Gingerbread cake with molasses-lemon cream cheese frosting.

gingercake4Have you heard? Ginger is the new black carrot. Ginger is spicy, sassy, and the perfect vehicle for luscious cream cheese frosting. I believe that ginger, although seemingly usurped by other seasonal flavors (I’m looking at you, peppermint and eggnog!), deserves a spot amongst the best of the Christmas-time desserts.

So why should ginger, such a regal and bold spice, be confined to boy and girl cutouts?

If you’ve never had crystallized ginger, let this cake be the reason you finally try some out. The little spicy, tan-colored jewels were actually the inspiration for this cake. Chatting with a coworker about how we liked to pop them like candy, I suddenly envisioned a cream-cheese covered cake studded with nuts and surprising bits of spicy crystallized ginger. And I could not get the idea out of my head until the cake was sitting on the counter in my kitchen!

This cake is definitely a rip-off of carrot cake with a seasonal spin. But a rip-off never tasted so good!


Gingerbread Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 cup milk

Molasses-lemon cream cheese frosting/garnish

  • 8 oz cream cheese (can come straight from refrigerator if butter is soft)
  • 5 T butter, room temperature
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 cup each of pecans and walnuts, measured and then processed/chopped smallish
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, measured and then chopped, plus extra whole for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray and flour an 8-inch springform pan (which I did), or a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each egg. Add molasses and lemon zest, combine.
  4. Add the milk and flour mixture alternatively, mixing after each addition, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake, checking at 45 minutes. Mine took over an hour, probably because of the tall 8-inch pan.
  6. Meanwhile, in a new bowl, cream together the butter, softened cream cheese, molasses, and extract. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, fully incorporating after each addition.
  7. When cake is turned out of pan and completely cool, torte the cake (slice it in half horizontally.) Spread frosting in between the cake layers and sandwich back together; frost the entire cake. (If cream cheese frosting is difficult to work with, microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring after each 15 seconds, until consistency is spreadable and workable.)
  8. Combine the chopped pecans, walnuts, and ginger. Press into the side of the cake, and sprinkle onto the top center. Garnish with large chunks of ginger.

Enjoy, from my kitchen to yours! ❤