Moist Gingerbread Cake

This super moist spiced gingerbread cake recipe made with smooth and creamy brown sugar buttercream. The perfect cake for Christmas!
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 12 servings

This perfectly spiced gingerbread cake is super moist and paired with delicious brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream. The perfect wintery cake to make you feel warm and cozy inside and out. 

This gingerbread cake recipe is super simple to make. Simply stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and bake! I am using my mixer but honestly, you could do this with a hand-mixer or even by hand. 

GINGERBREAD CAKE INGREDIENTS

gingerbread cake ingredients

The most important ingredient in your gingerbread cake is ginger! We’re using freshly grated ginger and ground ginger for tons of ginger flavor. You can grate your own ginger or buy your own pre-made but trust me, you don’t want to leave it out. 

One of the reasons this cake is so moist is using dark brown sugar, un-sulfured molasses, buttermilk, and a little bit of oil. I’m using canola oil which has the most neutral oil but you could also use vegetable oil. 

grandmas sulfured molasses in a jar

Make sure your molasses is un-sulfured and not black-strap molasses which is very bitter and too strong of a flavor for baking. 

Did you know that buttermilk is often used in baking because the acidity breaks down the gluten protein, resulting in a more tender cake? No buttermilk? Don’t worry, you can make your own buttermilk substitute

GINGERBREAD CAKE STEP-BY-STEP

Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 335°F (170°C). Bring your buttermilk, eggs, and coffee to room temperature. Measure out all of your ingredients by weight with a food scale, I do not recommend converting this recipe to cups because you can accidentally add too much flour which will make your cake dry. 

gingerbread cake liquid ingredients in a large glass bowl

Step 2 – In a large bowl, add your molasses, oil, coffee, vanilla, melted butter, eggs, freshly grated ginger, and buttermilk. Whisk together to break up the egg yolks and combine, then set aside.

gingerbread cake dry ingredients in a white stand mixer bowl

Step 3 – In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the AP flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered ginger, salt, and baking soda. Add the paddle attachment and mix on low for a few seconds to combine.

I’m using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer, you can also use a hand mixer or even a whisk for this cake.

adding liquid ingredients to dry ingredients while mixing

close up of gingerbread cake batter in a mixing bowl

Step 4 – While mixing on low, add in your wet ingredient mixture and mix until just combined. About 10-15 seconds. Mix with a spatula to make sure there are no pockets of flour.

pouring gingerbread cake batter into cake pans

Step 5 – Prepare three, 6″x2″ cake pans or two, 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or your preferred pan release.

pouring gingerbread cake batter into cake pans

Step 7 – Divide the batter into your greased cake pans. I like to weigh my pans with a scale to see if I divided the batter evenly.

Step 8 –Bake at 335°F (170°C) for 35-40 minutes (for 6″ pans, less for 8″ pans.)

gingerbread cake on a cooling rack

Step 9 – Remove your cakes from the oven once the tops are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let your cakes rest in the pans for 10-15 minutes or until the pans are just barely warm. Flip them out onto a cooling rack. Wrap in plastic wrap to cool at room temperature until ready to stack, or freeze for 30 minutes. Do NOT stack warm cakes. You can wrap and freeze these cakes for a few days before they lose too much moisture.

gingerbread cakes on a cooling rack

How To Decorate A Gingerbread Cake

Step 1 – Make your frosting, I made brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream to go with this cake because I love how silky and smooth it is, but this cake would also go great with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream frosting, ermine buttercream, or my easy buttercream recipe. See the video below for more info. 

If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of decorating a cake, check out my how to decorate your first cake tutorial

Click on this image to go to the how to decorate your first cake tutorial

Step 1 – Place your first layer of cake onto a 6″ round cake board or directly onto your cake plate. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top that is about 1/4″ thick. 

Step 2 – Repeat with the second layer of cake. Try to keep your layers of buttercream an even thickness.

Step 3 – Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This is called the crumb coat. Then place the cake into the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up the crumb coat. Step 4 – Apply your final coat of buttercream and smooth out the sides and top with a bench scraper and an offset spatula.  

Step 5 – Place your cake back into the fridge to chill while you make your water ganache

Step 6 – Combine your chocolate and water together and microwave for about 1 minute until the chocolate begins to melt. Stir until it’s smooth.

Step 7 – I add in about 1 tsp of white food coloring so that the drip is nice and white and not transparent. Set the water ganache aside to cool to about 90ºF. Make sure your cake is cold and your water ganache is cooled or it will drip too far down the side of the cake.

