Gingerbread and ginger in general always make me think of Christmas. I can never resist a cute gingerbread man, whether it's a biscuit or a tree decoration. This Gingerbread Cake with Ginger Buttercream is basically gingerbread heaven in cake form! I cannot rave enough about how gloriously spiced and moist the sponge is, it is one of my absolute favourites! I've also put ginger in the buttercream to carry on that delicious flavour in every bite. This is a perfect cake for the festive season and for your Christmas baking!
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- Make sure all your ingredients (particularly the butter and eggs) are at room temperature before you start baking.
- I used unsalted butter for the buttercream, for the cake I used a baking spread.
- Mixed spice is a British spice blend containing Cinnamon, Coriander Seed, Nutmeg, Clove, Pimento, Ginger. If you can't get hold of it, use a Pumpkin Spice mix instead.
- I really recommend using light brown soft sugar if you can, as it gives the cake a lovely caramel flavour. But if you can't get hold of it, you can use golden caster sugar or regular caster sugar (superfine sugar) instead.
- Although I provide cup measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients out using digital kitchen scales*. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients and will ensure the best results. Digital scales are very low cost and can be purchased for around £12 ($16.50) .
- For teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements, please use measuring spoons* and not the type of spoons you eat with. Again this will ensure accuracy and provide the best results.
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make a Gingerbread Cake
In a pan on a low heat, melt butter, golden syrup, black treacle and light brown sugar together. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
Slowly pour the butter mixture into the egg mixture, then add flour, mixed spice and ground ginger.
Divide the sponge between the cake tins and bake until golden. To decorate, make a ginger buttercream using icing sugar, butter, ground ginger and vanilla extract. Pipe it onto the sponge, add the second sponge and pipe more buttercream on top.
How should the cake be stored and can it be frozen?
The cake should be stored in an airtight container in a cool place and will last for 3 days. You can freeze the sponges either alone, or decorated. Once the sponges are fully cool, wrap them well with cling film or put them in an airtight container with some baking paper between them. You can freeze the buttercream on it’s own in a tub, or you can decorate the cake and freeze it fully assembled. To do this and avoid damage to the decoration, freeze it either in an airtight container. Or let it freeze solid on a cake board or plate, then wrap in cling film. Remove the cling film when you take it out to defrost it, if you don’t it could damage the decoration as it defrosts and softens. You can also freeze slices of the cake, again well wrapped in cling film or in airtight containers.
Can you make the cake with plain/all purpose flour?
Self raising flour, which is very commonly used in the UK where I am based, already contains a raising agent and a little salt too. Therefore if you want to swap it for plain or all purpose flour, you will need to add some additional baking powder and also a little salt if you like. Some people like to add salt to cake recipes and some don't, so I'll leave that up to you as it won't affect the bake. The general advice is to add 2 teaspoons baking powder (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with) per every 200g plain or all purpose flour. So for this recipe you'd need to add 4 teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
Can this recipe be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes! For gluten free you can replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising flour blend, and the plain wholemeal flour with a gluten free plain flour blend. If you only have a gluten free plain flour blend, you will need to add additonal baking powder. The general advice is to add 2 tsp baking powder per 200g flour, so for this recipe you'd need to add 4 teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ½ tsp Xantham Gum for better texture. For a dairy free version, use a dairy free baking spread and dairy free milk for both the cake and buttercream.
Can this cake be made in different size cake tins?
Yes! If you would like to make this cake in different size tins, please check my Conversion Guide to find out how to adjust the recipe.
Can this recipe be made into cupcakes?
Yes! Check out my Gingerbread Cupcakes recipe for the details.
More tips for making the Gingerbread Cake with Ginger Buttercream:
- I like to add mixed spice to my ginger cake, for extra depth of flavour, but some people don't like to add anything but ground ginger. If you wanted to experiment, you could even try adding some cinnamon perhaps, or some cardamom. You decide!
- I like to pipe the buttercream between the layers, but you can also spread it with a spoon or palette knife.
- If you don't fancy decorating it with sprinkles, you could crumble up some gingerbread biscuits, or chop up some crystallised ginger, or leave it plain.
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- 8" cake tins
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Wilton 2D Piping nozzle
- Mixed spice
- Gingerbread fondant toppers
- Gingerbread sprinkles
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More Gingerbread recipes...
Gingerbread Cake with Ginger Buttercream
For the cake
- 200 g Butter or baking spread
- 225 g Golden syrup
- 200 g Light brown sugar
- 75 g Black treacle
- 4 Eggs large
- 250 ml Milk
- 400 g Self raising flour
- 2 tbsp Ground ginger
- 2 tsp Mixed spice
For the buttercream
- 250 g Butter
- 500 g Icing sugar
- 2 tsp Ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp Milk
- Gingerbread men sprinkles optional
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line two 8" cake tins (that are at least 2" deep)
- Make the sponge by melting the butter, golden syrup, light brown sugar and black treacle together in a pan on a low heat. Once it is all melted and combined, leave to cool for 10 minutes
- Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl
- Slowly pour the butter and syrup mixture into the eggs, whisking as you pour, until everything is combined
- Add the flour and the spices and whisk in
- Divide the mixture between the tins, use scales for accuracy
- Bake them for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave them to fully cool either in the tins or remove from the tin and place on cooling racks
- To make the ginger buttercream mix the butter, ground ginger and icing sugar together. Once it starts to come together add the vanilla extract and milk, and mix until smooth. Use an electric whisk for best results
- If the cakes have domed on top, level them off with a cake leveller or a serrated knife
- Put one of the sponges on your plate or cake stand and pipe or spread some of the buttercream onto it
- Add the other sponge on top and pipe or spread the remaining buttercream on top
- Decorate with the Gingerbread men decorations and sprinkles if using
- Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for 2-3 days