Grab your cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and make this tender and flavorful gingerbread snack cake topped with a cream cheese frosting from scratch in under an hour!
Easy Gingerbread Cake
Step aside gingerbread cookies, it’s gingerbread cake’s time to shine!
Grab your spices to make this tender and flavorful gingerbread snack cake topped with a cream cheese frosting from scratch in under an hour!
This moist cake is delicate yet full of bold flavors from the warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
What makes it a snack cake?
To qualify as a snack cake, the cake has to be a single layer, usually a square, have a simple topping (either powdered sugar, a quick icing, or nothing at all), and be really easy to make.
This gingerbread snack cake meets all the qualifications.
I’m always surprised that my soft & chewy ginger snaps are popular year-round, but then I think of how good they are, sharing several of the same flavors as this cake, and it explains why they’re popular.
Why you’ll love this gingerbread cake recipe
Perfect Holiday Treat – It doesn’t have to be made during the holiday season, but it certainly is perfect for gatherings.
Simple Ingredients – Largely made with pantry staples that you already have on hand.
Portion Control – Because it makes a small, 8×8 cake, you don’t have a full 9×13 cake to eat.
Tools you’ll need
- Mixing Bowls – I like the grippy bottoms so they don’t scoot around the counter.
- 8×8 Baking Dish – You’ll want a square pan, I love baking dishes with lids so it’s easy to store leftovers.
- Sifter – To sift together the dry ingredients but a whisk (or even a fork!) will work just as well.
- Hand Mixer – I use my hand mixer way more than my stand mixer.
- Offset Spatula – For frosting the cake.
Below is a list of the key ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Butter – unsalted & at room temperature.
- Sugar – granulated white sugar.
- Egg – I like to use organic, free range eggs.
- Molasses – Look for unsulfured molasses in the baking aisle. Grandma’s Original is the brand I use.
- Flour – all-purpose white flour is what I have tested with.
- Salt – salt is great for balance in baked goods & it brings out flavors.
- Baking soda – for rise.
- Ground ginger – Ground ginger is spicy and sweet.
- Ground cinnamon – try to pick a high quality cinnamon like ceylon.
- Nutmeg – Nutmeg is woody & bittersweet and adds a ton of flavor.
- Allspice – Allspice pairs perfectly with nutmeg & cinnamon but you could use cloves if you don’t have allspice.
- Boiling water – to slightly thin the batter.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Cream cheese – full fat cream cheese.
- Butter – I like to use salted butter in my frostings to balance the sweet.
- Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract over imitation for the best flavor.
- Powdered sugar – also called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar.
How to make an easy Gingerbread Cake
- STEP ONE: Preheat the oven and prepare a square baking pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the butter is creamed and the texture is light and fluffy.
- STEP TWO: Mix in the vanilla, then the molasses and the egg until well combined. Set aside.
- STEP THREE: In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture alternating with the hot water, beating after each addition. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until done and allow it to cool.
- STEP FOUR: While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting by mixing the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add in the vanilla and continue mixing. In small parts, add in the powdered sugar, mixing well between each addition. Do not over mix or it can separate.
- STEP FIVE: Frost the cooled cake and add a sprinkle of nutmeg on the top of the cake.
What is molasses and which should I use?
Molasses is the liquid by-product of the sugar-making process. Depending on how light or dark the molasses is will determine at which point the molasses is gathered during the process.
For this recipe, you’ll want unsulphured molasses. I use Grandma’s Original.
Although not as popular in today’s world, molasses is still used in traditional baking, such as gingerbread and barbecue sauces, and of course it is how we get our brown sugar.
Since you bought some for this cake, you might as well make some gingerbread cookies, too!
How to serve it
If you’re not into frosting, you can dust this cake with a bit of powdered sugar or feel free to leave it off and eat it more like a sweet bread.
Have a piece for breakfast with a hot cup of cranberry orange cider or as an afternoon snack.
If you’re feeling decadent, serve a warm slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
How to store it
If frosted, store the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If sprinkled with powdered sugar, the cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Keeping in mind it will lose moisture over time, especially if not covered.
If you have any frosting leftover, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze it?
You an definitely freeze this cake! Because of the high fat content of the cream cheese, it will freeze quite well, even when frosted.
Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and put it in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and it will keep for up to 3 months.
Need more easy cake recipes? Try these:
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