Gingerbread Cake Recipe

A piece of four layer gingerbread cake frosted with a cream cheese icing sits on a white plate. Gingerbread cake is blurred in the background.

5 from 4 reviews

This Gingerbread Cake Recipe is kissed with the warm spices of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Dark rum and molasses are what give this moist cake its rich, robust flavor. A surprise treat is candied ginger bits that are scattered throughout the batter. A classic holiday dessert topped with cream cheese frosting that is sure to please your guests during Christmastime get-togethers.



Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 cup Dark Rum
  • 1 1/3 cup Fancy-Grade Molasses
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup chopped Candied Ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 - 8 oz packages Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup Butter (softened)
  • 6 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg, to taste
  • Store-bought Gingersnap cookies, for decoration


For the Gingerbread  Cake:

  • Whisk one cup dark rum and 1 1/3 cup fancy-grade molasses in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and slowly whisk in 2 teaspoons baking soda, one teaspoon at a time. The liquid will foam up. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • In a medium bowl, combine 6 large eggs (room temperature), 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature), 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 cup canola oil. Whisk until smooth.
  • Whisk in the rum and molasses mixture.
  • Gradually and gently fold the wet mixture into the dry until everything is combined
  • Gently fold in 1 cup chopped candied ginger.
  • Pour the batter into prepared round pans to 3/4 full.
  • Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven. Set aside for 10 minutes and turn the cakes over onto wire racks. Let them cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Icing

  • Using a hand mixer, beat 2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese (softened), and 1 cup butter (softened) until light and fluffy.
  • Add 6 cups of powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time until smooth.
  • Add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and ground nutmeg (to taste) while continuing to beat the frosting.

Assembling the Cake

  • When cutting the cakes, it works great to use a lazy susan or a cake turntable. Cut off the domed part of the top of both cakes with a long serrated bread knife and discard.
  • Measure halfway up each round cake and cut horizontally through the middle until completely separated.
  • Layer the bottom cake section onto a cake plate and frost with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Continue with each section but not the top layer.
  • When you get to the last layer, create a crumb barrier by frosting the entire cake with a thin layer of icing.
  • Set the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the freezer and frost the top and the sides with an offset spatula as you turn the lazy susan to get a perfectly smooth surface.
  • Optional - Place gingersnap cookies around the bottom portion of the cake and one cookie in the middle on top. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs around the top edge of the cake.


  • Use fancy or unsulfured molasse instead of the blackstrap kind. Blackstrap is too stout and will overpower the other ingredients.
  • Start with room-temperature buttermilk and eggs. Pull these two ingredients out of the fridge about 30 minutes before starting.
  • If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own. Add one tablespoon of vinegar into a cup measurer. Fill the cup with whole milk and gently stir. Let it set for 10 minutes. Another substitute is 3/4 cup of sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup of whole milk.
  • Be careful to not overmix the batter otherwise it can create a tough and gummy cake.
  • Avoid overbaking. When the cake is done it will begin to pull away from the sides. Keep a close eye on it when coming to the end of its baking time and check every couple of minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs hanging on.
  • These can be made into cupcakes. The baking time will be much shorter, anywhere from 18-21 minutes. Frost them with the same frosting recipe.
  • A lazy Susan works great to horizontally slice the layers. Use a long serrated knife and saw back and forth while turning the turn-table. A lazy susan works great when you are frosting the cake as well.
  • Make sure and use softened cream cheese and butter for the frosting. This alleviates lumps in the frosting.
  • Use pieces of parchment paper under the cake when frosting it. Lay three triangle strips of parchment paper to cover a cake plate. Then place the cake layers on top as you frost the cake. When finished, pull each piece of paper out. This will ensure a nice clean cake plate.
  • An offset spatula is one of the best tools for frosting a cake. It creates a nice smooth finish.


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