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Loved by kids and adults alike, this old-fashioned gingerbread is the perfect treat to keep on hand during the holidays.

Old-fashioned gingerbread is the perfect treat to keep on hand during the holidays. There are many variations – from dark, dense cakes made with robust molasses and stout beer to light and delicate cakes flavored only with brown sugar and a hint of ground ginger. This recipe, adapted from Cooking with Memories by Lora Brody, strikes a happy medium. It’s dark and gingery enough to please even most serious gingerbread aficionados yet also mild enough for young children. It’s also quick and easy to make. The batter is mixed by hand and comes together in 10 minutes, and the finished cake needs nothing more than a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go along with it.

What you’ll need to make Gingerbread

gingerbread ingredients

I use Grandma’s Original unsulphured molasses but any brand will work. Just make sure not to purchase blackstrap molasses; it’s quite bitter and would have a significant impact on the flavor of the cake.

Step-by-Step Instructions

dry ingredients in bowl

Begin by combining the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a large bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

whisking dry ingredients

Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl.

melted butter

Whisk in the brown sugar, molasses, and boiling water. When the mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the egg. (If the mixture is too hot, it will cook the egg.)

whisking in the brown sugar, molasses, boiling water, and egg

Add the dry ingredients.

whisking the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients

Whisk until there are no more lumps.

whisked gingerbread batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

gingerbread batter in prepared pan ready to bakeBake for about 35 minutes.

baked gingerbread cooling on rack

Let cool slightly, then slice and serve warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

slice of gingerbread

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Loved by kids and adults alike, this old-fashioned gingerbread is the perfect treat to keep on hand during the holidays.

Servings: Makes 1 9-inch square cake (about 16 servings)
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup mild-flavored molasses, such as Grandma's Original (not Robust or Blackstrap)
  • ⅔ cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-in square pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy. (Alternatively, grease the pan with butter and lightly coat with flour.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, and boiling water. When the mixture is luke warm, whisk in the egg.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined and there are no more lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges look dark and the middle feels firm to the touch. Set the pan on a rack to cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve. This cake is best served warm out of the oven or reheated.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The gingerbread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 square
  • Calories: 138
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 163 mg
  • Cholesterol: 19 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Without a doubt, the best gingerbread recipe ever. It may be better then my mothers.

    • — Christine Rivard on July 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I loved it!! I made some changes since I live in another country. I just changed the molasses for jataí’s honey (brazilian bee), made with orange leaves (it’s very citrusy). And since I boiled the water, I made a hortelã infusion (a kind of a mint).

    • — Thomas on June 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have been making this cake for approximately 2 years – once discovered it on the once upon a chef site. Wonderful, moist cake – so easy to put together. We eat it with Devon custard, raspberries, ice cream or as is. A great idea when you have guests coming to visit to have a coffee with your, or any time!

    I cook many of the recipes from this site and have yet to encounter a dud! Thank you so much!

    • — Gail on June 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I just made this gingerbread, took it out of the oven and didn’t even let it cool before I sampled a square. It tastes wonderful. My husband is going to love it. The only thing I added to the recipe was 1/4 cup of freshly grated ginger. This is definitely going to be added to my recipe box of favourites. Thank you.

    • — Ann Standish on May 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Cake looks and smells wonderful, is it possible to freeze this cake? Love your recipes
    Margaret W..

    • — Margaret W. on March 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Margaret, it will freeze nicely. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 18, 2022
      • Reply
      • Great recipe but didn’t say oven temperature. I did 350 convection for 33 minutes. Smells divine.

        • — Chira143 on April 3, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn! I made this recipe on December 23,2021! It was served on Christmas Day to my family and enjoyed by all! I loved it & it brought back many childhood memories of my grandmother’s. It was my 1st time and it was so easy! Many thanks! Btw it was very moist!

    • — Judy in Houston on March 9, 2022
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  • I was suddenly in the mood for gingerbread cake, but didn’t have a lot of time to make it (newborn in the house!). I found this recipe via Google search and loved how quick and easy it was to pull together. I was especially happy about the final result! Delish, and it is such a lovely, fluffy cake! The oven time was perfect too. Thank you for sharing this. I’ll be making it again and again.

    • — Jenny on March 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is sooo good i can’t even describe how good. I added a bit more ginger because i love the spices. I just made it and can’t stop eating it. Thank you ❤️

    • — Eszter on February 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made it and it was good, but it doesn’t say how much molasses. I had to guess at it. I used 1/3 cup, now think I should have used more.

    • — Inise Mullins on February 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Inise, You must have missed the amount, but it actually calls for 2/3 cup. Glad you enjoyed it nevertheless!

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • This recipe has my hubby who normally doesn’t really like ginger bread asking for “more please!”😋

    Easy to make and follow!!

    • — Celeste Johnston on February 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • So easy to make and turns out DIVINE!! Very moist and flavorful. My husband couldn’t get enough of it!

    • — Paula on February 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was simply delicious. It is truly the best gingerbread I have ever had. Thank you!

    • — Tina Martin on January 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Made it and baked it exactly according to the recipe which worked out perfectly. This was the first time using our new stove which is always risky but it was a success.
    THANK YOU! It’s a keeper.

