The perfect gingerbread cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting
We have a few things on our bucket list. A food tour through Tuscany is one. Front row seats to Fashion Week in Paris is another. Unlimited and uninterrupted time to invest in making the most magical and intricate gingerbread house in the days before Christmas is another. Tuscany and Paris may be harder to pull off, but a gingerbread house? Come on! Surely we should be able to manage that at some point.
Until then, we’ll be satisfied with baking ginger flavoured cookies and gingerbread cakes, like this one. The combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses in our gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting makes the entire house smell like Christmas, so maybe we do have a gingerbread house after all – and we live in it!
Use fancy molasses for your gingerbread cake.
Molasses is a thick dark syrup which is a by-product of making sugar. Molasses can be either sulphured or unsulphured (the latter is usually what you will find in the grocery store), and light or dark (the darker the molasses, the stronger the flavour). You may also come across blackstrap molasses – although actually full of nutrients, blackstrap molasses has a very intense and is not recommended for this recipe.
For this gingerbread cake we used unsulphured Fancy molasses (which may also be called Gold Star molasses). Fancy molasses is the highest grade of molasses available, and this cake is definitely worth it!
What is the best way to measure out molasses?
The easiest way to measure out sticky ingredients (like molasses or honey or corn syrup) is to lightly grease your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray. This light coating of oil allows the molasses or honey to slip easily out of the measuring instrument into your bowl.
Do not use low fat cream cheese for your frosting.
Low fat cream cheese will impact the texture of your frosting, and you may end up using more icing sugar to thicken it up to your likeness – causing your frosting to be too sweet. We much prefer using regular cream cheese for our frosting.
Make gingerbread muffins with cream cheese frosting
This recipe can easily be made into 12 – 15 regular sized muffins. Simply adjust the cooking time. Muffins will take approximately 15 – 18 minutes to bake.
Looking for more recipes with molasses? Check these out:
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Gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting
- 9 x 13 inch cake pan
- Stand mixer or hand held mixer
- ½ cup (100 grams) brown sugar
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 egg, large
- 2½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) molasses
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- cooking spray for greasing pan
For cream cheese frosting
- 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, straight from fridge
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) butter, softened
- 2½ cups (325 grams) icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease the bottom and sides of your baking pan and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment beat together the sugar, butter and egg at medium speed for 7 minutes.½ cup (100 grams) brown sugar, ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, 1 egg, large
- Meanwhile, in another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and salt.2½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour, 1½ tsp cinnamon, 1½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp ginger, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp nutmeg
- Add the molasses to the contents in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until well combined. With the speed on low slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix only until combined (you don't see any more white flour).1 cup (250 mL) molasses
- With the mixer set to the lowest speed, drizzle in the water. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and mix again until you have a uniformly smooth batter.1 cup (250 mL) water
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared baking pan and bake in the middle rack of your oven for approximately 30 - 40 minutes. You will know your cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow your cake to cool in your pan, or transfer it to a cooling rack.
For the cream cheese frosting
- While your cake is baking prepare your frosting. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, straight from fridge, ⅓ cup (75 grams) butter, softened
- Sift in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, and beat well after each addition.2½ cups (325 grams) icing sugar
- Continue to add icing sugar until you have a frosting consistency that you like.
- Once your cake is completely cooled, top it with the frosting. Decorate your cake if you like - we enjoy making reindeer out of pretzels, chocolate chips and mini candy coated chocolate.