Gingerbread cake

My youngest daughter has a Christmas birthday, and I have always loved it this way. First, we celebrate Jenny all month long. Plus, I finally get to decorate winter cakes. Then, when her special day is over, Christmas is on its heels, with more festivity and presents and delectability.

This year, she and I planned an angel shaped cake.

A couple of days before her birthday, I remembered that a) she does not like chocolate, and b) an angelish cake should be white inside. But I do not bake white cake except from a mix, because it is only one I make that is inferior when made from scratch. And I was fresh out of cake mix, and did not want to go shopping again. Oh dear.

I went to my recipe box and dug through index cards, trying to find an appropriate substitute that also contained only the ingredients I had on hand. My lightbulb moment came when I found a recipe my mom has used for Gingerbread Cake. I remembered it being a little dry. Hm. But I had everything on hand to make it. And what could be more perfect in a Christmas cake than gingerbread? Which Jenny loves?

And for the frosting… hmm… Previously I have made this cake with cream cheese icing, or whoopie pie filling. This time, I chose ermine icing, my favorite: a rich, boiled, old-fashioned, not-too-sweet frosting.

When I baked the cake, I added sour cream to moisten and enrich. I had tried adding half a cup last time, but it failed to impress. So I went whole hog with a full cup. And I somewhat recklessly tossed in a teaspoon of allspice, in addition to the full three tablespoons of ginger-cinnamon-and-cloves already called for in the recipe.

Guys, I don’t want to brag, but this cake was good.

The spice was intense – a mouthful of flavor – and the texture was decadent, and the frosting had the perfect mild creaminess to offset it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Gingerbread Cake


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  2. Beat in eggs and molasses.

  3. Add flour, salt, soda, and spices, mixing until just combined.

  4. Gently mix in sour cream, then gradually pour in coffee and mix until incorporated.

  5. Bake in a greased 11x15 pan at 350* for 20-25 minutes.

The ermine frosting I love is from New York Times Cooking. Recipe here.

I recommend that you start your bake by cooking the frosting components, so they have time to cool completely while you bake and cool the cake. Finish by completing the frosting. Please wash a sinkful of dishes or play a game with your kiddo while the butter and sugar beat to a fluff – it takes a long time, but goes much faster if you don’t watch. Believe me, that icing is worth the extra steps.

What are you baking this season? I would love to try some new recipes.

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3 years ago

Wow this looks and sounds great. Never heard of that kind of icing though. ????

3 years ago

It’s beautiful! And looks delicious

3 years ago

We love gingerbread here! Thanks for another recipe to try.

Rosella Bauman
3 years ago

Oh yummy that cake looks amazing???? and the girl behind it is sweeter than the cake itself. Birthdays are fun in December, I can agree. Just got done my own on Tuesday. So Happy Birthday to a girl I never met but I still think you’re loaded with cuteness:)

3 years ago

What a beautiful cake and looks so tasty! I want to try this one for sure.

Becky Wadel
3 years ago

A beautiful cake!! I have a lil fella who also had a birthday this month and I did a snowman cake. Actually, it was mostly my 15 yr old daughter who decorated the cake! There’s mutual feelings here about baking a white cake from scratch!!! Chocolate…yes! White…no!!! Maybe someone has a good recipe for a white cake?!!

Regina S
3 years ago

That cake looks so yummy! I love gingerbread. As a matter of fact money of my favorite Christmas coffee drinks is gingerbread lattes.
I hope to get some sugar cookies baked and of course gingerbread cookies.
One of my favorite homemade chocolate buttercream frosting is found at the website Two Sisters Crafting.

3 years ago

Ooooh. What a darling and festive cake!!! I am very interested in this recipe since I already made one gingerbread cake this season that was disappointing for lack of flavor.

Jeanette B.
3 years ago

I also made Gingerbread Cake (with Carmel Frosting) this week for my Sunday company. I have yet to see whether it is satisfactory, but I admit your recipe looks better????Sugar cookies and coconut eggs is all the Christmas baking I did. My husband and I and our 15 month old son do not need any more – we’re already sick of sweets before Christmas (and family gatherings) has arrived????

Linda Horst
3 years ago

Thank-you for sharing a convenient printable of this recipe. I’m excited to try it!

Regina S
3 years ago

If anyone has too many cookies, I’ll be glad to take them off your hands!????

3 years ago

Yes! Believe me, she doesn’t lie when she says the cake was good. I had the personal privilege of indulging my taste buds. ???? I enjoyed making peppermint patties for the first time this Christmas. They are delectable!

GrandmaKitty Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Jean

Jean, the peppermint patties sound like something we’d like. Thanks!

GrandmaKitty Brown
3 years ago

Happy (very belated) Birthday to Jenny! We have five December birthdays in our family…two granddaughters (the 7th and the 10th); and three clustered right around Christmas Day…my late Mom (21st), a grandson (24th), and my late Dad (26th). December is a GREAT month! I love the idea of a gingerbread cake, and Jenny’s is gorgeous! Thank you so much, Shari, for posting the recipe and introducing us to a new type of icing, which I’m sure many of us will be trying soon! <3

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