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Gingerbread Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Icing

We love the classic flavor of gingerbread during the holidays. This gingerbread cake recipe is topped with a delicious cream cheese icing.

If you have ever had a Starbucks gingerbread loaf, next time you can skip the line and make this one at home to enjoy every day!

We love a holiday dessert loaf that’s easy to make and so pretty. If you don’t eat it right away, it will look beautiful on your holiday table next to some apple pie bars or peppermint pie.

The sweet ginger flavor combined with the slightly tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect dessert for the holiday season.

Gingerbread Cake slices on plates

What to Buy

To create this easy recipe at home, the following ingredients will be needed. You may even have most of these in your pantry.

Gingerbread Cake Ingredients:

  • Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature) 
  • Granulated White Sugar
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Egg
  • Apple Sauce
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground Cloves
  • Baking Soda
Gingerbread Cake and Icing Ingredients

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese, full fat (softened)
  • Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 

Bake the Cake

Before you start, preheat oven and set to 350°F.

Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×15 bread loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, sprinkle sides and bottom of the baking pan with flour and shake out the excess. Set aside.

Next, cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or by using a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl, until it becomes light and fluffy.

Mix in the other wet ingredients (vanilla, egg, and apple sauce) until well combined.

beat cake ingredients

Gradually sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda) and beat with the mixer on low each time you add in some of the dry ingredients.

Once you have sifted in your flour mixture, mix on high for 2-3 more minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go with a baking spatula. 

Gingerbread cake batter in bowl

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. 

Transfer the baked gingerbread loaf immediately to a wire rack and let cool completely for at least one hour before putting cream cheese icing on top. 

Gingerbread Cake Loaf in Pan and baked with icing

How to Make Cream Cheese Icing

Delicious homemade frosting is a staple for the holiday season if you ask me! This cream cheese icing is quick and easy to whip up while your cake is baking.

Full fat cream cheese is necessary for the best cream cheese icing. Using a lighter version will still work; however, the icing may end up a little too light in texture. 

Also, be sure to let both your butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature before preparing the icing.

To soften the butter just leave on the counter overnight or for 2-3 hours before you want to bake the gingerbread loaf. If you are in a pinch and forgot to get the butter out, you can microwave for 10 seconds at a time until softened. Just make sure you don’t accidentally melt it.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or a separate bowl with a hand mixer, whip the softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

cream cheese icing ingredients

Gradually add in powdered sugar starting with a low speed and moving up to high speed once all the ingredients start to come together.

Then you will whip on high speed until the icing becomes light and airy (approximately 3 minutes).

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until gingerbread loaf is done baking and cooled.

When gingerbread loaf is completely cool, spread the cream cheese icing evenly on top of your loaf. Cut into 12 even slices with a serrated knife and enjoy. 

Gingerbread Cake frosted

How to Store Gingerbread Cake

If you have leftover cake, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months in an airtight container.

Use parchment paper to separate pieces if needed, so they don’t stick together. 

Gingerbread Cake Loaf on plate with bite on fork

Print the Recipe

Having a variety of treats at Christmas time is one of my favorite things. This gingerbread cake is coffee shop delicious and I hope you love it!

Gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing recipe

Gingerbread Cake

Yield: 12 Slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Easy and delicious any time of day and reminiscent of Starbuck's gingerbread loaf, this gingerbread cake recipe with cream cheese icing will have you saying Merry Chrismtas to me!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • 1 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, full fat (softened)
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¾ cups Powdered Sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Gingerbread Cake

  1. Preheat oven to bake at 350°F and grease the sides and bottom of a 9x15 bread loaf pan with oil spray.
  2. Sprinkle sides and bottom of the baking pan with flour. Set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, blend the softened butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the vanilla, egg, and apple sauce until well combined.
  5. Gradually sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda) and beat with the mixer on low each time you add in some of the dry ingredients.
  6. Once you have sifted in all the dry ingredients and they are starting to come together, mix on high for 2-3 more minutes, scraping the side of the bowl as you go with a baking spatula. 
  7. Pour gingerbread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. Transfer the baked gingerbread loaf immediately to a cooling rack and let cool completely for at least one hour before putting cream cheese icing on top. 


Cream Cheese Icing

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla on a medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar starting on a low speed and moving up to high speed once all the ingredients are starting to come together.
  3. Whip on high speed until the icing becomes light and airy (approximately 3 minutes).
  4. Cover bowl with cling wrap and chill in refrigerator until gingerbread loaf is done baking and cooled.
  5. When gingerbread loaf is completely cool, spread the cream cheese icing evenly on top of your loaf.
  6. Cut into 12 even slices and enjoy. 

Notes

  • Full fat cream cheese is necessary for the best cream cheese icing. Using a lighter version will still work; however, the icing may end up a little too light in texture. 
  • To soften the butter just leave on the counter overnight or for 2-3 hours before you want to bake the gingerbread loaf. If you are in a pinch and forgot to get the butter out stick in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until softened. Just make sure you don’t accidentally melt it.
  • If you don’t have butter on hand, you can use margarine instead. Just keep in mind, this may lend a slightly different texture to the cake, but it shouldn’t make too much of a difference. 
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Store this in the freezer for up to 4 months in an airtight container. Use parchment paper to separate pieces if needed, so they don’t stick together. 

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is estimated and may vary based on products used. Please verify with your ingredients.

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