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Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a delightful holiday treat, combining the warm, spiced flavors of traditional gingerbread with a fluffy cream cheese frosting. The cake is moist and tender, infused with a blend of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Topped with a smooth, creamy frosting, it’s not only delicious but also visually appealing, making it the perfect centerpiece for festive gatherings.

gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

As the holiday season approaches, nothing embodies the spirit of Christmas quite like a gingerbread cake. This gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting recipe combines the warm spices of classic gingerbread with a fluffy, sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, making it a festive favorite. The cake is moist, flavorful, and perfectly spiced, a true celebration of the season. If you’re a fan of gingerbread recipes, you might also love our rich Gingerbread Loaf Cake and Gingerbread Cookies recipes.

This recipe offers a delightful twist on traditional gingerbread, transforming it into a stunning layer cake. Each bite of this gingerbread layer cake is a fusion of spicy and sweet, complemented by the smooth cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect cake for your Christmas dinner table or a cozy gathering with loved ones.

This gingerbread cake recipe is easy and simple to make. Whether you’re an experienced baker or trying your hand at a gingerbread cake for the first time, this recipe promises a fuss-free experience with exceptional results. The cake layers come together in just one bowl with no fancy equipment, and the frosting whips up in no time, allowing you to create an impressive dessert without spending hours in the kitchen.

slice of gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Rich Spices: Infused with the perfect amount of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for that quintessential holiday flavor.
  • Moist and Tender: The combination of molasses, honey, and buttermilk ensures a moist, tender cake.
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: A tangy, sweet frosting that pairs perfectly with the spiced cake.
  • Elegant Presentation: Fluffy cake layers and frosting make for a show-stopping dessert.
  • Versatile: Ideal for holiday celebrations or as a special winter treat.
  • Comforting Aroma: Filling your home with the scent of warm spices and baked goods.
  • Simple Yet Impressive: Easy to make but looks and tastes like a gourmet bakery cake.

Ingredient Notes

For the Gingerbread Cake Layers:

  • Butter: Adds richness and moisture to the cake.
  • Unsulphered Molasses & Honey: Key ingredients for depth of flavor and moistness.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Sweetens and adds a caramel-like flavor. You can use dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor.
  • Eggs: Provide structure and richness.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor.
  • Buttermilk: Contributes to the cake’s tender crumb.
  • Flour: The foundation of the cake structure.
  • Baking Soda: Helps the cake rise.
  • Ground Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg: Warm spices essential for gingerbread flavor.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the spices.

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Cream Cheese: Use room temperature brick-style cream cheese for the best results.
  • Butter: Adds creaminess and helps to stabilize the frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the frosting.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a hint of vanilla flavor.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
  • Cinnamon: Gives the frosting a warm, spiced flavor.

Be sure to check out the recipe card for the full ingredient list below

Step by Step Instructions

gingerbread cake batter.

Heat butter, molasses, and honey, then cool slightly and add sugar.

gingerbread cake batter.

Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk to the molasses mixture.

gingerbread cake batter

Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix together to form a smooth batter.

gingerbread cake batter in pans,

Pour cake batter into pans.

gingerbread cake layers.

Bake in your preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

cream cheese frosting in a bowl.

To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with the paddle attachment in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using an electric mixer until fluffy.

cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat until light and fluffy.

assembling gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese frosting.

Lay the first cake layer on your serving platter. Apply a generous amount of frosting on top. Lay the second cake layer and top with frosting. Add the last cake layer and finish by frosting the entire cake, ensuring the sides are covered

Tip: When assembling and frosting your gingerbread cake, allow the cake layers to cool completely to prevent the cream cheese frosting from melting. For a smoother frosting experience and an even layer distribution, use a spatula or a cake spreader. If the cake layers have domed on top, you can gently level them with a serrated knife for a more uniform look. Chilling the cake layers for about an hour before assembling and frosting can make them easier to handle and less prone to crumbling. This extra step ensures a professional-looking finish, making your gingerbread cake not only delicious but also aesthetically pleasing.

Substitutions and Variations


gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

How to Store

Since this homemade gingerbread cake has cream cheese frosting, it’s essential to store it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent any spoilage. To store, first ensure that the frosting has set. Then, place the cake in an airtight container to keep it from absorbing any odors from the fridge and to prevent it from drying out. The cake should be kept chilled and can be stored this way for up to 5 days.

When you’re ready to serve, you might want to let the cake sit at room temperature for a short while, as this can enhance the flavors and texture, making it more enjoyable.

How to Freeze

To freeze a fully assembled gingerbread cake, first place the frosted cake in the freezer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, allowing the frosting to set. Once the frosting is firm, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap, followed by an outer layer of aluminum foil, to prevent freezer burn and preserve flavor and moisture. Label the wrapped cake with the freezing date; it can be stored like this for up to 3 months.

For thawing, place the cake in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.

Preparing Cake Layers Ahead of Time

For those planning ahead, the gingerbread cake layers can be prepared in advance. Once baked and completely cooled, wrap each layer in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This method not only saves time but also can enhance the flavor and moisture of the cake, as the spices have more time to meld together.