    • — Shari on January 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • It was delicious! Loved by adults with a cup of coffee, grandchildren loved it too!

    • — KK on January 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I made this yesterday for my husband’s birthday. He loves gingerbread and he raved about how good the cake was.
    It will definitely be my go to gingerbread recipe from now on!

    • — Claudia Torres on January 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • My aunt invented this recipe – it’s really good – – hers makes a larger cake and there is an orange Topping. If you want to make it with gluten free flour, add an extra egg.

    • — Susan Brown on January 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello Jenn…
    Is it OK to use light brown sugar instead of dark brown?

    • — Terri Bakos on December 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this as the finish to a large, special Christmas dinner. First, it was easy to make and didn’t demand much oven space/time. Second, it was delicious. As a matter of fact, my dad managed to pack away two large pieces. Thank you!

    • — Debbie on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Last Christmas a guest requested I bring a gingerbread cake for dinner. This type of cake was not something my family ate so I turned to the Internet and found this recipe. I made the cake for the same friend’s birthday and now have just made it for Christmas dinner again. Everyone loved it. It is great with cream – either liquid or whipped. I like how simple the ingredients are. I live at an altitude of 1045 m, and no changes to the recipe or baking time were required. I baked it in a Pyrex casserole dish. It freezes very well, and thaws quite quickly.

    • — Stephanie on December 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thank you so much for the lovely gingerbread recipe. First time good luck in my case, and for this special occasion, Chritmas. Cannot contain the excitement and joy 🙂 God bless.

    • — Peter on December 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can gluten-free flour be used?

    • — Morgan on December 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Morgan, I haven’t tried it but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2021
      • Reply
      • It was so good…i♥️it…I like baking and this was easy and delicious….I didn’t know how hard it was gonna be and I’m only 10….next time I want to make tea with it…⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐♥️thanx shayla

        • — shayla on June 29, 2022
        • Reply
        • So glad you liked it Shayla, and good for you for already baking at 10!! 🙂

          • — Jenn on June 30, 2022
          • Reply
  • I baked a double recipe and spread it out over 6 tiny loaf pans to give as gifts. It is superb gingerbread! I love it!

    • — Eve Paludan on December 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi! Great recipe! did not find mild-flavored molasses. Just the original grandmama molasses. How can I use it with your recipe? Should I used just 1/3 of a cup and add 1/3 of water? Or replace with syrup?
    Thank you!!!!!

    • — Natalia Rodriguez on December 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Natalia, That is the brand I use, so no changes necessary. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • If I want to make this in a traditional Bundt pan how would I alter the measurements/bake time? This sounds so delicious! Thank you.

    • — Elaina Dulong on December 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Elaina, You’d probably need to double the recipe for a Bundt cake – and I’d cook for about an hour but definitely keep an eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you! Can’t wait to add this to my Christmas menu. Happy holidays!

        • — Elaina on December 21, 2021
        • Reply
  • Swoonworthy is an appropriate adjective for food, right? Because this is INCREDIBLE. Moist and tender in the middle, with that almost brownie-like crust layer on the outside. Merry freaking Christmas to me.

    • — Jamie on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can crystallized ginger be added? Thx

    • — Marie on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • I haven’t tried it, but I think that would work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • Absolutely terrific recipe! My family loved it, will definitely be making again. This is exactly like the gingerbread I ate as a kid and it brought back lovely memories! Thank you!

    • — Nancy on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I would like to try this as a yule log. Do you think that doubling your recipe be enough for a 12×18 pan? Any recommendations or tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • — Barb on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Barb, I think you’d need to triple the recipe for a 12 x 18“ pan. I don’t have any particular recommendations but not 100% sure it will roll nicely for a Yule log. If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Very quick and easy to make

    • — Vivian L Guerin on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • Yes I made it. I added raisins & pecans – love – sooo good.

    • — Vivian L Guerin on December 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can you make mini loaf with this

    • — Gladys on December 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Gladys, I never made this in a loaf pan so I’m not certain how they will rise, but I think they should work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2021
      • Reply
    • I have made it in my Wilton “little houses” pan, they turned out beautiful and was a hit at my dinner party a few weeks ago. I baked them for about 18-20 minutes ( the batter is divided into 5 separate molds). Hope this helps!

      • — Kim Fischer on December 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, when reheating it, should I cover it with foil? Thanks, Ally in NJ

    • — Ally O'Connor on December 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Ally, covering it with foil is a good idea. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • Question: Has anyone tried to make this in a mini Bundt pan? The idea of mini bundts for gift giving and served individually really appeals to me! I know the time would need to be adjusted but is there any reason NOT to do this?

    • — Debbie on December 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I think it would work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2021
      • Reply
    • Correction: Nordic Ware Cozy Village pan.
      Turned out beautiful! Everyone raved about the recipe and how they looked.

      • — Kim Fischet on December 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Love this recipe and have used it often. I cut into small squares and dip in milk chocolate. and white chocolate. Then a pretty little bow piped on top, and they are beautiful in my cookie giveaway boxes. A keeper for sure.

    • — lorraine on December 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Yes, thank you! I just checked back here to see if you replied and then found it hiding in an unexpected folder. I can’t wait to make it!

    • — Erin on December 10, 2021
    • Reply

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