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Easy Gingerbread Loaf Cake

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This easy-to-make Gingerbread Loaf Cake is a timeless, classic recipe for a dense, soft, richly flavored treat. Filled with molasses, brown sugar, and cozy, warm spices, every bite of this moist and tender cake will remind you of holiday flavors and wintery days.

Top view of unsliced Gingerbread Loaf Cake on a white lace serving dish with powdered sugar, cranberries, and mint leaves.

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Recipe

Much like our favorite Gingerbread Cookies, this old-fashioned gingerbread cake is a holiday staple my family has been making for years… with a few tweaks along the way. It’s easy to make, robust in flavor, and perfect for serving guests at the holiday table or an evening curled up by the fire watching Christmas movies.

Top view of plain Gingerbread Loaf on a white scalloped serving dish.

Gingerbread Loaf Ingredients

These simple ingredients will make the most wonderful, moist, and tender gingerbread cake spiced with the flavors of the season. Measurements are in the recipe card below, but here is a list of what is needed:

  • All-purpose flour is the base for this simple gingerbread cake.
  • Brown sugar: Use whichever brown sugar you have in the pantry; my preference in this recipe is dark brown sugar. While mostly interchangeable, the difference between dark brown sugar and light brown sugar is the amount of molasses. Dark brown sugar will give you a slightly more robust flavor and will lend a darker color to the gingerbread.
  • Unsalted butter softened to room temperature. If using salted butter, reduce salt slightly.
  • Molasses: while you can use Blackstrap molasses, I prefer a milder flavor and am using the brand “Mothers” in this recipe.
  • Baking soda for leavening
  • Seasoning and Spices: Ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, a dash of cloves, salt and freshly ground black pepper for that gingerbread flavor we love.
  • Large egg for stability.

Kitchen Tools for Making Gingerbread

This gingerbread recipe is easy to make with very little tools needed. While I’m baking this in an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 nonstick loaf pan, you can also make it in a 9 x 9-inch square pan (affiliate link), making it versatile and easy.

Here’s what you need:

  • Electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) to cream the butter and sugar
  • Mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer)
  • 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 Loaf Pan: I’m using a Nordic Ware nonstick Anniversary Loaf Pan that looks exceptionally pretty for the holidays or teatime throughout the year. (You can find it at Amazon or Williams-Sonoma.)

For more kitchen tool ideas (which make thoughtful gifts, by the way), see my Kitchen Master List.

Closeup side view of unsliced Gingerbread Loaf Cake on a white lace serving dish with powdered sugar, cranberries, and mint leaves.

How to Make Gingerbread Loaf Cake

Step-by-step instructions are also in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Begin by preheating the oven to 325℉ and coat an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

Step 1: Cream the wet ingredients

Cream the butter and sugar together and stir in the molasses and egg until well blended.

Step 2: Add the dry ingredients

Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, freshly ground black pepper and salt; stir until completely combined. Then, stir in the hot water until the batter is smooth and combined.

Step 3: Bake the gingerbread

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

How to Decorate the Gingerbread Cake

One of the reasons I love this loaf pan (or a bundt pan) is that it brings a beautiful texture to the cake with little need for decorations or toppings.

For a Christmasy feel, I love a simple dusting of powdered sugar along with a grouping of fresh cranberries and mint leaves. But you could also coat the top of the cake with freshly whipped cream or a vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Glaze Recipe:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water (to keep it shelf staple)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Side view of sliced Gingerbread Loaf Cake on a white serving dish with a red and white linen beside it.

More Gingerbread Recipes to Try

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Gingerbread Loaf Cake

This easy Gingerbread Loaf Cake is a timeless classic recipe of dense, soft, richly flavored cake where every bite tastes like the holidays.
4.3 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup hot water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325℉ and coat an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar together and stir in the molasses and egg until well blended.
  • Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper and salt; stir until well completely combined. Stir in the hot water until the batter is smooth and combined.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 457mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 260IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gingerbread, gingerbread cake

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