Dense yet moist for days, this Gingerbread Loaf is lightly spiced with a perfectly soft and tender texture. Using both fresh and ground spices, it is easy to make and simple enough for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
This ginger loaf cake has all the essence of gingerbread, but in a tender, sliceable loaf. Made with molasses, fresh ginger, and sour cream, it has a tight crumb that stays moist for a shockingly long time.
Start the cake with fluffy softened butter and granulated sugar using the creaming method. From there, it comes together just as easily as any other quick bread recipe.
While you could certainly frost it, the sugar topping is actually perfect for this gingerbread loaf cake.
This is the type of snacking cake you can enjoy as easily for breakfast or with after dinner drinks. It is 100% fuss-free and can be wrapped up as a gift and brought to friends this holiday season.
Too tempted to pass up a fluffy frosting on this cake? I don't blame you. Try this cream cheese frosting, the vanilla glaze from my Orange Pound Cake, or the butterscotch glaze from my Gingerbread Bundt Cake.
How It Works
This incredibly moist yet tight-crumbed cake is made with sour cream, butter, and oil. The trio keeps that cake moist and tender - even days later stored at room temperature.
For the flavor, molasses, fresh ginger, and cinnamon give us that classic gingerbread taste. Overall it tastes of dark brown sugar with wam spices and peppery ginger.
Honestly, it taste like Christmas! How else can you even describe it?!
Because we are already using molasses, the recipe only calls for granulated white sugar - not brown sugar. This helps tenderize the cake even more since white sugar is better at aerating the batter during the creaming method.
The texture is purposefully tight and compact - not fluffy or spongey. Do not mistake this for being dry. However, you really don't want to over bake this cake or it will then in fact be very dry. Adding too much flour or vigorously mixing at the end will also cause it to be dense - so avoid doing both.
Ingredients in Moist Gingerbread Loaf Cake
- All-purpose flour - 1 cup is measured as 125 grams
- Salt - measurement for Diamond Crystal; use half for Morton table salt
- Baking powder and baking soda - you will need both; they are not interchangeable
- Ground cinnamon
- Unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Molasses - not black strap
- Fresh ginger - look for the root in the produce section
- Large eggs - at room temperature
- Sour cream - see Substitutions for alternatives
- Neutral oil - like avocado or canola
- Turbinado or sugar in the raw - for topping
Tools and Equipment
This simple recipes comes together with a few basic kitchen tools. You will need an electric mixer - hand or stand mixer is fine. You will also need:
- A standard 9 X 4-inch (or similar) loaf pan
- Microplane or citrus grater
- General kitchen utensils (measuring spoons, spatula, etc)
How to Use Fresh Ginger
Fresh ginger adds big flavor to this warm and spicy cake. It adds a slightly peppery, punchy taste. Ground ginger is easy to find (and use), but you should try the fresh ginger if you have it!
This is what fresh ginger root looks like. You will need more fresh ginger than its ground counterpart
The easiest way to peal fresh ginger is with the sides of a metal spoon.
Next, grate fresh ginger with a microplane. It will be wet and pulpy. Scrape the underside to add to the batter.
If using ground ginger, you will only need 2 teaspoons.
Sour Cream - In this recipe, sour cream is thinned with a bit of water. If you don't have any, you can substitute the sour cream and water both for ½ cup buttermilk. Another alternatively is to use ⅓ cup Greek yogurt plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
Fresh Ginger - if you must, sub the freshly grated ginger for 2 teaspoons ground ginger.
Serving and Storage
Allow the gingerbread loaf cake to cool before slicing. Store the cake wrapped in foil or plastic wrap at room temperate. Eat the cake within 5 days.
If wrapped in plastic, the top may lose its crunch after a few days.
To freeze, wait until the cake is cool then wrap well in plastic. Next, pop the whole thing in a zip-top freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cake overnight in the refrigerator.
How to Sugar the Pan
Instead of lining with parchment or coating the inside of the pan with flour, use sugar!
Like you would prepare most cake pans, smear softened butter or spray cooking spray inside the the loaf pan. Then, sprinkle with sugar.
I like a mix of granulated sugar (it sticks way better) and turbinado for extra crunch. Doing so will not only release the baked cake from the pan easily, but give it a sugary crust.
Gingerbread Loaf Recipe FAQs
Use light or dark unsulphured molasses. It is sometimes called "fancy molasses." Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, do not use black strap molasses.
Yes, you can swap ground ginger for fresh ginger. Use ⅓ of the amount of fresh ginger (1 tablespoon fresh : 1 teaspoon ground).
More Spice Cake Recipes to Try
Moist Gingerbread Loaf
- 2 cup (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoon neutral oil avocado or canola
- 2 tbsp water
- sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the inside of a 9X4-inch loaf pan then sprinkle with sugar. Tilt the pan around so that the sides and bottom of the pan are coated in sugar. Tap out the excess sugar.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the molasses and ginger then mix to combine. Add the eggs and mix to combine. It's okay if the batter is a little separated.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add in half of the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the sour cream, oil, and water. Pour the sour cream mixture into the batter and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour and stir until the batter is smooth and evenly combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle generously with sugar.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. DO NOT over bake.
- Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack before removing from the pan.