Moist Gingerbread Layer Cake

This Gingerbread Layer Cake is super moist and full of the flavor of molasses and spices! It’s sure to be a hit and great cake for the holidays!

Gingerbread Layer Cake! Moist and delicious for the holidays!

decorated Gingerbread Layer Cake

Boy do I love me some gingerbread! I’ve got a fair number of gingerbread options on the site – these gingerbread cookies, this gingerbread cheesecake, some gingerbread cheesecake cookie cups and even this gingerbread cheesecake trifle. But what I’ve been missing for some time now is a delightful cake!

This cake has been in the making for a while. It has taken time to get it just the way I wanted it. Fluffy, light, moist – all were necessary. After countless versions, I’m so happy to say I finally mastered it and I’m pumped to share it with you!

To start, you’ve got the usual butter and sugar. In this cake I went with brown sugar to pump up the flavor and accent the molasses. Be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar together. It adds air to the batter that gives the cake it’s lightness. You’ll actually be able to see the color of the mixture lighten and the texture change.

slice of cake with bite takenBest Gingerbread Layer Cake recipe

Next is adding the molasses and a little vanilla. Don’t be alarmed when you add the molasses and it doesn’t incorporate beautifully. Molasses is some sticky stuff, so you’ll want to be sure to be scraping down the sides of the bowl throughout the mixing of this batter. Get everything in there and well incorporated. It may look a little separated because of the molasses, but that’s ok.

Next up is the eggs, then the dry ingredients mixed with the milk and water. The dry ingredients are FULL of spices! Of course there’s plenty of ginger, then cinnamon and cloves. They’re some of the best spices around and they give this cake the best flavor! Lots of flavor, but not too much.

The cake is baked and frosted with a classic cream cheese frosting. Is there any better combo? I topped it off with some cute gingerbread men, some pearl sprinkles and a little rosemary. All the decor would be totally optional of course, but it’s so festive!

I shared this cake with a group and my goodness, it was a hit! They went nutty over how moist it was and all the great gingerbread flavor. I have no doubt this is one I’ll be making over and over again. I hope you love it too!

Gingerbread Layer Cake slice with cake displayed in backgroundclose up of slice of Gingerbread Layer Cake

More Great Gingerbread and Christmas Recipes:

Best Gingerbread Cookies (Soft and Chewy Cutouts)
Gingerbread Cheesecake
Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog Icing
Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookie Cups

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image of Gingerbread Layer Cake on plate
Recipe

Moist Gingerbread Layer Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Gingerbread Layer Cake is super moist and full of the flavor of molasses and spices! It’s sure to be a hit and great cake for the holidays!


Scale

Ingredients

GINGERBREAD CAKE

  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (225g) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups (358g) all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (172g) butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Gingerbread men
  • Rosemary

Instructions

TO MAKE THE CAKE LAYERS:

1. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
3. Add the molasses and vanilla extract and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure the molasses gets combined.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the milk and water in a small measuring cup.
6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the milk mixture and mix until well combined. Batter may look a little curdled. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Batter should smooth out and not look curdled anymore. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for about 24-27 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
8. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING:

9. Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until well combined.
10. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
11. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until smooth.
12. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

13. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes.
14. Place the first layer of cake on your serving plate or a cardboard cake circle. Spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly onto the cake layer.
15. Add the second layer of cake and another cup of frosting.
16. Add the final layer of cake on top.
17. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, then use the tip of a 9 inch offset spatula to create stripes on the sides of the cake.
18. Use the remaining frosting to pipe dollops around the top of the cake. I used Ateco tip 808.
19. Sprinkle the top of the cake with nutmeg and pearl sprinkles. Add some gingerbread men and rosemary, if desired.
20. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Best served at room temperature. Cake is best when well covered for 2-3 days.

Keywords: molasses cake recipe, holiday dessert recipe, christmas dessert recipe, christmas cake, holiday party dessert

 

Gingerbread Layer Cake! Moist and delicious for the holidays!

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60 Comments
  1. Courtney

    Merry Christmas!! We are looking to make treats for our birthday party for Jesus. This is absolutely beautiful and I’ve loved every cake of yours that I’ve made, but I don’t think it will work for the kids to help 🙂 Could this be adapted to cupcakes without changes to the mix of ingredients?

  2. Brendan

    Just made this for Christmas and it came out great.  We had the wrong sized pans so the 3 layers probably should’ve been 2 (should have read the comments first) but other than that it was a hit.  Next time I’ll make them as cupcakes with the frosting in the center and on top.  That was the best part in everyone’s opinion. 

  3. Kathryn Dombrowski

    Thanks for the recipe, it came out fantastic. The entire family wolfed down their slices. It was similar to a carrot cake I made last year, but the flavor was fantastic. I garnished it with handmade mini gingerbread men around the side and it was super cute. 

    1. Lindsay

      It is correct and it is a good bit. It’s a traditional decorators buttercream, which is what I like to work with. If you prefer less frosting, you can definitely reduce the amount of powdered sugar.

