Gingerbread Layer Cake

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A unique gingerbread recipe just in time for the holidays, today’s Gingerbread Layer Cake features a light gingerbread-flavored cake, cream cheese frosting, and simple decorations, making it the perfect easy Christmas cake for your celebrations!

     You won't believe how fluffy, light and incredibly flavorful this super simple Gingerbread Cake is! The perfect Christmas cake for gingerbread fans!

Gingerbread Cake Recipe

This recipe is for true gingerbread fans only!

I love making homemade gingerbread cookies with my daughter every Christmas, but to be honest, they are a lot of work. The dough requires a strong arm (or a heavy duty electric mixer), refrigeration, rolling out… and re-rolling, and re-rolling until you get all of the gingerbread shapes you can out of that dough.

We’ll always make a big batch every year… but after that, I like to come up with unique gingerbread-inspired recipes to satisfy my gingerbread cravings (without all that work), like our:

This light and airy – yet ridiculously flavorful – gingerbread layer cake is super simple to make, but you absolutely need to follow the directions.

For example, if you don’t beat the butter and sugar together for the full 3-4 minutes (until very pale colored and fluffy in texture), the final cake will not be light and fluffy. It will instead be tough and dense, which aren’t words you ever want to describe a cake.

I decorated my gingerbread layer cake very simply, with store-bought gingerbread cookies, a simple snow-inspired piping technique, and just a touch of Christmas-inspired sprinkles around the bottom to give a pop of color.

 

What can I use to replace the molasses? First of all, how dare you… molasses is the black honey of the gods and should be cherished as such… However, if you’re making this cake for one of those weird people who don’t like molasses, you can substitute it with honey, black treacle, or golden syrup. Corn syrup can also work but it will make for a very sweet cake. Maple syrup and blue agave are too thin (not viscous enough) to be used.

Can I freeze this cake? Yes, you can freeze the baked, unfrosted layers of this cake by wrapping in plastic wrap and then storing in airtight zip-top bags. Some people also don’t mind freezing the frosting and bringing to room temperature before using, but I prefer to make that fresh just before frosting.

 

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients

Tip: feel free to adjust the baking spices according to your personal preferences. I like a lot of ginger and cinnamon in my gingerbread, and tend not to buy allspice since it’s called for in so few recipes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

Optional Gingerbread Cake Decorations

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Three 8″ round cake pans
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
  • Large bowl
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Cake plate
  • Serrated knife or cake leveler
  • Offset spatula
  • Pastry bag fit with a large round tip <– a basic piping set like this one will have everything you need

How to Make a Gingerbread Cake

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Spray the three cake pans with baking spray, and then line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cream together until light and fluffy, at least 3-4 minutes.

Add the molasses and vanilla to the mixing bowl and mix well until fully combined. (Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, when needed, to ensure the batter is consistent.)

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Set aside.

In another large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt). Stir well and set aside.

In a small measuring cup (or bowl), combine the milk and water. Set aside.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the cake batter. Mix until well incorporated and no dry patches exist.

Pour in the milk and water mixture and beat until well combined. (Batter may take on a curdled appearance, this is normal – don’t worry.)

Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine thoroughly until the batter is completely smooth.

Divide the cake batter between the three prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes. (Or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

Allow the cakes to cool slightly (about 2-3 minutes) before upturning the pans onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Slowly add in half of the powdered icing sugar, then add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until smooth, then add the remaining half of the powdered icing sugar.

 

Assemble the Cake:

Use a large serrated knife (or the dental floss method) to remove the curved domes from the top of each cake layer. (You can dispose of these, or use them to make cake pops.)

Position the first layer of the cake on your chosen serving plate.

Place approximately 3/4 cup of the cream cheese frosting on the bottom layer, and use an offset spatula to smooth it out in an even layer all the way out to the edges.

Place the second cake layer over top, and repeat, then the third layer.

Apply a generous coat of frosting all over the cake, sealing in any crumbs and ensuring none of the cake is peeking through.

Scoop the remaining frosting into the prepared pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and use it to pipe dollops around the top of the cake. (Use consistent pressure on the piping bag and flick your wrist to stop the flow of frosting between dollops.)

Sprinkle the top of the cake with additional nutmeg, if desired.

Add the gingerbread men and rosemary to the top of the cake. Use your hands to pour the Christmas sprinkles around the bottom 1″-2″ of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. (Cake is best served at room temperature.)

 

Pin this Super Simple Gingerbread Cake Recipe:

Grab your free printable for our gingerbread layer cake recipe:

Yield: 1 3 layer cake, 12-14 slices

Gingerbread Layer Cake

Gingerbread Layer Cake

A fun twist on a classic gingerbread cake, this Gingerbread Layer cake with cream cheees frosting is decorated with miniature gingerbread cookies. A gorgeous Christmas cake for your Christmas parties.

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups powdered icing sugar (or more, as needed)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg

Optional Gingerbread Cake Decorations

  • Small Gingerbread men
  • Rosemary
  • Christmas sprinkles

Instructions

How to Make a Gingerbread Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray the three cake pans with baking spray, and then line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cream together until light and fluffy, at least 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the molasses and vanilla to the mixing bowl and mix well until fully combined. (Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, when needed, to ensure the batter is consistent.)
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Set aside.
  6. In another large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt). Stir well and set aside.
  7. In a small measuring cup (or bowl), combine the milk and water. Set aside.
  8. Add half of the dry ingredients to the cake batter. Mix until well incorporated and no dry patches exist.
  9. Pour in the milk and water mixture and beat until well combined. (Batter may take on a curdled appearance, this is normal - don't worry.)
  10. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine thoroughly until the batter is completely smooth.
  11. Divide the cake batter between the three prepared cake pans.
  12. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes. (Or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)
  13. Allow the cakes to cool slightly (about 2-3 minutes) before upturning the pans onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add in half of the powdered icing sugar, then add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until smooth, then add the remaining half of the powdered icing sugar.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Use a large serrated knife (or the dental floss method) to remove the curved domes from the top of each cake layer. (You can dispose of these, or use them to make cake pops.)
  2. Position the first layer of the cake on your chosen serving plate.
  3. Place approximately 3/4 cup of the cream cheese frosting on the bottom layer, and use an offset spatula to smooth it out in an even layer all the way out to the edges.
  4. Place the second cake layer over top, and repeat, then the third layer.
  5. Apply a generous coat of frosting all over the cake, sealing in any crumbs and ensuring none of the cake is peeking through.
  6. Scoop the remaining frosting into the prepared pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and use it to pipe dollops around the top of the cake. (Use consistent pressure on the piping bag and flick your wrist to stop the flow of frosting between dollops.)
  7. Sprinkle the top of the cake with additional nutmeg, if desired.
  8. Add the gingerbread men and rosemary to the top of the cake. Use your hands to pour the Christmas sprinkles around the bottom 1"-2" of the cake.
  9. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. (Cake is best served at room temperature.)

Notes

Tip: feel free to adjust the baking spices according to your personal preferences. I like a lot of ginger and cinnamon in my gingerbread, and tend not to buy allspice since it's called for in so few recipes.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

14

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 632Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 130gFiber: 1gSugar: 107gProtein: 7g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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Do you have a special occasion coming up that this gingerbread layer cake would be perfect for?

For more delicious Christmas layer cakes, check out our Homemade Rudolph Cake or our Fluffy Eggnog Cake.

 

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