Preheat oven to bake at 350°F and grease the sides and bottom of a 9x15 bread loaf pan with oil spray.
Sprinkle sides and bottom of the baking pan with flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, blend the softened butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy.
Mix in the vanilla, egg, and apple sauce until well combined.
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 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.
Pour gingerbread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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
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.
Gradually add powdered sugar starting on a low speed and moving up to high speed once all the ingredients are starting to come together.
Whip on high speed until the icing becomes light and airy (approximately 3 minutes).
Cover bowl with cling 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 and enjoy.
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.