This Gingerbread Traybake is a yummy moist sheet cake filled with ginger flavour. It's so easy and simple to make in a traybake tin. I also find traybake cakes (also known as sheet cakes) so much easier to cut up and serve! I've topped the cake with a sweet ginger buttercream and some cute little gingerbread men. If you're looking for an easy crowd pleaser at Christmastime, this Gingerbread Traybake will delight people of all ages. It would also be a fun bake to make with the kids, they will love icing the little gingerbread men in particular!
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- Make sure all your ingredients (particularly the butter and eggs) are at room temperature before you start baking.
- I used a baking spread for the cake and unsalted butter for the buttercream.
- I really recommend using light brown soft sugar if you can for the cake, but if you can't get hold of it, caster sugar will work well too.
- 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 Gingerbread Traybake
Start by melting the butter, light brown sugar, black treacle and golden syrup together in a pan on a low heat. Let it cool down for around 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisked together the eggs and milk. Then add the melted butter mixture to the eggs, whisking as you pour.
In another mixing bowl, stir together the self raising flour, ground ginger and mixed spice. Then add the butter/egg mixture and whisk everything together well. Pour the mixture into a traybake tin and bake until risen and golden.
To decorate the traybake, make a ginger buttercream and some mini gingerbread men biscuits. For the biscuits, put plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, and butter in a bowl. Using your fingers, rub the mixture together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add ground ginger, mixed spice, and light brown sugar and stir it in.
In a pan, gently heat golden syrup. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the golden syrup, then add the milk. Combine the mixture together until a dough forms. Then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
Cut out the biscuits and bake them until golden.
How long does the cake last for and can you freeze it?
The cake will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container in a cool place. You can freeze both the cake and the buttercream, and the biscuits too. To freeze them separately, wrap the cake well in cling film or put it in an airtight container. The buttercream can be frozen in a sealed tub andthe biscuits can be frozen in a tub or freezer bag. To freeze the cake decorated, freeze on a plate until frozen solid, then carefully wrap in cling film. Remove the clingfilm when you take the cake out of the freezer to defrost, as if it defrosts with it still on it could damage the appearance of the buttercream.
Can you make this 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 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
What size tin do you need?
This recipe is best made in a 12" x 9" (36.5cm x 26cm) traybake tin with deep sides (4cm or 1.5"). However, if you'd prefer to make it in a smaller 9" square tin, check the recipe card notes section for details on how to change the measurements and baking time.
How do you remove a traybake cake from the tin?
The best way to ensure an easy removal of the cake from the tin, is to line the tin with baking paper. I grease the tin first with a little butter to help the paper stick to it. If you let the paper hang over the sides by an inch or so, you can easily grip the over hang and pull the cake out once it's cooled down.
How many people does this cake serve?
It completely depends how you slice it up, which is great because it makes this such a versatile cake for parties and gatherings. I love a big chunk of cake so I cut it into 12 slices, but for a party you may prefer to cut it into smaller slices so it feeds more people. You can cut into 16 slices, or even 24 slices. If you are doing smaller slices, cut it up before you add the biscuits on top so you don't have to try and cut through them.
Can this cake be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes! To make the cake gluten free you can replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising 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 2 + ½ teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ½ tsp Xantham Gum for better texture. To make the biscuits gluten free, use a gluten free plain flour blend, y ou may also like to add ¼ 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, biscuits and buttercream.
Can this cake be made into cupcakes or a larger cake?
More tips for making the Gingerbread Traybake:
- If you don't want to make the biscuits you could also decorate with shop bought biscuits, gingerbread royal icing decorations, crystallied ginger or crushed gingernuts.
- The biscuits will go soft from being in contact with the buttercream (gingerbread is a fairly soft biscuit anyway) so add them right before serving.
- I spread the buttercream onto the cake, but you could pipe it on if you prefer.
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*
- Traybake tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Cake tester
- Piping bags
- Silicone mat
- Rolling pin
- Mixed spice
- Gingerbread fondant toppers
- Gingerbread man cutter
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More Gingerbread recipes...
For the cake
- 150 g Butter or baking spread
- 165 g Golden syrup
- 150 g Light brown sugar
- 55 g Black treacle
- 3 Eggs large
- 185 ml Milk
- 300 g Self raising flour
- 1 ½ tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp Mixed spice
For the buttercream
- 160 g Butter softened
- 320 g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Ground ginger
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the gingerbread men biscuits
- 150 g Plain flour
- ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 50 g Butter
- 1 tsp Ground ginger
- ½ tsp Mixed spice
- 75 g Light brown sugar
- 50 g Golden syrup
- 25 ml Milk
- 50 g Icing sugar
- Splash of water to make a thick icing
For the gingerbread biscuits
- In a pan gently heat the golden syrup, set it aside to cool for 5 minutes
- Put the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, and butter into a bowl and rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and there are no big lumps of butter
- Add the ground ginger, mixed spice, and light brown sugar and stir them in
- Pour the milk and golden syrup into the flour mixture, then mix until a dough forms. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a baking tray with baking paper
- Roll the dough out onto a mat or your work surface, dusted with flour, and cut out the mini gingerbread men shapes (I used a cutter that is 2" tall and 1.5" wide)
- Place your cut out pieces onto the lined baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes and golden brown all over
- Let them cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack as the biscuit will be very delicate when hot, then let them cool fully on cooling racks
- Mix the icing sugar with a splash of water and stir to create a thick paste. Put into a piping bag and decorate the gingerbread men with little faces and buttons if you like
- If you make any extra that don't make it onto the cake, store them in an airtight container and eat within 5 days
To make the gingerbread cake
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a 12" x 9" traybake tin
- Melt 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 mixing bowl
- Slowly pour the butter and syrup mixture into the eggs, whisking as you pour, until everything is combined
- In another bowl, stir together the self raising flour, ground ginger and mixed spice
- Slowly pour the egg and butter mixture into the flour, whisking as your pour, until everything is combined
- Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool fully
To make the buttercream
- Use an electric hand whisk to mix together the butter, ground ginger and icing sugar, when they start to come together, add the vanilla extract and mix until smooth. You can also add a splash of milk if it is too thick
- Spread the frosting on top of the sponge
- The buttercream will make the biscuits go soft, so add the biscuits right before serving, or serve alongside the cake
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place, and eat within 3 days
For the cake
- 100g Butter or baking spread
- 110g Golden syrup
- 100g Light brown sugar
- 35g Black treacle
- 2 Eggs, large
- 125ml Milk
- 200g Self raising flour
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 tsp Mixed spice
For the buttercream
- 105g Butter
- 210g Icing sugar
- ¾ tsp Ground ginger
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract