This classic Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect holiday dessert. It will remind you the time-honored gingerbread cake that grandma made. This delectable cake is bursting with flavor from molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Elegant enough for your holiday meal yet simple enough for your office potluck.
Are the holidays keeping you super busy? It seems like right after Halloween things really begin to ramp up. It really feels like run Rudolph run from then until after the New Year. Are you invited to several holiday parties or have you been asked to bring something for a potluck? This scrumptious Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is quick to come together, delicious and pretty with its silky cream cheese frosting. In a hurry? Bake the cake one day and frost it the following day.
What is molasses?
Molasses is the dark, sweet syrupy by product from refining sugar beets or sugar cane into sugar. It is a different type of sweetener that is often used to produce a certain type of flavor. Just as honey produces a different taste than sugar so does molasses. It is next to impossible to describe the taste of molasses but you will know it when you smell and love it when you mix it in this cake batter.
What type of molasses should I use for Gingerbread Cake?
Unsulphured versus Sulphured
Unsulphured molasses has the best flavor and is the best for baking. It is made from sun ripened cane that has been allowed to ripen naturally. It has a naturally sweet flavor and is the preferred choice for baking
Sulphured molasses is made from immature green cane that has not been allowed to fully ripen. That cane is then treated with sulfur fumes during the sugar extracting process. This molasses is less sweet and you may put off a slight chemical taste.
Light, Dark or Blackstrap Molasses?
Light molasses is made from the first boiling of the sugar beets or sugar cane. It is the type of molasses most commonly sold in grocery stores and used for baking. It is the most sweet of the three and helps make your gingerbread cookies and cakes softer.
Dark molasses is made from the second boiling of the sugar beets or sugar cane. Stronger in flavor, thicker, darker and less sweet it is sometimes referred to as robust molasses. It is more difficult to find and is perfect in something with more pep like gingersnaps.
Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling of the sugar beets or sugar cane. It is the least sweet molasses with a somewhat bitter taste. Much darker in color and thickest it should only be used in recipes calling for it and should not be substituted for light or dark molasses. It is better in savory dishes like glazed ham, barbecue sauce and baked beans.
To sum it all up use unsulphured light molasses for this Gingerbread Cake which fortunately is the most common type found on your grocery store shelf.
How do you make Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting?
First in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Now set that aside for just a few minutes.
Then cream together the brown sugar and butter. When that is all creamy stir in the egg, molasses and applesauce. Next blend the dry mixture into the molasses mixture working in intervals. Stir in the hot water Pour into a well greased floured pan and bake. Completely cool the cake before frosting.
Finally beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in a pinch of salt and the vanilla. Add powdered sugar in four intervals mixing well between each interval. Frost the cooled cake and store leftovers in refrigerator.
Helpful hints to make this Gingerbread Cake Recipe amazing!
- Grease and flour your pan well. I use Baker’s Joy spray which combines baking spray with flour.
- Preheat your oven and load the cake in the center of the oven.
- Use unsulphured light molasses. This molasses works best in this recipe.
- I use my mixer to cream the butter and the sugar for the cake and for the entire frosting recipe. However the rest of the cake I stir together by hand.
- Check the cake at forty minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean remove the cake from the oven.
- Allow the cake to fully cool before frosting therefore move it away from the hot oven and place on a cooking rack so the cooler air will flow underneath.
Other cakes that you will love!
- Quick and Easy Chocolate Cherry Cake
- Easy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe
Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect holiday dessert. It will remind you the time-honored gingerbread cake that grandma made.
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: cake
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup hot water
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 box (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
- 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8×11 inch baking dish.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg; set aside.
- Using mixer cream brown sugar and butter. Stir in egg, molasses and applesauce. Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture in four intervals; stirring just until combined after each interval. Stir in hot water and mix just until combined. Pour in baking dish.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in salt and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 4 intervals mixing well between each interval. Frost cooled cake and store leftovers in refrigerator.
Keywords: gingerbread cake, gingerbread, cake, holiday cake, Christmas cake, Christmas dessert, holiday dessert, gingerbread recipe