This Gingerbread Cake with cream cheese frosting is synonymous with the holidays. This pretty sheet cake is a fun way to present it using gingerbread cookies as a garnish. You can serve it for holiday brunch with the family or as a festive dessert.
Easy Gingerbread Cake Recipe
Gingerbread recipes are synonymous with the holidays! This Gingerbread Cake is festive dessert to serve for family gatherings, office parties or entertaining. How to make a sheet pan Gingerbread Cake: (Scroll down for full printable recipe).
- Cake Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, use a whisk to sift together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. Set aside.
- Creamed Ingredients – In a separate large bowl use a hand mixer to combine butter, light brown sugar and molasses on high speed for about two minutes or until well blended.
- To the bowl add the eggs and vanilla beating until well combined.
- Combine – To combine the two, lower the speed of the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients. Beat just until you no longer see streaks of white flour. Be careful not to overmix this or the cake will not rise properly when baked and it will have a gummy-like texture.
- Buttermilk – Add all of the buttermilk to the bowl beating on low just until combined.
- To the bowl add the remaining half of the sifted dry ingredients to the cake batter (on low speed). Beat on low speed until you no longer see streaks of dry ingredients or large lumps in the batter.
- Pour the batter evenly onto a prepared jelly roll pan and bake in a preheated 350°F oven per the recipe. Test the center with a toothpick inserted into the middle it should come back clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven allowing to cool completely in the pan before frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract together until smooth.
- Lower the mixer speed and gradually add the powdered sugar beating on medium-low until fully mixed in. Increase to high then beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Smooth an even layer of frosting over the top of the cooled cake and decorate as desired.
- You can use a piping bag with a large round top to decorate the edge then sprinkle with gingersnap cookie crumbs and arrange gingerbread men cookies as desired.
- Store frosted cake covered and chilled.
How to Make the BEST Gingerbread Cake Recipe
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Gingerbread Cake: All purpose flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cloves or allspice, ground nutmeg, unsalted butter, light or dark brown sugar, unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap), large eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk.
- Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: Plain cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
- Decoration: Gingersnap cookies and gingerbread men for decorating the top.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: Measuring cups and spoons, stand mixer or hand mixer large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, spatula, 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan or 13 x 9 inch baking pan, parchment paper, icing spatula and cooling rack.
- Should you choose to bake this cake in a 13 x 9 inch pan, the cake will be thicker and may take longer to bake. Always test the center looking for a clean toothpick before removing from the oven.
- It is important to measure out the flour accurately. Too much or too little flour will affect how the cake turns out. To accurately measure the flour, either use a food scale to measure out the grams exactly or use the spoon and scoop method. The spoon and scoop method means you put the measuring cup on the counter then use a spoon to scoop flour directly out of the bag then lightly sprinkle it into the cup. If you use the measuring cup to scoop flour directly from the bag, you’ll likely end up with 25% more flour than you actually need because the flour gets packed down into the cup.
- Use the block style of cream cheese, not the spreadable kind you’d put on a bagel for the frosting.
- It is important to let the cream cheese soften to room temperature before using it in this frosting recipe. Be sure to beat the softened cream cheese with the softened butter and vanilla extract until smooth before adding in the confectioners’ sugar. If you’ve already combined everything together and you want to try to save your chunky frosting, let the frosting sit out a room temperature for about 30 minutes then beat on high again once the cream cheese has softened a bit.
- Why do some ingredients need to be room temperature for this recipe? Having all ingredients around the same temperature helps all the ingredients to blend together properly.
- Be sure the cake has cooled before trying to remove it from the cake pan. Before frosting, place a wire rack covered with parchment paper (to prevent sticking) on top of the cake (parchment side on top of the cake then the wire rack on top of parchment paper so the wire rack is facing your hands) then flip the cake pan upside down so the cake is now upside down on the parchment lined wire rack. Remove the cake pan from the cake carefully then place the cake board on the cake (this cake board will be on the bottom of the cake) and flip it back over again so the cake is now the right side up on the cake board.
- Store cream cheese frosted Gingerbread Cake covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
More Holiday Dessert Recipes to Make
- Hello Dolly Bars are a must make for your holiday goodies tray.
- You’ll love my take on this New York Style Cheesecake Recipe.
- No time to bake? Make this Holiday inspired Christmas Dessert Board for snacking.
- Single serving Gingerbread Cupcakes.
- This dipped Chocolate Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers are a vintage treat that never gets old.
- Cute as a button Santa Hat Brownies.
- Classic cutout Gingerbread Cookies can be made into any shape you like and decorated to suit your fancy.
- Gingerbread Cookie Truffles from Six Sisters Stuff.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 12 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- gingersnap cookies and gingerbread men for decorating the top
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15” x 10” inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper (leave parchment paper slighter higher than the sides of the pan so it’s easier to lift the cake out after). Lightly spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray then set aside. (You can also bake this cake in a 13 x 9 inch pan.)
- Cake Batter: In a medium bowl, use a whisk to sift together flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl use an electric mixer to beat butter, light brown sugar and molasses on high speed for 2 minutes or until well blended.
- To the creamed mixture add eggs and vanilla beating on high until mixture is well combined (about 1 minute).
- Lower the speed of the mixer and beat 1/2 of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Beat just until you no longer see streaks of white flour. Be careful not to overmix this or the cake will not rise properly when baked and it will have a gummy-like texture.
- To the bowl add all of the buttermilk beating on low just until combined. Add the remaining 1/2 of the dry ingredients into the cake batter on low speed. Only beat the mixture until you no longer see streaks of dry ingredients or large lumps in the batter. Scrap the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and use a spatula to evenly distribute the cake batter.
- Bake for 35-37 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove cake from oven allowing to cool completely before frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract together. Whip for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Lower the speed of the mixer, gradually adding the powdered sugar beating on medium-low until fully mixed in, then beat on high until smooth, around 2 minutes.
- Decorate: Smooth an even layer of frosting over the top of the cooled cake and decorate as desired. Use a piping bag with a large round top to decorate the edge then sprinkle with crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs and arrange gingerbread men as desired.
- Store frosted cake covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.