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Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

by on October 23, 2008 · 19 comments

Today’s recipe is from my friend Katy who originally got it from Epicurious a D. Lebovitz book. Once I match this recipe with the original, I will provide a link so that you can read the Epicurious reviews as well.

Here’s Katy’s version of the recipe, which she says is just as good with vanilla or cream cheese frosting as it is with crème anglaise. I opted for frosting and loved it, but the cake is would be excellent with just a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

This was extremely easy to make and were it not for the frosting, I could have prepared the entire recipe with just a bowl and mixing spoon. The ingredient list is simple, but the technique used is a bit different. For instance, baking soda is dissolved in water and eggs are added last. Also, I made mine without the fresh ginger or crystallized ginger and it was still excellent. Just be prepared for a very deep, dark cake. It almost looks like chocolate.

Ginger Cake

Katy’s Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 cup (200g) superfine sugar
1 cup light unsulphured molasses (Grandma’s)
2 large eggs, cool room temp, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups (350g) bleached all-purpose flour (unbleached is okay)
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (4-3 oz knob)( or 2 tsp dried ginger)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger (optional)


1: Line a deep 9” cake pan (9” springform is perfect) with parchment.

2: Preheat oven to 350’.

3: Mix oil, melted butter, sugar and molasses (and fresh ginger and/or crystallized ginger, if using).

4: Sift together flour, salt and dried spices. Reserve.

5: Combine boiling water and baking soda.

6: Whisk into molasses mixture.

7: Stir in dry ingredients gently until thoroughly mixed.

8: Stir in beaten eggs.

9: Bake for about 1 hour, until a tester comes out clean.

10: If cake browns too quickly, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in salt. Stir in powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, then beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

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Published on October 23, 2008

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

VeggieGirl October 23, 2008 at 11:13 am

So festive and divine.

snookydoodle October 23, 2008 at 11:41 am

wow great. I love spicy cakes :-) is treacle unsulphured ??

Megan October 23, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Hey–I’m always lurking to get great ideas. My daughter has a halloween party coming up, which made me think that it would be great if there was a section of Fuzz’s favorites. Seems like kids and adults totally don’t agree on what’s good, so I’d love some “Fuzz-tested” ideas as go-to’s for those times you have to make something for the pickiest of all audiences–kids! Think you and Fuzz would be up for something like that?

Kim October 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Ginger is a recent favorite flavor of mine. But, I am just me – so how do you think this would freeze? Or, how dense is the cake – could it be halved and baked as a bread loaf?

Anna October 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm

S, thanks for asking that question because I learned a thing or two in researching the answer!

Treacle is just a word for “syrup” and there are different types. The lightest is golden syrup, mid-range would be equal to mild molasses and the darkest would be the sulpured type and definitely not what you’d want to use here. I think in the UK they call mild molasses “fancy molasses”.

I am not very familiar with European brands of treacle/molasses, but I think the most common type treacle and what you’d buy at the store would be the same as American molasses. Maybe someone who uses treacle could pop in and let us know a good brand.

Megan, that’s a great idea. I will start by adding a category and populating it with recipes Fuzz and her friends truly loved.

Kim, it freezes great! I froze a piece and thawed it. Loved the results.

Katrina October 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Tis the season!

clumbsycookie October 23, 2008 at 2:39 pm

This site is starting to smell like Christmas! Nice syrup information as well, I’m glad sd asked as well!

Anonymous October 23, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Just to give credit where it’s due, the recipe was never on Epicurious. It’s a David Lebovitz original from his book “Room for Dessert” The Epicurious recipe I referred to was a similar one made with stout from Claudia Fleming. I’m so glad you liked it!

Anna October 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Thanks Katy! I just fixed it.

bakingblonde October 23, 2008 at 7:12 pm

What a perfect dessert for the holiday season! I love ginger cookies but have never had it in cake form, this looks great!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) October 24, 2008 at 6:55 am

This is the time of year I most associate with gingerbread. Not the holidays, but Fall, when the leaves in New England turn red and now brown — the same color as the gingerbread — and the aroma of ginger and cinnamon seems to be in the air.

Kelly M October 24, 2008 at 7:29 am

This cake reminds me of one I just saw in the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s called a pumpkin sandwich cake. It looks WONDERFUL! I just checked, and you can get the recipe on if you give them a bit of information.
Check it out!

Sara October 24, 2008 at 9:43 am

Wow, this looks great! I’m going to put it on my list of recipes to make for Christmas time. YUM!

Lisa magicsprinkles October 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm

This looks so fabulous. I love the addition of the frosting.

domcook October 25, 2008 at 2:42 am

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Jackie October 25, 2008 at 10:26 am

I made a gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting this week too. I cheated and used a box mix from Trader Joe’s. It was really good. My frosting was homemade and a little runny. I guess I’ll add more sugar next time. I piped the frosting on top of the cake and even though it was very messy the girls were impressed and thought it looked very professional.

Kate October 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I just made this as my birthday cake because I’ve been dying to try it. I’ve apparently contracted dyslexia from my son because I totally misread the directions. As a result, the texture of mine is …weird. BUT the flavor is fabulous. I really like the crystallized ginger. I subbed lemon extract for vanilla in the icing, since my mom always served gingerbread wiht lemon custard. I like it :)

Beth March 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm


Julie B December 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Ohh, lemon extract instead of vanilla extract! Great idea, Kate!!


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