Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread

The best gingerbread ever!

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread ~ skip the trip to the pricey coffee shop and make your own moist and perfectly spiced frosted gingerbread. It’s just right for breakfast, brunch, coffee break or dessert.

A moist spicy gingerbread loaded with cream cheese frosting

I got a sudden craving for Starbucks Gingerbread the other day, but I was way too busy to stand on one of their famous lines, and anyway, it’s been pouring buckets here in California, and I just blow-dried my hair… so there was no way I was going out in that. I wish they’d get that whole drone thing figured out soon, it would really help. But you probably already figured out that this story has a happy ending. 

My copycat version is divine. It’s everything you dream of in a gingerbread, plus a heaping layer of cream cheese frosting. I say copycat, but in truth, it’s much much better than anything you could buy. The spicing is fresh and rich, the cake itself is extra moist, and the top heavy load of frosting makes it decadent and a little quirky. Definitely not mass produced. And it gets even better after a night in the fridge, so it’s pretty perfect for Christmas morning.

Putting the cream cheese frosting on the gingerbread

This recipe has been floating around the Internet for some time, and it’s really very good. It has a similar texture to my Spiced Apple Cake, probably because both recipes rely on fruit puree to create an extra moist crumb. The spice cake uses apple butter, and this recipe calls for applesauce, but I didn’t have any, and because of all that rain, I raided my cabinets for an alternative. I came up with a can of pears, which I drained and pureed in my little food processor…I think it was an inspired choice.

Gingerbread Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

The frosting needs no introduction. It’s a classic cream cheese, dusted with some freshly grated nutmeg. Have I sung the praises of fresh nutmeg enough? I probably have, but I’ll do it again in case some of you are new 😉  I ONLY buy whole nutmeg, never the ground stuff. I use a simple microplane grater to shave off just what I need. The flavor and the scent is out of this world. Taste it in your mind’s eye…I know you can.

Gingerbread Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

You will love this, I have no doubt. Make it with confidence for company. It’s that good. One warning — I don’t think this would be ideal to wrap and give as a gift because all that cream cheese frosting stays relatively soft. I think it would get messed up, just saying. But that’s just all the more reason to treat yourself.

Do you love to copy Starbucks as much as I do?

Better than Starbuck's Gingerbread Loaf

“Oh My Goodness – this is truly the BEST Gingerbread I EVER tasted!! This was fabulous. Will be making this again very soon.”  


3.39 from 153 votes

Copy Cat Starbucks Gingerbread

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread ~ skip the trip to the pricey coffee shop and make your own moist and perfectly spiced frosted gingerbread.  It’s just right for breakfast, brunch, coffee break or dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Yield 10 servings
Calories 442kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • standard 9×5 loaf pan


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 cup applesauce (also use apple butter)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

cream cheese frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, plus more if needed


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Spray a 9×5 loaf pan lightly with cooking spray, and then, if you like, line it with parchment paper leaving the ends long so you can lift it out when it’s cool.
  • Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and the egg.
  • Blend in the applesauce.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and then add it to the bowl slowly. When everything is incorporated, turn the batter into your pan and smooth it out.
  • Bake for about 55 minutes, or until it is risen and a toothpick comes out clean. Loaf pans and ovens can vary greatly, use your common sense to tell you when your cake is done. Check it early.
  • Let cool completely on a rack before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and then add 2 1/2 cups of the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add a little more sugar if it’s not as thick as you like.
  • Spread a thick layer of the frosting over the gingerbread. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

Cook’s notes

  • If you love the flavor of fresh ginger, add crystallized ginger to the bread, and sprinkle more on top of the frosting.
  • If you love gingerbread spices, try my Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake or my Gingerbread ice Cream!
  • This recipe makes ALOT of frosting…you could probably get away with halving it if you don’t care for such a decadently thick layer.
*My recipe is adapted from The Restaurant Recipe Blog


Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 425mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 621IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    5 stars
    I made this Gluten Free last year & it was amazing! Flavor & textures were wonderful! This will definitely be made again for Christmas gifting!!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2020 at 7:54 am

    3 stars
    I made this recipe and found that it had little flavor of ginger, and could have used something like molassas to give it more flavor.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    This looks and sounds sooooooo yummy, but many of us in my family are gluten-free. Would the texture or ability to rise suffer if I used almond flour? Thanks Sue! LOVE your recipes and your photographs are gorgeous!!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Mariah ~ I’m not sure just almond flour would have enough structure for this quick bread, I might try a good quality gf baking mix instead. And thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    March 7, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Oh My Goodness – this is truly the BEST Gingerbread I EVER tasted!! This was fabulous. Will be making this again very soon.

    • Reply
      March 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks Bee!

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