      1. Rioghna

        ahh ok.. thanks!! I did it with less and it was kinda runny but tasted really good.. my friends were taking it out the bowl 😉

  4. Sarah

    HI Lindsay! I was just wondering what your opinion would be as to whether this recipe would work in a single 9 x 13in pan? I’m currently living away from home and don’t have access to all my baking tins.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it in a 9 x 13 pan, so it’s hard to say for sure. I would think it might turn out a little more dense but otherwise it should be fine.

      1. Ashling Laue

        Hi sorry for jumping on this post im in ireland and couldn’t find molasses so used black treacle is this right?

  5. Penny

    Hi Lindsay – I too made a different recipe and the cake fell in the middle. Question – I have a lot candied ginger i would like to get rid of. Do you think adding like 1/4 – 1/2 cup would be ok? I’ve had the ginger for a couple of months and don’t want it go bad!

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t think the candied ginger would be to my liking, just because it would be fairly chewy in a cake I think. But if that’s something you’d like, you could certainly try it. Alternatively, you could leave it out of the cake itself and use it to decorate the cake.

  6. Belinda Bean

    I am just baked the cakes and they did not rise and are only about 2cm high each. I followed the directions and used 8inch cake finds. Do you have any suggestions as to why the didn’t rise much? 

    1. Lindsay

      The most common issue people have is not fully creaming the butter and sugar. You could even set a timer for three or four minutes to make sure you’ve done it long enough. It adds air and structure to the cake that helps it rise. If your cake didn’t rise it all, that very well could be the problem. Aside from that you may want to check that your baking powder is still good. You also want to be sure not to you over mix the batter after adding the flour.

  7. Michelle O

    Have you tried making cupcakes with this recipe? Or can you suggest the baking time and temperature of the oven. Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t think I’ve actually made cupcakes before, but it should be fine. I’d try baking for 15-17 minutes. Same oven temperature.

      1. Debbie Eckstein

        i just made cupcakes. mini ones 12 mins, regular ones 18mins. my house smells wonderful. Love all of your recipes and have made a few. first time making this one and i can’t wait to try them. they’re just cooling now! Thanks for all of your great recipes!

  8. Amber

    Excited to be making this cake today… trial fun for the family gathering this weekend!!!   We did opt for a gluten-free version but so far the kitchen SMELLS DELICIOUS!!!   

    Thank you for the recipe + Merry Christmas!

      1. Alex

        Hi Lindsay,

        For the brown sugar, does it matter if I use dark or light? I was thinking of using dark since I’m looking for a darker color.

        Thanks!

        Alex

    1. Marilyn

      Hi Lindsay, love your recipes! Does it matter if you use blackstrap or fancy molasses for this cake?Thank you.

  9. Renee Kelly

    Your last comment: Cake is best when well covered for 2-3 days. Does this mean you recommend allowing it to age 2-3 days before serving, or to serve it within 2-3 days of baking?

  10. My.i.on.het

    This looks oh soo delicious! I found the perfect gingerbread men recipe last year…and this year this might just be my new ‘gingerbread’ treat. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Linda

    I’m crazy for gingerbread so this gets my taste buds going.  If my cake were to turn out as beautiful as yours, I don’t know that I’d want to cut it!

  12. Suzy-q

    Oh, boy! I can’t wait to make this cake. It’s calling my name! Warm spices and cream cheese frosting is a hit! Thank you for the wonderful recipes. Best wishes!!!

  13. DeShonda

    This cake looks super yummy… I just pinned the gingerbread cupcake recipe and cannot wait to try both!! I totally trust your recipes and always look here first! Do you think this would work in a bundt pan or as mini bundt cakes?

    1. Lindsay

      I hope you enjoy them! I didn’t try as a bundt and I’m never really sure about the transition. Sometimes it ends up much denser. But you could definitely try it.

  14. Christine Quigley

    Dear Lindsay,

             I just made a gingerbread layer cake, different recipe and the layers all fell in the middle. I live outside Denver and didn’t adjust the recipe for altitude, but I hardly ever do, and I’ve lived here for 38 yrs.

             Do you recommend that i DO adjust this recipe? I don’t want to repeat disaster. ( well, in truth, in wasn’t a disaster per se, it still tasted wonderful..) One possible cause was I used buttermilk in the other recipe, and yours calls for plain milk. I think possibly the acid in the buttermilk reacted too much with the baking soda, creating this huge ‘bubble’ in the middle of the layers, as I sadly watched it deflate…:-(

             Want to try this! Let me know your thoughts..

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t know too much about high altitude baking, but I do know that people typically do make adjustments. Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  15. Kelly | Maverick Baking

    WOW. This cake looks simple compared to some of your others but SO pretty! Adoring the addition of the rosemary, it looks really nice and adds such a great contrasting flavour in cakes and cookies. Pinning for later!

  16. Deborah Behney

    I just want to say this ….. you are simply wonderful! I am so thankful and grateful
    that I came upon your website. You bring me much joy. Thank you, and I wish
    you and your family a beautiful Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!

  17. Charity

    Yay!! I’ve been waiting and hoping you would make a gingerbread cake!! I’ve seen many on Pinterest but knew I could completely trust your recipe to be awesome! Will be baking this soon, just need to stock up on cream cheese now!! Thank you! Love all your recipes, they are my go-to tried and trues! EVERY time I make your cakes or cupcakes people rave over them!!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes! I’ve definitely been needing a gingerbread cake on here – I hope you love it!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12