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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 6 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 12 servings
Calories: 870kcal


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

White Chocolate Water Ganache

  • 6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate I prefer guittard white chocolate wafers
  • 1 ounce (28 g) warm water


  • Three 6"x2" cake pans
  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment


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 scaleI do not recommend converting this recipe to cups because you can accidentally add too much flour which will make your cake dry. 
  • In a large bowl, add your molasses, oil, coffee, vanilla, melted butter, eggs, freshly grated ginger, and buttermilk. Whisk everything together to break up the egg yolks and combine, and then set it 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. I’m using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer, you can also use a hand mixer or even a whisk for this cake.
  • While mixing on low, add in your wet ingredient mixture and mix it until it’s just combined (takes 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.
  • 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 or until the pans are just barely warm.
  • Flip the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Wrap them in plastic wrap to cool at room temperature until you are ready to stack, or freeze the cakes 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 Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Bring two inches of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it’s simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Place your egg whites and brown sugar together in the metal bowl of your stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  • Place the bowl on top of the simmering water and whisk continuously until the grains of sugar are dissolved. Don’t walk away or you could accidentally cook your eggs. Pro-tip – (or oops I accidentally multi-tasked and got distracted tip) if you do walk away and see some bits of cooked egg, you can strain it out and then continue with your buttercream. It’s not ruined.
  • Once you cannot feel any grains of sugar, take the egg mixture off the heat and attach it to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  • Turn the mixer onto high and let your eggs whip until you reach stiff, STIFF peaks. Stiff peaks is when the meringue stands straight up from the whisk. This can take 5-15 minutes depending on the strength of your mixer.
  • Because I’m impatient, I like to scoop out my meringue and place it onto a cookie sheet to cool down quickly in the fridge. You can stick the whole bowl in the fridge but it takes much longer. You can’t whip in the butter until the meringue is cool or it will melt the butter and you’ll be left with brown sugar soup!
  • After about 10-20 minutes, your meringue shouldn’t feel warm anymore. Scoop it back into the bowl and start mixing on medium speed while adding in your chunks of room temperature butter. Some people have had issues with their buttercream becoming soupy cause the meringue was too warm.
  • Add in your salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  • Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until it’s light and fluffy and doesn’t taste like butter anymore.

White Chocolate Water Ganache

  • Combine your chocolate and water together and microwave it for about 1 minute until the chocolate begins to melt. Stir until it’s smooth.
  • Add in 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.


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
6. If your buttercream is too cold and seems like it’s clinging to the sides of the bowl and whisk you can fix it. Remove about 1 cup of the buttercream and place it into a bowl. Microwave it until it’s barely melted. It took me about 30 seconds.
Pour the half-melted buttercream back into the bowl and continue mixing, it should get light and fluffy now. 
7. If you do not have buttermilk to make the cake, you can use one of my buttermilk substitutes.
8. Almost any frosting will pair nicely with this gingerbread cake including the SMBC I've included in this recipe, easy buttercream, ermine, whipped cream, or cream cheese.


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%)