Gingerbread Cake Recipe

Mar 16, 2020 | Farmhouse Food

This gingerbread cake is a classic dessert that is perfect to serve year round. Learn how to make this delicious and simple 100 year old cake recipe! 

Although gingerbread is usually associated with Christmas I make this recipe all year long. If I am low on things to send in lunches I will often whip together this cake. Since this recipe is made of pantry staples it is something I can make on short notice, which is great if company comes over at the last minute. 

This gingerbread cake is a family favourite because it is soft, moist, and flavourful! I love how the rich smell of spices fills the kitchen when the cake is baking.

This recipe was passed down to me from my Great Grammy Cora who was born in 1911 and lived to be over 100.   Gram spent many of her early years on the farm cooking for the family, as she got up in her 90’s she had a harder time standing so she taught others how to make her desserts for her.  This gingerbread cake was one of her staples, she never followed a recipe, but my mother wrote it down one day so we could continue to make it for years to come. 

I am glad to share this family recipe with you, I know that you and your family will love this century old gingerbread cake too! 

If you are interested in making another 100 year old dessert here is my old fashioned farmhouse doughnut recipe.


Tips For Making Gingerbread Cake

When mixing up the batter it will seem very runny but do not add any extra flour, it is supposed to be this way. The runny batter contributes to how soft and moist the cake will taste!

I use fancy molasses for this recipe, which is just the regular stuff from the store. I like to buy mine in bulk so I can refill my jar and produce less waste.  

This cake tastes so delicious especially topped with maple whipped cream, find the recipe below.



This cake will keep for a few days on the counter at regular room temperature. I leave mine in the cake pan and cover it with bee’s wax wrap. 

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients


1 cup white sugar

1 cup melted butter 

1 cup molasses

2 eggs

¼ cup hot water with 2 tsp baking soda added to it

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

1 cup hot water


Gingerbread Cake Directions

 1. In a large bowl cream sugar, melted butter, molasses, and eggs.

2. Add water and soda mixture.

3. Mix together dry ingredients.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

5. Add 1 cup of hot water to the batter. This will result in a very thin batter.

6. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 pan, pour in batter.

7. Bake @ 325°F for 40 – 60 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick, when it comes out clean the cake is done. 

8. Serve warm or let cool. For added goodness top with maple whipped cream, recipe below. 


Maple Whipped Cream 


My favourite topping for gingerbread cake is maple whipped cream. It is so delicious I can eat it by the spoonful. It adds a nice sweetness and flavour to this spiced cake.  

For the best maple whipped cream make it with pure maple syrup. I used our own homemade maple syrup! Here is my post all about how to make your own maple syrup.

Maple Whipped Cream Ingredients


1 cup whipped cream

4 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla 

½ tsp salt

Maple Whipped Cream Directions

1. Add chilled whipping cream to bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

2. Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt.

3. Whip until firm peaks form.

4. Serve on gingerbread cake or any other dessert!



  1. Anonymous

    I love gingerbread cake. Will certainly give your recipe a try.
    Yummy. I like to serve mine with lemon sauce. Just thinking about that is making my mouth water. May have to get cooking tomorrow. Hugs.

    • Maggie

      A lemon sauce topping sounds great, I will have to try it sometime!

      • Kim

        Baking this at the moment…eagerly waiting. Batter tasted so good. Made whipped cream. I have to say it is the best ever. Thanks

        • Alessandra

          Do you not have to leave it for a week to become sticky

      • Chefcliff

        Try adding a 1/2 cup of cream cheese. Gives it a Cheesecake consistency and flavor.

        • Wendy

          Cream cheese to cake batter or whipped topping?

          • Anonymous


          • Liz

            Thank you for sharing 😍I love old recipes .

          • Anonymous


        • Terry

          Then it isn’t her grandmother’s 100 year old recipe anymore.

          • Francie

            So true ! That’s the first thing I thought of .

    • Anonymous

      I so totally agree was going to post this but you beat me to it!😉

    • Keri

      It looks delish! Reminds me of my Grandma’s recipe. I am going to make this!


