Gingerbread Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting




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moist gingerbread loaf cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate with fork

Gingerbread Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is an easy little baking project to get you in the holiday spirit ~ it’ll make your winter mornings (and afternoons and evenings!) a little brighter, too.

Slices of gingerbread loaf cake on red patterned dessert plates on a white surface.

WAY better than coffee shop gingerbread loaf cake

If you aren’t able to get out to your local coffee shop for those occasional indulgent treats this year, try making this gingery cake yourself, it’s fresher and all around better. This richly textured and spiced loaf cake is slathered with the thickest layer of cream cheese frosting imaginable, because you deserve it.

Batter for gingerbread loaf cake in a stand mixer bowl.

What you’ll need:

When I say this batter is rich, I mean it, but hey ~ it’s the holidays!  Two sticks of butter and 3 eggs make for an indulgently moist loaf that’s rich and dense. A generous amount of molasses and spice mean that you won’t miss that classic gingerbread flavor.

  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • molasses
  • cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice
  • baking powder, baking soda, salt
  • flour
  • cream cheese
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • vanilla

Cream cheese frosting in the bowl of a food processor.

Oh that layer of cream cheese frosting, lay it on thick!

I made my cream cheese frosting right in my food processor, which made a super silky frosting in no-time. There won’t be a lump in sight, promise. It’s my preferred way to do make frosting, but you can also easily make it in a stand mixer or with a pair of electric beaters. Just make sure if you use another method that your ingredients, especially that cream cheese, is at room temperature.

Gingerbread loaf cake on a piece of parchment paper with dollops of cream cheese frosting on top.

The complex flavors of gingerbread develop over time

I actually liked it even better on the second day. The intense flavors of the molasses and the spices meld and bloom overnight. If it works for your schedule, I’d recommend making the loaf one day ahead of when you’d like to serve this bread, wrap the cooled loaf in plastic, and frost when you want to serve it.

Gingerbread freezes beautifully

  • Let the loaf cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic, then in foil.
  • Frost the cake after thawing.

Gingerbread loaf cake sliced, on a piece of parchment paper.

My pretty mismatched red holiday plates were sent to me by Caskata

It’s an artisanal tableware company out of Massachusetts that I’ve recently discovered and love. They make clean lined, modern dishes, glassware, and table linens. These cheery red dessert plates set such a festive mood and put a smile on my face. I’ll be styling some of my holiday recipes with their dishes this season, so keep an eye out for them.

gingerbread loaf cake slices on festive red and white plates

A piece of gingerbread loaf cake with a bite being taken out with a fork.

Gingerbread recipes

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5 from 6 votes

Gingerbread Loaf Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

for the cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 inch loaf pan, and line with parchment paper if desired for easy removal.
  • Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and beat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the molasses and beat briefly to combine.
  • Add the salt, spices, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix briefly to combine.
  • Finally, add in the flour, and mix just until everything is incorporated. I like to finish mixing by hand with a silicone spatula to make sure everything from the sides and bottom of the bowl is well incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 60-65 minutes. This cake doesn't rise into a domed shape like some pound cakes, but it should be a deep gingerbread-y color when done. If the top of the cake is getting too dark before it's done cooking, cover with a small piece of foil.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool partially in the pan before removing to cool fully on a baking rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by adding all of the frosting ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blending until smooth. If you'd like a thicker/stiffer frosting, you can add more powdered sugar. If you'd like a tangier frosting, you can add a bit of lemon juice.
  • When the cake is fully cool, frost with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. You'll have enough frosting for a very generous layer that will fall down the sides of the cake a bit. You can use less if you'd like it to just stay on top of the cake, or even make a half recipe of the frosting if you'd like a thinner layer.

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11 Comments

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  • Reply
    Ophelia Wilson
    November 25, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Hello,
    Instead of using your bundt recipe could I double this recipe and put it in a bundt pan?

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      That would probably work as long as your bundt is a large one, Ophelia.

  • Reply
    Georgia
    November 16, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    5 stars
    When I see something I love on your site I make it asap and I made this today. Sue, I loved it! Mine took a little longer to bake (I blame my oven) but the combination of the cake with the frosting was to die for. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jackee
    November 16, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Sue, my loaf was a disaster! Smelled great and tasted fine. However, the center sunk something terrible. I carefully followed the recipe. Was there a missing ingredient…small amount of buttermilk perhaps? I am an experienced baker and am at a loss to identify the problem. Help!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 16, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      Loaf cakes in general have a tendency to sink a little bit in the middle, it’s due to the shape of the loaf pan, I’m afraid. A little sinking in the center is normal, but it shouldn’t sink drastically. That suggests to me that maybe it didn’t get cooked long enough. Always use my cooking times as suggestions, because ovens and pans can vary so much.

  • Reply
    Colleen
    November 16, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Sue..I can smell your baking from here..Mmm….Question,..do you think this could be made into muffins?

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

      Maybe, but this cake wouldn’t produce muffins with that classic ‘muffin’ texture, if that makes any sense.

  • Reply
    Dee
    November 16, 2020 at 7:08 am

    I’m assuming the ginger in this recipe is dried? How much fresh grated ginger would I use instead? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 16, 2020 at 7:36 am

      Yes, powdered ginger. You can use fresh but go easy, I’d use maybe 2 teaspoons, or to taste.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    November 16, 2020 at 6:26 am

    I can just imagine this as miniloaves, with a pretty ribbon, as a holiday gift. How long would you bake? Any other changes?

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 16, 2020 at 7:39 am

      Yes, bake them in mini loaf pans, but the time will depend on how ‘mini’ your pans are. If, say, you’re using the same batter but dividing it into 4 smaller pans, then the baking time might be about 30-40 minutes. For very small loaves, you’ll have to check earlier.