This tender, fragrant Iced Gingerbread Cake is a delight to enjoy with coffee or cocoa during the holidays and beyond. And, best of all, it’s easy!
As much as I adore decorating for the holidays, I despise undecorating. It’s not that I don’t want all the shiny, sparkly holiday finery to be tucked back into their boxes and totes — believe me, I do. It’s just not as fun to wrap up the nutcrackers, music boxes and ornaments as it is to unearth them in the first place. If decorating is like magic, undecorating is like a farewell to magic.
Thank goodness for kids. Now that Will and Paige are older — they’re 12 and 10, respectively — they can handle the taking down of decorations and packing it away.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Kids are super for doing those tasks you hate. Call them chores and make something they want to do contingent on getting the chores done. Then you can focus on other things — like making some amazing food to share with your beloved offspring.
Along with the holiday decorations, holiday recipes get packed away in January. I don’t know if it’s the New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and/or lose weight or just a habit we have, but the lovely treats, appetizers and dishes for sharing enjoy a few short weeks in our kitchens before we tuck them away for another year.
Why is that?
I, for one, am not quite ready to pack away the recipes for things like Iced Gingerbread Cake just yet.
This holiday season, I kept thinking about the little loaves of gingerbread quick bread I used to make for holiday treat baskets. But when I looked for the loaf recipe, I couldn’t find it anywhere — not on this site, not on any of the sites I wrote for. I have no idea what I did with it.
Fortunately I found a recipe for gingerbread cake in The Good Home Cookbook edited by Richard J. Perry. This massive book has so many recipes in it for so many things. My version here is adapted from that. I changed up the seasonings a bit and added the icing, which I think is an absolute must for anything gingerbread related.
It’s easy to make, but you do need to give yourself enough time. There’s a lengthy cooking time, and you need to let it fully cool too before icing it and letting it sit. Again. I estimate that it takes about two hours from start to finish (with lots of hands off time), but that will vary depending on the temperature of your home and how you choose to cool the cake (cooling in the fridge or freezer can speed the time a little).
And then drizzle that baby all over with icing. Mmm. I let the icing set for 30 minutes before digging in. It’s better that way.
But seriously, why do we limit gingerbread to the holiday season? I say we should enjoy it in January too.
Iced Gingerbread Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square glass baking pan with butter and then dust all over with flour. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and beat well to combine.
- With the stand mixer running on its lowest setting, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk to the mixture. Continue until all has been added and combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Tap the pan gently on the counter to even out the batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cooked through. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out cleanly. Remove from the oven and cool completely before icing.
- Once the cake is cooled, combine the powdered sugar and water in a bowl. Stir thoroughly until smooth. Drizzle all over the cake. Let sit for 30 minutes before slicing to set. Cut into 9 pieces. Enjoy!
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.