        This cake has great flavor and moisture but I’ve baked it twice now and each time the center has fallen and is very dense in the middle. What am I doing wrong?? Baked it in the center of the oven at 325* as the directions state. Thank you in advance for any input.

    • Lori

      This was a great recipe! I will definitely use it next year at Christmas! It’s light and moist and goes well with whipped cream!

  2. Bee

    Can butter be substituted with Earth Balance or anything else? This recipe sounds delicious! A lot of recipes I skip over because of butter or shortening, so I hope this works with a substitute!


    • Maggie

      Hi Bee, I have not tried substituting out the butter myself but I think that Earth Balance would work. I looked up it’s properties and I think it would be a good substitute or another vegan butter. Vegetable oil may work as well but would likely change the density of the cake.

  3. Bee

    Oops! I see my email address with my comment. Can it please be removed? Thanks!

    • Maggie


      • Kerri MacPherson

        I made this today with a maple frosting
        So yummy

        1 cup Butter Unsalted, Room temperature
        1/3 cup Maple syrup
        1 tsp Maple extract or flavoring3-4 cups Powdered sugar

    • Jana a

      Can this be made into little loaves for the holidays?

  4. Bev H.

    First time baking this cake and so excited to serve to family tonight! I am serving with sliced fresh peaches and the maple whipped topping. Yum!

  5. Laura

    I would like to have someone give me a receipe for lemon sauce to put on gingerbread cake

    • Bobbie

      Lemon Sauce
      1/2 cup sugar
      2 tablespoons cornstarch
      3/4 cup water
      1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
      1/4 cup lemon juice
      2 tablespoons butter
      In a 1 qt saucepan mix cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add in water. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
      Remove from heat.
      Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve warm or cold. Store covered in refrigerator up to 10 days

  6. Anonymous

    My Mom used to serve warm gingerbread cake with applesauce and whipped cream. It sounds strange but it is so delicious!!!

  7. Sukie

    We made gingerbread in an oven over a campfire in Girl Scout camp and always served it with apple sauce. I will have to try this recipe three times, once with apple sauce, once with maple cream , and a third time with lemon curd. I can’t wait!

    • Suzanne

      Would this be ok as a bundt cake or do you know?

      • Anonymous

        I made it in a bundt tonight. Came out excellently.

  8. Beverly

    Can I use self rising flour and leave out the salt and baking soda?

  9. Anna

    If i made cupcake versions of these but dont want to bake all of them at the same time, can i freeze or refrigerate the batter for another day?

  10. Diane from Tennessee

    Made this cake and it was delicious. But I can’t very well call it gingerbread when I ran out of ginger. lol I substituted allspice in its place as I couldn’t find my ginger anywhere. It was just as delicious. I bet it’s even better the next time when I add the ginger.

  11. Lynda

    Turned out just like my grandma’s!

  12. Destiny

    How does the cake freeze? If I wanted to make the cake a week in advance and then frost it the day of, will the cake hold up?

    • Maggie

      Hi Destiny, I have tried freezing it a couple times and it worked out good. I think it is best fresh but still yummy from frozen. I sometimes freeze individual pieces to send in lunches when I am short on time.

  13. Anonymous

    This is great with a warm vanilla sauce , that you pour over each slice as you serve it.

    • Debbie

      Can you make tjis in a bundt pan?

  14. D Kelly

    Is the hot water just hot tap water or more like from a hot kettle?

    • Maggie

      It is just hot water from the tap, not boiling.

  15. Sonja Raela

    I don’t have molasses – is there are substitute?

  16. Anonymous

    I just made this. Love the aroma but texture is crumbly. It is moist. I can really taste the molasses which gives a bitter taste. It is also salty. I like it and yet I don’t. I suppose if I was back in 1920 and there weren’t any other kinds of sweets to have it might be pretty good. Passing on molasses for now.

    • Anonymous

      Black strap molasses will give a bitter taste

  17. Anonymous

    this looks delish! I will use kerrygold butter and xylitol instead of sugar and my mouth is already watering!

  18. Becky

    This is the best gingerbread cake recipe ever! I folded in a 21 oz can of apple pie filling before baking! Soooo scrumptious!!! I will be making this again very soon!!!

