Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread

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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.

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.

Better than Starbuck's Gingerbread Loaf

Do you love to copy Starbucks as much as I do?  Try my other copy cat recipes~

Copy Cat Starbucks Gingerbread
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Copy Cat Starbucks Gingerbread


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup applesauce (or pear sauce, or apple butter) I used a 15 oz can of pears, drained and pureed
  • 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 - 3 cups confectioner's sugar


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Spray a 9x5 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.
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and the egg.
  4. Blend in the applesauce.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Let cool completely on a rack before frosting.
  8. 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.
  9. Spread a thick layer of the frosting over the gingerbread. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg.


This recipe makes ALOT of 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

Make it your own ~



Don’t forget to Pin this CopyCat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf!

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread ~ skip the trip to the pricey coffee shop and make your own moist and perfectly spiced frosted gingerbread. #copycatrecipe #starbuckscopycat #holidaydessert #cake #quickbread #spicecake #breakfast #ginger #holidaybreakfast #foodgift


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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    Mayra Salgado
    December 22, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    This recipe is amazing! I’ve never had the Starbucks version, but this was SO delicious.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    the flavor was good, mine rose beautifully…but i feel like it needed to be richer. Perhaps a little oil 1/4 c ? and some molasses would get me to the dense richness i am craving lol. I also feel like a bit of honey would give some more depth in the flavor. I did use unsweetened applesauce …

  • Reply
    December 1, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Hi there. I loved the flavours in this – but mine didn’t rise, and actually sank in the middle. Should there have been baking powder in the recipe?

    • Reply
      December 1, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      I’m not sure what might have happened to cause that, is it possible it wasn’t cooked in the middle?

  • Reply
    November 21, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    It says 11/2 cups of flour – don’t understand???

    • Reply
      November 21, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      That’s 1 and 1/2 cups.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 7:55 am

    For how long do you bake it for? you put the temperature of the oven only.

    • Reply
      November 20, 2018 at 11:41 am

      The recipe says to cook for 55 minutes, Danielle. I always like to take a peek earlier just in case the oven is running hotter than expected.

  • Reply
    Mariadelpilar Anderson
    January 18, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    You are AMAIZING thank you for all the recipes and the effort you do it for us .
    I made The Gingerbread Loaf was Delicious my Family loves and I can’t said is a Copycat because and my opinion is better then Starbucks.
    Thank you .

  • Reply
    December 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Have you ever used some brown sugar or molasses?

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      This particular recipe doesn’t call for it, but I think it’s worth experimenting with Mary.

    • Reply
      Auntie Ruthie
      July 14, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      I make one version of gingerbread with Black Strap and dark brown sugar.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2017 at 9:21 am

    This was so delicious! But it didn’t taste like gingerbread to me. And it wasn’t even close to being that rich brown gingerbread color. It looked and tasted more like a spice cake. I’m definitely going to continue to make it even though I didn’t get gingerbread out of it!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Did you use the full amounts of spices, Kristina? They really make a difference, especially the tsp of cloves. You might try adding some molasses next time, substitute a tablespoon for a small amount of the applesauce.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Could I use a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan?

    • Reply
      April 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

      I don’t think there would be enough batter, Sara. I do plan to do a gingerbread bundt cake next fall, so keep an eye out for that. But in the meantime, you’d have to experiment with doubling the recipe. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Sherry Casper
    January 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Two Questions:
    1.) What is crystalline ginger? And how would you sub into the cake part?
    2.) how would you sub in the molasses? what would you take out…or how much would you put in.

    • Reply
      January 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Crystalline ginger is candied ginger, Sherry. You can put it in the cake if you like, or scatter it on top. I haven’t made this with molasses so I think you’d have to experiment. You might try replacing some of the applesauce for starters, maybe 1/4 cup.

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