Step 8 – Drip the water ganache down the sides of the cake and fill in the center with the leftover ganache. Smooth out any gaps with a spatula or spoon. 

Step 9 – Wait until the ganache sets or put the cake into the fridge for 10 minutes before adding your swirls of buttercream. I was not patient and the buttercream ended up pushing some of the ganache over the edges of the cake and ruined my drip a little.

I added these cute little gingerbread cookies to the top of my cake. The lines are just piped with melted white chocolate. Super easy and tasty! decorating a gingerbread cake

Gingerbread Cupcakes

This recipe also makes about 24 cupcakes (depending on your pan size). Fill the liners 2/3 way full and bake for about 20 minutes until the center of the cupcake is set.

close up of gingerbread cupcakes

Related Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Brown Butter Buttercream

Gingerbread House Recipe

Gingerbread Cookies

Water Ganache

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.


Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!

Moist Gingerbread Cake

This super moist spiced gingerbread cake recipe made with smooth and creamy brown sugar buttercream. The perfect cake for Christmas!
5 from 5 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 12 servings
Calories: 870kcal

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cake

  • 15 ounces (425 g) all-purpose flour
  • 10 ounces (284 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger powdered
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons grated ginger fresh, or from a tube
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 ounces (227 g) buttermilk room temperature
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter melted, not hot
  • 4 ounces (113 g) canola oil or vegetable
  • 2 ounces (57 g) coffee room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (114 g) un-sulfured molasses I used Grandma's brand
  • 2 large eggs room temperature

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 8 ounces (227 g) egg whites  fresh is better, you can use boxed if needed
  • 14 ounces (397 g) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 18 ounces (510 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Equipment

  • Three 6"x2" cake pans

Instructions

Gingerbread Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 335°F (170°C). Bring your buttermilk, eggs, and coffee to room temperature. Measure out all of your ingredients by weight with a food scale, I do not recommend converting this recipe to cups. See above for more information on how to use a scale.
  • In a large bowl, add your molasses, oil, coffee, vanilla, melted butter, eggs, freshly grated ginger, and buttermilk. Whisk together to break up the egg yolks and combine, then set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the AP flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered ginger, salt, and baking soda. Add the paddle attachment and mix on low for a few seconds to combine. You can also use a hand mixer or even a whisk for this.
  • While mixing on low, add in your wet ingredient mixture and mix until just combined. About 10-15 seconds. Mix with a spatula to make sure there are no pockets of flour.
  • Prepare three, 6"x2" cake pans or two, 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or your preferred pan release.
    This recipe also makes about 24 cupcakes (depending on your pan size). Fill the liners 2/3 way full and bake for about 20 minutes until set.
  • Divide the batter into your greased cake pans. I like to weigh my pans with a scale to see if I divided the batter evenly.
  • Bake at 335°F (170°C) for 35-40 minutes (for 6" pans, less for 8" pans.)
  • Remove your cakes from the oven once the tops are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let your cakes rest in the pans for 10-15 minutes, then flip them out onto a cooling rack. Wrap in plastic wrap to cool at room temperature until ready to stack, or freeze for 30 minutes. Do NOT stack warm cakes. You can wrap and freeze these cakes for a few days before they lose too much moisture.

Brown Sugar SMBC

  • Any frosting is good, this SMBC, easy buttercream, ermine, whipped cream, cream cheese

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. Learn more about decorating your first cake. 
5. If the recipe calls for specific ingredients like cake flour, replacing it with all purpose flour and cornstarch is not recommended unless specified in the recipe that it’s ok. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. 
All purpose flour is a plain flour with no rising agents. It has a protein level of 10%-12%
Cake flour is a soft, low protein flour of 9% or less. 
Cake flour sources: UK - Shipton Mills Cake & Pastry Flour

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 870kcal (44%) | Carbohydrates: 92g (31%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 53g (82%) | Saturated Fat: 28g (140%) | Cholesterol: 145mg (48%) | Sodium: 662mg (28%) | Potassium: 336mg (10%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 64g (71%) | Vitamin A: 1375IU (28%) | Calcium: 124mg (12%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)
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2 comments on “Moist Gingerbread Cake

  1. 5 stars
    I brought this cake to my sisters for Christmas and three people asked me for the recipe. I ran out of brown sugar after the cake so I replaced the topping with a cinnamon whipped cream cream cheese frosting. The cake was perfectly spicy and not too sweet. It is definitely a keeper!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, there, Liz, greetings from Spain. Just wanted to let you know that thanks to your recipe I made the most deliciously and richly flavoured cupcakes ever. Thank you so much!!! I am learning a lot from you!!!

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