Gingerbread with Spiced Rum Buttercream

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Gingerbread with Spiced Rum Buttercream ~ a holiday dessert with all the bells and whistles of the old time ginger molasses cake, brought up to speed with a to-die-for spiced rum frosting.

gingerbread with spiced rum buttercream on parchment paper

My mother used to make a square gingerbread cake, I think it was probably from a box mix, and she always topped each piece with a little blob of redi-whip. I loved it, but I have to admit, this one is waaaaay better.

Gingerbread cake

My version is earthy, luxurious, heavily spiced and enriched with a whole cup of molasses. Sometimes you’ll see this kind of gingerbread cake made with fresh ginger, but for some reason I prefer to use only the dried spices, the bite of the fresh ginger seems out of place to me. If you love that zesty flavor, then by all means grate some into this batter.

Most gingerbread cakes are served with a modest dusting of powdered sugar or, like my mom did, a dollop of whipped cream. I’ve stepped it up to include a generous layer of spiced rum buttercream which absolutely makes this cake spectacular. And yes, you can really taste the spiced rum!

Gingerbread with spiced rum buttercream

The light is streaming through the window at a decidedly different angle these days, but Los Angeles is still in the throes of summer. I think we’re the last place in the country to get a whiff of fall. The thermometer read 105 yesterday.
1. 0. 5.
Send good thoughts our way, please.

A slice of Gingerbread with Spiced Rum Buttercream

In the meantime, I offer up the most wonderful, old-timey seasonal dessert, in hopes that it might appease whichever spirits are in charge of cool breezes, nips in the air, and chilly mornings. Just in case your good thoughts aren’t enough. I have to cover all my bases…

a slice of gingerbread with spiced rum buttercream

I loved this cake. And not just because cake is my weak spot. I could barely make it through a quick photo shoot. That first bite, the point, that bit that droops down under the weight of the frosting there, that’s the best part.

Here’s hoping for a cold front from the north!

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3.5 from 6 votes

Gingerbread with Spiced Rum Buttercream

A classic old time gingerbread with a kick!
Course brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour or use more regular flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs

spiced buttercream

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 3 Tbsp Spiced Rum
  • Milk or cream to thin


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Combine the boiling water with the baking soda and set aside.
  • Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the sugar and cream them together well.
  • Add the molasses and water/baking soda mix.
  • Sift together dry ingredients and add them to the wet.
  • Beat in eggs.
  • Pour into a well greased pan. This recipe makes enough batter for a 9x12 rectangle baking pan, but I wanted to use my 9" round springform pan, so I had enough batter left for 6 cupcakes. Go either way, but be sure to grease up your pan well, this cake is sticky.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes for the rectangle, and a little longer for the springform, 40-45 minutes. Cupcakes will take about 14 minutes, till a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, blend the soft butter and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the rum and then the milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time, beating well, until the frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.
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.

Other gingerbread treats to try ~


Gingerbread with Spiced Rum Buttercream ~ a holiday dessert with all the bells and whistles of the old time ginger molasses cake, brought up to speed with a to-die-for spiced rum frosting. #cake #recipe #authentic #easy #molasses #dessert #Christmas #rum @spicedrum #frosted #spicecake

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I want to make this cake in a silicon house mold. Do you think it will slip out of the mold and hold its shape?

    • Reply
      October 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      This is an older recipe, Karen, so I’m going by memory, but as I recall it’s a fairly sturdy cake, and it should work in a silicone mold.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Goodness, this sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I made this and it was dry. What did I do wrong?

    • Reply
      December 21, 2014 at 8:58 am

      I can’t imagine what would make this cake dry…possibly your oven was too hot? And make sure you measured your flour carefully…I always fluff it first, then scoop it lightly and level it off. With all that molasses, and the brown sugar, and almond flour, this cake should be extra moist. I hope you give it another try, Lisa.

      • Reply
        December 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        Ok, so I didn’t use almond flour. I used more regular flour. But the recipe said I could? One thing I did screw up, I will admit, is I added baking powder to the boiling water instead of soda. So I substituted soda at the end of the recipe. Would that make a difference. Both were added, but just not in the right order.

        • Reply
          December 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm

          Well, I’m not sure what happened, but with baking you can never tell, even the littlest things can end up making big changes. I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you. If you like gingerbread, I highly recommend the Copycat Starbuck’s Gingerbread that I posted last week:, it’s good and very moist! Have a wonderful holiday Lisa!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Yum. I just took this out of the oven n my house smells so heavenly.

