This Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting is simply perfect for Christmas celebrations! Easy to make and utterly delicious. Decorate with gingerbread cookies or meringue kisses.
You will also love my Gingerbread Cookies
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Posted December 2014 – updated December 2020
When I posted this Christmas cake recipe back in 2014, I had no idea it would become one of the most popular cake recipes on Supergolden Bakes!
It is not just popular with readers, it remains a holiday favourite with our family – it’s our go-to Christmas Cake. I also LOVE seeing your recreations of this cake on Instagram.
Last gingerbread recipe for 2014, cross my heart. I know I have gone slightly gingerbread crazy lately but ’tis the season. And gingerbread in cake form is worth both the effort and the calories.
This ginger cake was made for my son’s nursery and I was madly scrambling to finish it and photograph it before having to deliver it (with a slice missing – I know, terrible, but they are used to my ways…
The cake was a big hit – solidifying my ‘cake lady’ status at nursery. And it is actually so easy to make, fluffy, Christmassy and delicious. I couldn’t resist topping it with the gingerbread cookies but I think the meringue kisses are my new favourite cake decor.
I have made this cake using fresh ginger (grated) instead of the crystallised ginger and also stem ginger. They give different results – the fresh ginger definitely gives a very strong taste which wasn’t terribly popular with my kids.
If you are using stem ginger you can also add a tablespoon or two of the syrup in the frosting. Make sure you cut the ginger into really small pieces before adding to the batter
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD CAKE
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
You can make this gingerbread cake in a food processor or using a hand or stand mixer (check out video in recipe card). I have used a food processor in my video and step photos simply because it is easier to photograph. Both methods yield exactly the same result so go with whatever suits you best.
Step 1. Put all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, raising agents, spices and salt) in the bowl of your food processor fitted with a metal blade. If using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment. Briefly pulse /mix together to combine.
Step 2. Add the cubed butter and pulse /mix together to create a breadcrumb texture. The butter coats the flour grains which will result in a beautiful crumb – this is known as the reverse creaming method.
Step 3. Slowly add the beaten eggs while the processor/mixer is running and mix for 30 seconds. If you are using the stand mixer you might need to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is evenly mixed.
Step 4. Add the treacle (molasses) and orange zest and milk. Mix until the batter is smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl if you are using a stand mixer. Add the chopped ginger and either fold it in or mix briefly to combine.
Step 5. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 25 minutes if you are using 8in tins and 30-35 minutes if using smaller tins. Cool before frosting. The cake can be made up to three days in advance – it keeps beautifully, wrapped in cling film at room temperature.
Making the frosting and assembling the gingerbread layer cake
This is showing the alternative frosting which uses mascarpone. I find mascarpone easier to work with than cream cheese because of the higher fat content. Always use full-fat mascarpone or cream cheese when making frosting! If you have problems with your frosting splitting, follow the cream cheese method in which the cream is whisked first then folded into the cream cheese.
Step 1. Put the mascarpone, icing sugar (powdered sugar), cinnamon and a tablespoon of stem ginger syrup in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Start whisking on lowest speed setting to combine. Increase the speed and gradually add the double (heavy) cream. Whisk until the frosting holds peaks then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large tip (or you can simply add to your cake layers with a palette knife).
Step 2. You might need to level your cake layers before assembling. This is easily done with a cake leveller or you can use a serrated knife. If you are using a leveller, make sure you keep it straight and cut through the cake slowly using a sawing motion.
Step 3. The easiest way to frost the cake is on a small turntable. Add a small dot of frosting to secure the cake on a cake board. Pipe a generous amount of frosting over the bottom cake layer and smooth. Top with the second and repeat. Top with the third layer.
Step 4. Add frosting to the top and sides of the cake and smooth with a palette knife. This is the crumb coating layer and it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Step 5. Chill the cake for 30 minutes then add a clean layer of frosting over the top and sides, smoothing with a side scraper. You can let the cake showing through the frosting for a ‘naked’ cake effect.
Step 6. Add gingerbread cookies to decorate and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Gingerbread Cake Tips and FAQs
Prep ahead – the cake can be made up to three days in advance of filling and frosting. Wrap in clingfilm and keep at room temperature. Do not store unfrosted cakes in the fridge as they will dry out.
Cake decorations – bake a batch of my gingerbread cookies to use as decorations. You can use different shapes like woodland creatures, stars and so on to create a festive scene. Remember to add any decorations just before serving as the frosting will cause them to soften.
Can I freeze this cake? You can freeze the cake layers before frosting for up to a month. Cool completely first. Wrap them really well in clingfilm and then a layer of foil and defrost overnight in the fridge before using.
Gingerbread cupcakes – this recipe will make a large batch of cupcakes. Divide the batter into 24 large cupcake cases and bake for 20-23 minutes at 180C/350F. Cool completely then pipe the frosting over the top. Decorate with mini gingerbread men!
Useful equipment – I always rely on digital scales and measuring spoons for all my baking recipes. Placing the cake on a cake board before decorating is a good idea as it makes it easier to transfer and decorate. I always use a cake lifter to move the cake from a turntable onto a cake stand.
Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
For the gingerbread cake
- 350 g (2 ¾) cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 330 g (1 ⅔) cups dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp salt
- 200 g (¾ cup + 1 heaped tbsp) unsalted butter cubed
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp treacle (molasses) optional
- 1 orange zest only
- 200 ml (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) whole milk
- 1 tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp crystallised ginger very finely diced (optional)
For the frosting
- 300 g | 1 ⅓ cups full-fat cream cheese
- ½ tbsp ground cinnamon or vanilla paste
- 480 ml (2 cups) double cream (heavy cream) whipped to soft peaks
- 250 g (2 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line three 20cm | 8in layers cake tins – or spray with cake release. You can also use three 15cm | 6in cake tins – your cake layers will be taller.
- Sift all the dry ingredients and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs / sand.
- Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the treacle.
- Add the milk, orange or lemon juice, vanilla extract and zest and beat together. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes until batter is smooth.
- Fold the chopped ginger into the batter and divide between the prepared cake tins.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
- Whip the double cream and icing sugar (using your stand mixer) till you have soft peaks. Transfer to another bowl.
- Place the cream cheese and ground cinnamon in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip until soft and fluffy. Slowly add the whipped cream and whip together briefly until combined. Don’t whip for too long.
Assemble the cake
- Add a generous amount of frosting on your bottom cake layer and smooth. Top with the second layer and repeat. Add the third layer and then smooth some frosting over the top and sides of the cake. You can leave the cake showing through to achieve the ‘naked’ cake look or do a crumb coat then chill the cake. Add another layer of frosting and smooth over the cake.
- Top with meringue kisses or gingerbread cookies.
- Make sure all cake ingredients are at room temperature f you are using the all in one method demonstrated in the YouTube video.
- Mascarpone Frosting: For an alternative frosting/filling, whisk 500g (1lb) mascarpone cheese with 200g (7oz) icing sugar. Gradually add 200g (7oz) double cream and whisk until you have firm peaks. If the frosting is too stiff you can add a bit more cream. Add vanilla extract or cinnamon or any other flavourings you like to customise. This method is shown in the recipe video.
- If ginger is not your favourite, try adding some caramel sauce to the frosting instead.