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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.
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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.
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 , 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.
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
More Gingerbread Recipes to Try
- 2 Minute Gingerbread Mug Cake
- Spicy Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Gingerbread Latte: At Home
- Gingerbread Cookies: German Inspired
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Gingerbread Loaf Cake
- Anniversary Loaf Pan or 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan or square baking pan
- 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
- 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.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.