  19. Marilyn

    Is molasses only good until the exact expiration date ? I used some one month beyond the date and my cake was very bitter . Was that the reason ? Or is there more than one kind of molasses ? Help ! 💜

  20. Toni

    This recipe was easy and delicious! I will be saving this one to use over and over.

  21. Cindy

    Can I make this in little loaf pans for the holidays?

    • Stephanie

      Cindy, I make all sorts of loaf breads in the small pans. I bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Test with a cake tester after 35 minutes.

  22. Bethany

    My Mother was born in 1915 and she used to make this too! I used to put applesauce on my piece! I can’t wait to make this recipe!!!

  23. Lee

    I made this over the weekend and it is absolutely delicious! My cake fell for some reason… possibly the baking soda was old (I don’t bake a lot) so it turned out like a tray bake… almost like cookie bars. But the cake was dark, moist, and scrumptious. I used black strap molasses which gave the cake that unique slightly bitter flavor with subtle notes of chocolate in the aftertaste… my husband thought it was kind of like the taste of a well toasted marshmallow with bits of it slightly burnt. We’ve been nibbling at it all weekend. Truly rich topped with whipped cream. So glad I found this recipe on Pinterest!

  24. Allison

    My son is allergic to milk so I used 3/4 cup of canola oil instead of butter and almond milk instead of cows milk and it turned out AMAZING! We topped it with coconut cream whipped cream!! Definitely a keeper!!

  25. Anonymous

    Self rising or all purpose flour?

    • Anonymous

      I was wondering the same. However, if the recipe is 100 years old, must be AP.

      • Anonymous


  26. Jeanette

    This recipe made my Christmas dinner a complete success. This is the best recipes I’ve ever randomly found on the internet. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Morgan Barreda

      Dear Maggie, I can’t express enough how much I LOVE making this cake!!! It’s so amazing and easy to make. My family and I can’t get enough of it and I have made it probably 15 times. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing her recipe. I will add this as a holiday tradition and always give your grandma praise. Happy holidays and New year
      Sincerely, Morgan Barreda

  27. Holly F.

    Made this for Christmas dessert. Absolutely amazing recipe! Best gingerbread ever!

  28. Diane

    Mine smells good but it cooked and ran over. Not sure why. Only thing i did probably different olis mix in a mixer. Any ideas?

    • Anonymous

      I use a large baking dish 13×9, mabie that will help.

  29. Diane

    Shouldn’t have said oils above but just that i mixed in mixer

  30. Shelley

    Should I use cake flour or all purpose flour?

  31. Anonymous

    I made this for my husbands birthday. He loves gingerbread cake and he said this is one of the best I’ve made! So glad I found your page.

  32. Anonymous

    I liked the gingerbread but the whipped cream recipe was not good. I just whipped up regular cream, sugar and vanilla instead.

  33. debbie

    will this recipe work if I halved it and baked in a 8×8 square bake pan?, can I substitute treacle for the molasses


  34. Leanna

    Has anyone tried this recipe using brown sugar instead of white sugar? Thank you Maggie for sharing this treasured family recipe!

  35. Mary Ann

    My mom used to make ginger bread cake but she made a sauce and I wish I knew how to make it.
    It was a dark color and it was hot when she poured it over the cake. Maybe with molassas, brown sugar and that is what I remember, it was delicious.

  36. Ruth

    I made this cake today and it was very good. However, it needed a much larger pan as 9” x 11” was too small. I would use an 11” x 13” next time as it ran all over my oven.

  37. Anonymous

    I made this for desert after Christmas dinner and it was a big hit

  38. Mary Ellen DiBello

    Oh. My. Goodness🤤 and I mean goodness. This was delicious. I had a “hankering” for gingerbread cake, which my husband has never heard of, and found this recipe. It’s sooo light. I’m glad I watched your video first. Didn’t haul out the mixer and did it the way they made cakes 100 years ago. I happened to have left over whipped cream, unheard of..right? and slathered that on the warm cake. Can’t wait for morning to come to have another piece with coffee or hot chocolate. Thank you, thank you Grandma for this wonderful recipe. I may make this again for my Bible study class next week.😉


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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land.  Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.


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