Easy Gingerbread Cake

Stacked squares of gingerbread cake.

With mellow, yet flavorful warm spices and a super easy method, this easy Gingerbread Cake is perfectly spiced and super simple to bake. Serve it with decorative sprinkles or add whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.

Stacked squares of gingerbread cake.

Gingerbread Cake

We’ve long loved Gingerbread Muffins as a festive holiday muffins (or just as a spice muffins whenever the urge strikes) and this cake has many of the same flavors but is a smidge easier to make.

After mixing up the batter in one bowl, you simply pour it into a square pan and bake. It’s simple, delicious, and easy to dress up for a special meal or occasion as you like. It’s one of our very favorite cake recipes.

We usually top with gold decorating sugar for a little extra sparkle, but Cream Cheese Frosting is also a delicious pair for this snack cake.

This works well as a make-ahead Christmas breakfast or as an easy snack to share with the kids. So versatile and so yummy.

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full amounts and information.

Ingredients for gingerbread cake on countertop.
  • Plain whole milk yogurt: Using yogurt in baked goods helps them to be super moist and delicious. It’s also a nutritious way to add moisture without solely relying on oil or butter. I prefer to use full fat plain yogurt in this recipe for maximum tenderness
  • Eggs: Eggs help the batter hold together nicely in this recipe. See the Notes for an egg-free option here.
  • Unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly): A little butter adds richness to this recipe.
  • Molasses: Backstrap, unsulfured molasses adds classic gingerbread flavor and mellow sweetness. It also makes the top of the cake ever so slightly sticky, which is a hallmark of gingerbread.
  • Vanilla extract: A little vanilla extract rounds out the flavor notes in this snack cake.
  • Whole-wheat flour: I use whole-wheat flour since it holds up well in the mix with the rest of the moist ingredients, but all-purpose can be used as well as needed.
  • Brown sugar (lightly packed): In combination with the molasses, this adds flavor and a hint of sweetness.
  • Baking soda: Fresh, active baking soda helps the cake rise and bake through properly.
  • Ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and allspice (or ground cloves): The combination of these spices add the classic warmth you expect from gingerbread.
  • Coarse or decorating sugar, or whipped cream or Cream Cheese Frosting (optional):

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the steps involved in making this easy gingerbread so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full recipe with the specifics on timing.

how to make gingerbread cake in grid of 4 images.
  1. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Gently fold the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges with a spatula or spoon. I prefer to bake this in a parchment-lined pan so it’s easy to cut and serve, but you can also just grease the pan with nonstick spray.
  4. Sprinkle the tops with coarse or decorating sugar, if using. (I like to use gold decorating sugar.) Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.
Gingerbread cake in pan after baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gingerbread actually made with ginger?

Ground ginger is typically added to gingerbread, or at least that’s the easiest way to add classic gingerbread flavor to this easy recipe.

What is the difference between gingerbread and ginger cake?

Gingerbread has ginger plus molasses, allspice or cloves, cinnamon and more. Ginger cake may just have ginger for flavoring.

What flavors pair well with gingerbread?

Gingerbread pairs nicely with Cream Cheese Frosting, chocolate, citrus, and berries.

Gingerbread cake on cooling rack.

How to Store

Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. You can also store them in the fridge if you’d like, though they do firm up a little when cold.

To make ahead and freeze, let cool fully and freeze the entire cake in a gallon-size freezer bag or slice into bars and freeze in a freezer bag. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

Gingerbread cake cut into squares on cutting board.

Best Tips for Success

  • If you don’t have molasses, you can swap in honey. They will taste less like gingerbread though.
  • Serve topped with whipped cream or Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • Dairy-free: Use vegetable or coconut oil in place of the butter and ¾ cup nondairy milk in place of the yogurt.
  • Gluten-free: Use at 1:1 style gluten-free flour blend such as the one from King Arthur Flour.
  • Egg-Free: Omit the eggs. Add ½ cup milk and proceed with the recipe.

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Stacked squares of gingerbread cake.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or grease with nonstick spray.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, molasses, and vanilla.

  • In a separate medium bow, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and salt.

  • Gently fold the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the tops with coarse or decorating sugar, if using. (I like to use gold decorating sugar.)

  • Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Cool pan on a wire rack. (If you lined the pan with parchment paper, lift it out and onto a wire rack to cool.)

  • Serve or top with whipped cream or Cream Cheese Frosting, as desired.

  • Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. You can also store them in the fridge if you’d like, though they do firm up a little when cold.
  • If you don’t have molasses, you can swap in honey. They will taste less like gingerbread though.
  • Serve topped with whipped cream or Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • Dairy-free: Use vegetable or coconut oil in place of the butter and ¾ cup nondairy milk in place of the yogurt.
  • Gluten-free: Use at 1:1 style gluten-free flour blend such as the one from King Arthur Flour.
  • Egg-Free: Omit the eggs. Add ½ cup milk and proceed with the recipe.

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 139kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 164mg, Potassium: 201mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 1mg


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