This moist Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for the holidays. It’s packed with cozy favors like ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar, and molasses.

slice of Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on white plate

Easy Christmas Dessert Recipe

When it comes to the holidays, Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Most years it’s the only time everyone in my family is in the same place. So spending time at my parents’ house means the holidays are filled with love and laughter.

Christmas is also my favorite time to bake. Not only are there so many delicious holiday treats, but — more importantly — I love spending time in the kitchen with my mom and sisters. It’s the perfect place to catch up, reminisce, and maybe burn a batch of cookies. (Am I the only one who does that????).

So for today I’m sharing this gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s moist, deliciously dense, and has the most delicious gingerbread flavor. The cream cheese frosting isn’t too sweet. I decorated mine with cranberries and mint leaves to make it a little more festive.

slice of Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting topped with fresh cranberries and mint leaves

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients

This easy Christmas dessert requires few ingredients, many of which are the classic gingerbread spices. For the gingerbread cake itself, you’ll need:

  • Molasses
  • Boiling water
  • All-purpose flour
  • Spices
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs

And for the homemade cream cheese frosting, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream 

homemade cream cheese frosting meant for gingerbread cake

How to Make Gingerbread Cake

This gingerbread cake recipe is really straightforward to make. Here’s the basic rundown of how to make this festive ginger cake: 

  1. First we stir together the molasses with hot water — if you miss this step, the molasses is too thick and won’t mix evenly into the batter.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves). The warm spices add so much flavor! 
  3. Beat together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Using oil makes the cake extra moist, then the brown sugar gives a delicious caramel flavor.
  4. Finally, the dry ingredients and molasses are mixed in, and it’s time to bake.
  5. The cake will bake for about 35 minutes, but I always start checking just a little early to be sure.
  6. Once the gingerbread cake has cooled, frost with homemade cream cheese frosting.

How Long Will Gingerbread Cake Keep?

This gingerbread cake will keep well in an airtight container for several days, if not longer. In fact, a ginger cake is often at its best a few days after baking!

What’s the Best Molasses for Gingerbread Cake?

Any molasses besides blackstrap molasses will work in this gingerbread cake recipe. Blackstrap is too bitter to be used in this cake. 

Can I Bake This Recipe as Cupcakes? 

Most definitely! Use cupcake liners and check the gingerbread cupcakes after 18 minutes to see how they’re doing. 

two slices of Gingerbread Cake on white plates

Tips for Making Gingerbread Cake

For a super smooth cream cheese frosting, make sure the butter and cream cheese are warmed to room temperature first. Also, make sure you’re using brick-style cream cheese and not the whipped or low-fat kind. You need full-fat, brick-style cream cheese to make the perfect cream cheese frosting. 

To measure the molasses more easily, I recommend spraying your measuring cup with non-stick spray before pouring the molasses into it. It makes the clean-up a breeze too! 

For a little more holiday cheer, you can decorate with cranberries and mint leaves like I did in the photographs. Or a few festive sprinkles look so pretty too! 

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Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.05 from 20 votes
Servings: 15 -18 pieces
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes


This moist Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for the holidays. It’s packed with cozy favors like ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar, and molasses.


Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 Cup Molasses*
  • 3/4 Cup Boiling Water
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Ground Ginger, use 3 tsp for a stronger ginger flavor
  • 2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil, canola works too
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 8 Ounces Brick-Style Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 - 3.5 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cream, as needed
  • Fresh Cranberries and Mint Leaves for Decoration, (optional)


Gingerbread Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large measuring cup, gently stir together the molasses & boiling water.
    1 Cup Molasses*, 3/4 Cup Boiling Water
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda and salt.
    3 Cups All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Ground Ginger, 2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves, 2 teaspoon Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Using an electric mixer beat together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla until evenly combined.
    3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil, 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 2 Large Eggs
  • Then with the mixer on low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by about 1/3 of the hot water & molasses. Repeat until all the flour & molasses are mixed in. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-37 minutes, or until the top is set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until evenly combined.
    1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, 8 Ounces Brick-Style Cream Cheese
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Beat in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time until the desired sweetness level is reached. Then beat in 1-2 tablespoons of cream as needed. If the mixture is thin, you may not need to add any cream.
    3 - 3.5 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1-2 Tablespoons Cream
  • Frost the cooled cake. Then optionally decorate with cranberries and mint leaves.
    Fresh Cranberries and Mint Leaves for Decoration


  • *I don't recommend blackstrap because the flavor is too strong.
  • This cake is also a great recipe to make ahead. You can bake the cake and let it cool. Then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. The night before you'd like to serve, thaw the cake in the fridge. Then, frost the next day.


Serving: 1gCalories: 522kcalCarbohydrates: 100gProtein: 4gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 334mgPotassium: 409mgFiber: 1gSugar: 79gVitamin A: 439IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 3mg
Author: Fiona
Course: Easy Cake Recipes For Beginners, Over 300 Christmas Recipes and Ideas to Bring the Christmas Spirit
Cuisine: American

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gingerbread cake recipe