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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.

Slice of gingerbread on a plate with a fork.

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, delicate cakes flavored only with brown sugar and a hint of 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. Plus, it’s wonderfully simple to make. The batter is mixed by hand and comes together in 10 minutes. For serving, a simple dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, or a scoop of classic vanilla ice cream is all you need to do the trick!

“Absolutely terrific recipe…This is exactly like the gingerbread I ate as a kid and it brought back lovely memories!”


What you’ll need to make Gingerbread

Gingerbread ingredients including baking soda, molasses, and butter.

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.

Bowl of 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 bake

Bake for about 35 minutes.

baked gingerbread 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 one 9-inch square cake (about 16 servings)
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes


  • 1¾ 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 metal cake 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 30 to 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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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  • Really yummy! I used OliveNation’s molasses powder and cinnamon and mine which made it really tasty and easier to make! Highly recommend!

    • — Kourtney on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your recipe!
    Do you think it would work with the nordic ware gingerbread pan?
    Hugs xx

    • — Adriana on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Adriana, Is it a bundt pan? If so, I wouldn’t recommend it. I think it may be delicate for a bundt pan and you may have problems with sticking. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2022
      • Reply
      • Yeah, it is a bundt. thanks for replying xx

        • — Adriana on November 20, 2022
        • Reply
  • We made this recipe last night and it was delicious. Can I make this with a little less molasses to tone that flavor down a bit? Ty🥰

    • — Jennifer Maloney on November 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! Yes, it’s fine to cut back on the molasses — I’d replace it will additional water.

      • — Jenn on November 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • If I make this in a bread pan, what temp and baking time should I use?

    • — Yvonne on November 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, what size is your loaf pan?

      • — Jenn on November 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • I tried this recipe today and it reminded me of being a child again! Absolutely perfect and I served it with whipped cream on top

    • — Sandra on November 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Baked this today, and the entire house smelled of fall! Used 8×8 pan and it turned out perfectly in 35 min. We enjoyed it warm with freshly whipped cream and the flavor and texture were divine! Next time I plan to use an 9″ round and turn it out onto a beautiful plate after cooling, with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

    Jenn’s recipes have never disappointed – from her French Apple Tart, where the crust turns out soooo light and flaky, to her beef stew, and let’s not forget her pumpkin pie which never cracks (and incidentally, is great with a Biscoff Cookie crust). While I’m pretty confident in the kitchen, her detailed instruction, as well as description of ingredients would allow even a total beginner to experience culinary success!

    • — Lise on November 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hello-
    Can this recipe be doubled?

    • — Courtney on October 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on October 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • OMG! Just made this with gluten-free all-purpose flour and had to sub half the molasses for maple syrup because I ran out, but it was AMAZING! A total hit and I will definitely be making again. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Sahar on September 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn–Thanks so much for your thoughts on the pear upside down cake. Will do as you say and try with a pear/cinnamon/ginger sauce on the side instead. Loved the brandy/caramel/apple/ginger sauce with vanilla ice cream idea from Helen.

    For some reason I’m thinking a strawberry sauce and vanilla ice cream might also go well with this cake too although realize it’s not the norm.

    Your recipes always delight and inspire. Thanks Again.

    • — Diane on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. Made this with unsulphured blackstrap molasses – heady aroma a bit of chewy texture. Fabulous. Made caramel chopped apples and finely chopped candied ginger, brandy sauce made with leftover caramel served it all with good vanilla bean ice cream. First of the season autumn dinner for eight. Nothing left over and everyone asked for the recipes. Thank you.

    • — Helen Kelly on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn–Was thinking of using this cake as the base for a “Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake”. What do you think? Would it hold up well/taste good under the weight of the pears and caramel sauce (basically brown sugar and butter?) once I flipped it? Thought the gingerbread and pear idea might go together nicely and would be a nice change from your typical fall desserts…but not sure–it might also clash/not go well. I have a more traditional cake batter I use for cranberry and blueberry upside down cakes–but thought that pears might be too sweet with that one. Would love your professional opinion (as always!)…Thanks so much, Jenn.

    • — Diane on September 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, That does sound like a delicious combination, but I worry this cake may be too delicate to support the weight of the pears and sauce. It’d be wonderful with pears and caramel sauce on the side though. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Really yummy. Just like Mum use to make.

    • — Philip on September 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Closest recipe I’ve found to my southern grandmother’s! So comforting and heart-warming. I’ve made this several times. Definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!!

    • — Marti on September 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • I haven’t made this yet, but would like to add chopped dates. Do I need to alter anything and will it affect the baking time. I’ve tried many of your recipes and they are always stellar. Thanks!

    • — Carol on August 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like them, Carol! Adding chopped dates is fine; no other modifications are necessary. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • I love this simple rendition of an unbeatable treat. I follow the recipe exactly and it turns out perfect. Thanks!

    • — Brian Skinner on July 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • 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..

    • Sure, Margaret, it will freeze nicely. Enjoy!

      • Great recipe but didn’t say oven temperature. I did 350 convection for 33 minutes. Smells divine.

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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.

  • 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 ❤️

  • 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.

    • Hi Inise, You must have missed the amount, but it actually calls for 2/3 cup. Glad you enjoyed it nevertheless!

  • This recipe has my hubby who normally doesn’t really like ginger bread asking for “more please!”😋

    Easy to make and follow!!

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

  • This was simply delicious. It is truly the best gingerbread I have ever had. Thank you!

  • 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.

  • It was delicious! Loved by adults with a cup of coffee, grandchildren loved it too!

  • 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
    • 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.

  • Hello Jenn…
    Is it OK to use light brown sugar instead of dark brown?

    • Sure – enjoy!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Can gluten-free flour be used?

    • Hi Morgan, I haven’t tried it but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
    • Hi Natalia, That is the brand I use, so no changes necessary. Enjoy!

  • 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.

    • 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!

      • Thank you! Can’t wait to add this to my Christmas menu. Happy holidays!

  • 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.

  • Can crystallized ginger be added? Thx

    • I haven’t tried it, but I think that would work. Enjoy!

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • Very quick and easy to make

    • — Vivian L Guerin
    • Reply
  • Yes I made it. I added raisins & pecans – love – sooo good.

    • — Vivian L Guerin
    • Reply
  • Can you make mini loaf with this

    • 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!

    • 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!

  • Hi Jenn, when reheating it, should I cover it with foil? Thanks, Ally in NJ

    • Sure, Ally, covering it with foil is a good idea. Enjoy!

  • 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?

    • Hi Debbie, I think it would work. Please LMK how they turn out!

    • Correction: Nordic Ware Cozy Village pan.
      Turned out beautiful! Everyone raved about the recipe and how they looked.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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