I’m obsessed with everything gingerbread, especially during the holidays, and thought it’d be fun to create the most delicious Gingerbread Cake to kick off the Christmas season. After several rounds of testing, I finally came up with a tender, light crumb, deliciously spiced gingerbread cake with velvety gingerbread frosting. It’s officially been added to our round-up of special Christmas desserts our family enjoys each year!

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour 3 8-inch round cake pans  and set aside. Optional: After greasing and flouring the cake pans, line with pre-cut parchment sheet rounds.

Add oil, brown sugar, and molasses to a stand mixer bowl (or large mixing bowl) and beat on medium high – high until mixture has completely combined and turned fluffy.

Add eggs, scrape bottom of mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, and beat until the eggs are fully incorporated. (You may need to scrape the bowl down a couple of times to get the molasses mixture off of the bottom of the bowl and fully combined with the eggs).

Add milk, followed by the flour, spices, and salt and mix on medium until the mixture is fully combined. (You may need to scrape the bottom of the bowl again with a rubber spatula to get the mixture to be fully combined).

Add boiling water and beat on medium-high until completely combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Once fully combined, pour batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans.

Bake cakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into each cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to sit in in pans for a few minutes, and then invert cakes onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Once completely cooled, fill and frost cake layers with Gingerbread Frosting (recipe below).

Cake Notes:

  • This recipe calls for using 8 inch round cake pans. You can substitute 9 inch round cake pans, however, if you use the larger pans, you will need to decrease the baking time.
  • When making a layer cake, I use a cardboard cake round as the base plate. After filling and frosting the cake, I can easily move it to a cake stand, plate, or to a bakery box to give as a gift.

Gingerbread Frosting

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) slightly softened butter
  • 3 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add the egg whites and sugar to a metal stand mixer bowl and whisk until completely combined.

Add a couple of inches of water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil on your stovetop, over high heat. Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium-medium high heat with water still boiling. Place stand mixer bowl on top of the soup pan, as if it’s a double boiler, making sure that the mixer bowl does NOT touch the water. (You only want the steam heating the bowl, not the water directly). Whisk the egg whites and sugar continually until the mixture is hot and the sugar is dissolved and no longer gritty. This will take several minutes. Take care to watch and make sure not to overheat or cook for too long as you’re whisking or you’ill end up with scrambled eggs and you’ll need to start over.

Once the mixture is heated and the sugar has dissolved and is no longer gritty, remove stand mixer bowl from the stovetop and place on mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on high speed for 8-10 minutes until very stiff peaks form.

Scrape down whisk attachment and remove and scrape down bowl. Replace the whisk attachment with a standard paddle attachment and turn mixer to low-medium speed and begin adding slightly softened butter, a few tablespoons at a time, continuing as each clump of butter is combined, with mixer continually running. After butter is fully combined, stop the mixer and add the molasses, spices, and vanilla and beat on high for 3-5 minutes, scraping down as necessary with a rubber spatula to fully combine mixture. Beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

Frosting Notes:

  • I learned a variation of this Swiss Meringue style frosting technique as outlined above, at baking school and although it’s more time consuming than the standard American Buttercream with butter and powdered sugar, I enjoy it because it’s less sweet and has a velvety texture that’s really great.
  • I use salted butter for the frosting because I like a slightly salted frosting. You can use unsalted butter if that’s more to your liking.
  • As a cute finishing touch, pipe some buttercream swirls on the top of the cake and adorn with fresh or sugared cranberries.

I found the greatest Christmas gingerbread inspiration in Nuremberg, Germany at the amazing Christmas markets there and draw from those experiences when creating my own gingerbread recipes at home. You can read about my visit to Nuremberg here.

Gingerbread is also pretty great as a decoration during Christmas time. I made the gingerbread village of my dreams, drawing from all of my inspiration. You can read about it and find the step-by-step directions here.

The links to products in this post lead to my Amazon web store. Thank you for your support and Merry Christmas!

MEET SERENA!

Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.

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