  • Reply
    Shiloh Barkley
    October 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    This looks really good! Found you on saving room for dessert!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2012 at 1:35 am

    OMG, it’s finally sufficiently fall to have gingerbread! Hooray! It looks so moist and sticky and delicious. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 5, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Wow, Sue, that looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    October 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I didn’t know I liked gingerbread that much until I read your wonderful description Sue! Now I’m feeling all old fashioned and wanting to fire up the oven! This looks fantastic!
    Oh and don’t feel too deprived; here in NC the last few days have been nasty – humid and hot and not at all what I have in mind for this time of the year!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks Chris, I did hear that the south was getting hit with the hot weather too. Does anybody still argue that global warming is a sham?

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    October 4, 2012 at 7:26 am

    dark dark gingerbread – tick
    deeply intense autumnal spices – tick
    spiced rum buttercream – hick (sorry, tick)
    divine little cake – tick x

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    October 4, 2012 at 6:51 am

    How good does this look!! You can’t beat some of the old fashion recipes. This is a definite pin.

  • Reply
    l o v e l y t h i n g s
    October 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This looks so good….I can practically smell it from here. 105º in October! Of course I miss CA in some ways, but i am enjoying a bit of fall.

  • Reply
    Cathy at Wives with Knives
    October 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Yum, I love homemade gingerbread. My mother used to serve it with warm lemon sauce and whipped cream. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I actually have some spiced rum in the cupboard so I can make your frosting. Luscious photos, Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      The thought of lemon sauce on it makes my mouth water, too. I think lemon and ginger is a British favorite, I love those Carr’s lemon filled ginger cookies, and now that you’ve mentioned it, I would love to make something with that combination.

  • Reply
    james Nicolas
    October 4, 2012 at 6:54 am

    ooh..looks beautiful! i hope this can be perfect to gift my wife on her birthday but I was thinking more along the lines of a fruity scent.

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    October 4, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Ohhh I love gingerbread and that frosting must put it over the top. We used to have gingerbread with raisins and always on the table with fried chicken. Go figure. Out temps were down to 29F at 5am this am…..wish I could send some your way. Can’t wait to make this one.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Gingerbread and fried chicken sounds amazing, I love it when I hear of something like that, that I’ve never heard of. Now I have to look it up, you’ve piqued my curiosity.

  • Reply
    Vicki Bensinger
    October 4, 2012 at 1:56 am

    This cake looks so incredibly moist. I love the spiced buttercream frosting too. Great recipe and perfect for the fall and Thanksgiving dessert table. I’m printing this.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Yep, that whole cup of molasses takes care of the moist part for sure! I think it would be beautiful for the holidays, in fact I kicked myself that I didn’t photograph it with some sugared cranberries on top. But the rustic look was nice, too. The frosting was soooo good.

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    October 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I love gingerbread! This recipe looks like it produces a substantial g’bread which is the best kind.
    In exchange for the recipe, I’m prepared to offer you a package deal containing one week of fall weather and one week of -40 February weather! You don’t have to thank me – I’m just glad to share (;-D

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    October 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I’d go to this old school anytime! Love the smell of cakes with spices. Can I just come over and sniff it for a while?

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Looks delicious. One question: does the cake call for 2 or 4 eggs total? Your recipe lists “2 eggs” in two areas, but in the earlier listing (with the butter, sugar and molasses) there is no mention of actually incorporating 2 eggs. Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much for spotting that error, I really do rely on careful readers to alert me 🙂 I fixed it in the recipe, there are only 2 eggs.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    OOh all these fall looking desserts look fabulous. I was just checking out Amy’s pumpkin bread and then clicked over here and saw your gingerbread cake. I love using molasses in baking! Love, love!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Don’t you wish we could be taking a bite of everything as we clicked from blog to blog? Sometimes I have to stop reading because I can’t take the constant frustration!

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    October 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Mmm, I’m having lunch right now, and I’d love a slice before the students come in!!! Looks delicious! I’ll bet your home smelled heavenly while it was baking!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Ohhh I make a gingerbread cake that I like, but it’s more of a “snacking cake,” if you know what I mean. With that cup of molasses, this looks dark and deep. Can’t wait to make this later in the year. And in the meantime, I hope LA gets a little chillier.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      The kind my mom made was more of a snacking cake, too, it was lighter in color. Still good, just different. I’m really rediscovering gingerbread flavors lately, but I’m not a huge fan of the cookies.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    oooooooh my goodness! That cake sounds heavenly. I’m so sorry about your weather. My fall baking has benefited from the fact that I am in a much cooler area than you are right now. A friend in Phoenix mentioned that they are well over 100 still and I just kept my mouth shut. Not to jinx it or anything, but the 50s felt incredibly chilly at oh-dark-thirty this morning. I just might cry when we head back to the heat in AZ week after next! Here’s hoping and wishing and praying cooler weather will find you SOON!

  • Reply
    Karen Robbins
    October 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Looks great! But I don’t know what spiced rum is? Alcohol, or a spice?

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Spiced rum is a type of rum, naturally flavored with spices. You could also use plain rum, or plain rum and a little bit of the spices from the cake.

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