To freeze the cake, wrap each layer of unfrosted gingerbread cake tightly in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil to protect it from freezer burn and flavor absorption from other foods. Label with the date, and the cake layers can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to enjoy your cake, thaw the layers in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can proceed to apply the cinnamon cream cheese frosting and assemble the layers as usual.

slice of gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

This cake recipe can easily be adapted into about 24-30 cupcakes, depending on the size. Follow the same recipe for the gingerbread cake batter. Line cupcake pan with liners. Fill each cupcake liner about two-thirds full with the batter. Be careful not to overfill to avoid the batter spilling over during baking. Cupcakes will bake faster, so begin checking for doneness at around 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. You may want to increase the quantity of cream cheese frosting to ensure you have enough to generously frost each cupcake. A piping bag and tip can be used for a more decorative finish.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake

To make a 9×13-inch sheet cake, use the same gingerbread cake batter as the original recipe. Grease the pan and line it with parchment paper for easy removal. Pour the gingerbread cake batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. A sheet cake will likely take longer to bake than individual cake layers but less time than the layered cake. Start checking for doneness around 35-45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool, you can either frost it directly in the pan or carefully transfer it to a serving platter. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake. You may need less frosting than you would for a layered cake, depending on your preference.

expert Tips

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature for a smoother batter.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mix until just combined to avoid a tough cake.
  • Cool Completely: Before frosting, to prevent the frosting from melting.
  • Even Layers: Use a serrated knife to trim the tops for flat, even layers.
  • Candied Cranberries: Top the cake with candied cranberries for a festive look.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of molasses should I use?

For this recipe, using unsulphured molasses is recommended. It’s sweeter and less bitter than blackstrap molasses and complements the spices in the cake well. If you prefer a deeper, more intense flavor, you can opt for dark molasses. Avoid blackstrap molasses unless you’re accustomed to its strong flavor.

Can I make this cake gluten-free?

Yes, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure that it’s a 1:1 baking blend for the best results. Note that the texture might be slightly different, but the flavors will remain delightful.

How do I know when the cake is done?

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached. The cake should also pull away slightly from the edges of the pan, and the top will spring back when lightly pressed.

How can I ensure my gingerbread cake is moist?

To achieve a moist cake, avoid overbaking, which can dry out the cake. Ensure your ingredients, especially buttermilk and eggs, are at room temperature to blend smoothly, and measure your dry ingredients accurately. 

How do I make sugared cranberries?

To make sugared cranberries, first create a simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool slightly. Add fresh cranberries to the syrup, ensuring they are fully coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a wire rack to dry for about an hour. Then, roll the sticky cranberries in granulated sugar until they are well coated. Let them dry completely before using them as a cake decoration.

How should I store the frosted cake?

Since the frosting contains cream cheese, it’s best to store the frosted cake in the refrigerator. Place it in an airtight container or cover it with plastic wrap to maintain its freshness. Let it sit at room temperature for a short period before serving for optimal flavor and texture.

gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

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slice of gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Angelina Papanikolaou
This gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting is a moist, spiced holiday dessert featuring flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The fluffy cream cheese frosting complements the warmly spiced cake, making it a perfect choice for festive occasions. It's a visually appealing and flavorful treat ideal for the holiday season.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 1037 kcal


  • 3 8-inch round cake pans
  • parchment paper
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Wire Rack
  • Saucepan
  • Sifter
  • Measuring Cup and Spoons


  • 1 ½ cups butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 4 ¼ cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 4 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 6 oz butter room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Heat butter, molasses, and honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and beat in the sugar. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
    1 ½ cups butter, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup honey, 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • Once the mixture has cooled, whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk
    3 eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 2 cups buttermilk
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
    4 ¼ cups flour, 3 tsp baking soda, 2 tbsp ground ginger, 4 ½ tsp cinnamon, ¾ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, ½ tsp salt
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until light and fluffy.
    12 oz cream cheese, 6 oz butter, 6 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and spread a layer of frosting. Add the final cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  • Optional: Decorate top with crystalized ginger, sugared cranberries, or mini gingerbread cookies.


How to Store

Place it in an airtight container to avoid absorbing fridge odors and drying out. It can be stored for up to 5 days. Before serving, let the cake sit at room temperature briefly to enhance flavor and texture.

How to Freeze

Freeze the fully assembled cake by first setting the frosting in the freezer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. Then, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn, storing it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and then at room temperature before serving.

Preparing Cake Layers Ahead of Time

Bake and cool the cake layers, then wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days, enhancing flavor and moisture. For longer storage, freeze the wrapped layers for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting and assembling.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Convert the recipe to cupcakes by filling liners two-thirds full and baking for 18-20 minutes. Cool in the pan, then on a wire rack before frosting. Yields about 24-30 cupcakes.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake

For a sheet cake, grease and line a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool in the pan, frost, and serve directly from the pan or on a platter.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 1037kcalCarbohydrates: 148gProtein: 10gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 29gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 904mgPotassium: 433mgFiber: 2gSugar: 111gVitamin A: 1573IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 161mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was and tag @bakedambrosia on Instagram

Photos by Ashleigh Scott

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