gingerbread cake recipe gets a sweet finishing drizzle of thick sour cream icing kissed with fragrant vanilla.
Sure, it's a bit more decadent than the traditional dusting of powdered sugar atop of gingerbread but hey, tis' the holidays and the season to go a little over the top!
My Recipe for Gingerbread Cake
While I enjoy classic gingerbread, for this gingerbread cake I was looking to create more of a velvety texture and a moist, delicious crumb.
For this, I'm using a combo of oil and melted butter as fats, some buttermilk for tenderness, a couple of eggs plus a yolk, and all-purpose flour.
I'm also using equal parts molasses and brown sugar to create that deep, dark sweetness we love in classic gingerbread, plus generous spoonfuls of warming cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and ground cloves for that spicy flavor.
And because I like to keep the preparation and decorating simple, I like to use a bundt pan to bake this gingerbread cake in rather than multiple cake tins for layer cake (though you can certainly do that).
This way, I don't have to worry about spending time trimming the cake layers so they're perfectly even, or meticulously frosting the cake!
For the sweet topping, I like to keep it simple with a thick, rich vanilla sour cream icing to drizzle over the cooled gingerbread cake, which compliments its spicy flavors.
This ends up looking a little like a snowy roof top, and I even like to add some sparkly sprinkles or sanding sugar for added flourish and wintery sparkle!
Here's a sneak peek at my gingerbread cake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I whisk together my dry ingredients.
- Next, I whisk together my molasses, brown sugar, along with my fats. I then whisk in my eggs and vanilla, followed by my buttermilk.
- Then, I add my dry ingredients to these wet ingredients, and fold together just until the batter is combined.
- I bake the gingerbread cake in my prepared bundt pan, then allow it to cool for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to completely cool.
- In the meantime, I prepare my vanilla sour cream icing, then drizzle this thickly over the cooled cake and decorate with wintery, sparkly sprinkles, if desired.
by Ingrid Beer
This moist, velvety gingerbread cake is a decadent take on a classic holiday treat, drizzled with a thick, rich, vanilla sour cream icing!
Yield: Serves 12
Nutrition Info: 477 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Gingerbread Cake Ingredients:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup traditional molasses
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup unsalted, melted butter
- 2 large whole eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
Vanilla Sour Cream Icing Ingredients:
- 5 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
- To begin, gather and prep your cake ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have them ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly spray a 12-cup bundt cake pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves, and set these dry ingredients aside for a moment.
- In a larger bowl, add the molasses, dark brown sugar, oil and melted butter, and whisk together for a couple of moments as best as possible (the oil will separate, which is normal).
- Then, add in your two whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, along with the vanilla extract, and whisk those in until the mixture emulsifies a bit more and comes together. Next, add in the buttermilk and whisk that in to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and switching to a rubber spatula now, fold those in until the cake batter is well combined and fairly smooth (a few small lumps is OK), taking care not to over work or over mix the batter so that it stays light.
- Pour the batter into your prepared bundt pan, and bake the cake for about 44 to 45 minutes (turning the cake halfway through for even baking), or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the mean time, gather and prep your vanilla sour cream icing ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the icing, add the sour cream to a medium-large bowl, and lightly whisk in the vanilla just to combine. Begin adding ½ cup increments of the powdered sugar at a time, whisking in each addition until smooth, and all the sugar is used. (The finished icing should be quite thick, as this is what will help it to slowly cascade and stick to the cake.)
- To glaze the gingerbread cake, slowly pour the icing all over the top of the cake (I like to put mine into a glass, 2-cup measuring cup for easier pouring), allowing it to slowly cascade down the sides and center, until all of the icing is used up.
- Allow the icing to set completely, then slice and serve the cake.
Tips & Tidbits for my Gingerbread Cake recipe:
- 12 cup bundt cake pan: I love my USA Pan 12-cup bundt pan (fantastic quality and non-stick surface), but any bundt cake pan of this capacity will work (if using a darker bundt pan, check the doneness of the cake a few minutes sooner). This allows ample room for the cake batter, as it will rise while baking, then settle a little bit once out of the oven.
- Best type of molasses to use for gingerbread cake: When purchasing molasses for this recipe, opt for unsulfured, single-boil (traditional) molasses which you can easily find in the markets (“Grandma's” brand is a good one). Make sure you do not use black strap molasses, which is triple-boiled, and quite bitter and strong. This will make your gingerbread cake bitter.
- Combination of oil and butter for moist texture: To make this cake very moist yet flavorful, I'm using a combination of vegetable oil and a small amount of melted butter, which offers nice aroma. The oil has more fat than butter, and yields a very moist-crumbed cake, perfect for this spicy gingerbread cake.
- Fresh spices: For the most amount of spicy flavor, make sure you are using fresh spices. If your spices have been sitting on the shelf for over 6 months, they start to lose their potency and their aroma.
- Prepare the gingerbread cake ahead: If I'm looking to save some time, I often prepare my cake the evening before I plan on serving it, and allow it to completely cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. A few hours before I plan to serve it, I prepare my icing and drizzle it over the cake to allow it to set up before slicing and serving.
Craving more sweet and cozy desserts fit for the holidays? Check this Winter Snow Flurry Cake, this Cherry Almond Winter Cake, this Creme Brulee, this Chocolate Bark, this Cranberry Tart, this Olive Oil Cake, these Chocolate Truffles, or this creamy Rice Pudding!