This Gingerbread Cake is the BEST holiday cake recipe you'll ever try! It's easy to prepare, perfectly moist, and topped with the most delicious mascarpone icing.
You must know by now that cakes are my absolute favorite kind of dessert recipe to make. I love my vanilla cake with chai spice icing, my vegan birthday cake and of course my vegan coconut cake. But this gingerbread cake is the perfect holiday cake.
See, it's made in a square baking dish, so when you slice it the pieces are a little smaller, hence the snack cake name.
Regardless, it's the mascarpone icing that really takes it to the next level. If you love gingerbread, you must try this cake recipe!
- It's a snack cake, meaning the slices are a little bit smaller than a traditional cake
- Perfectly moist and topped with the BEST mascarpone icing
- My go-to holiday cake recipe
This list is simply to provide further clarification for a few of the ingredients. The full ingredient list is below in the recipe card.
- All purpose flour - I originally tested this cake using spelt flour, so if that's more your jam, feel free to use that instead with the exact same measurements.
- Molasses - I always use organic molasses because I think it has a better flavor -- if you're able to, opt for organic.
- Butter - Unsalted, though feel free to use dairy free butter if you want to keep the cake itself vegan-friendly (though you'll have to omit the mascarpone in the icing).
- Mascarpone - No substitution, though you can omit if if you want to keep this cake vegan-friendly.
Step 1: Mix dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then set it aside.
Step 2: Mix wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for about 1 minute, then add the remaining wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Step 3: Combine and bake. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour it into a greased and parchment-lined 9x13 baking dish, then bake the cake for 38-42 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Step 4: Prepare the icing. Whisk the butter and mascarpone together, then add the milk and vanilla. Last, add in the powdered sugar and stir until the icing is smooth.
-Don't want to use a 9x13 baking dish? You can use three 6" round cake pans instead.
-Make sure to line your pan with parchment paper before pouring the batter into the pan, which will ensure that it doesn't stick.
-If the icing seems too thin, add an additional ¼ cup powdered sugar.
Can this be made vegan and/or gluten free?
Yep! To make vegan: use dairy free butter in both the cake and the icing, and omit the mascarpone from the icing (if you do this, you'll have to use at least 2 additional tablespoons of butter). To make gluten free: Use gluten free 1:1 baking flour in place of all purpose flour.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes. To prep ahead, follow the exact instructions, then wait for the cake to cool completely before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and placing in in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Likewise, you can make the icing and refrigerate it. Wait to ice the cake until you're ready to serve it.
More holiday recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Gingerbread Snack Cake
for the cake:
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ cups cane sugar
- 1 ¼ cup milk I used almond milk
- ½ cup applesauce
- 3 tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the icing:
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter softened
- 4 oz. mascarpone
- 1 tablespoon milk I used almond milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or more
for the pear (optional):
- 1 pear
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Then, add the milk, applesauce, molasses, vinegar, and vanilla to that bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl, then whisk everything together until the batter is smooth.
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish, then pour batter into the dish. Alternatively, you can use three 6" round pans if you prefer. Bake cake for 38-42 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a cooling rack and allow the cake to come to room temperature before icing it.
for the icing:
- Whisk butter and mascarpone together, then add the vanilla and milk. Last, stir in the powdered sugar until the icing is smooth.
- Use an offset knife or spatula to ice the cake until it's fully coated.
for the pears (optional):
- Dice pear into bite-size pieces, then add it to a skillet with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over top, then cook over medium heat until the it's soft. Sprinkle pear on top of cake.
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in November 2017. It was updated with new text and photos in December 2020.
This cake looks Amazing - do you thing i can sub the butter in the cake batter for neutral oil (like canola) instead of vegan butter?
If so how much oil would you out in?
Since you're creaming the butter and sugar together, I recommend sticking with the butter for this recipe. If the recipe called for melted butter, I think you'd be fine using a neutral oil instead, but that would change the consistency of this recipe--hope that makes sense!
I'm a November baby too! My birthday was 2 days ago haha. Happy belated!
I lovee spelt flour. I first used it several years ago to make wraps and haven't been able to get over that wonderful nuttiness since. I don't find it in many recipes though so I'm excited to see it here! This cake looks really good and sounds like fun to make.
Alicia A. says
Although I was born in 1963..... I am still 25...... always.
Lucia Wright says
27 is my favorite number!! Hahaha. Hope you had a great day, girl! This cake looks so amazing - I love the pears sandwiched in there. Awesome idea.
WHAT!! It's one of my least favorite numbers, but I'm still hopeful for a good year 😉 Thanks so much Lucia!
Ellie | Hungry by Nature says
Happy Happy Birthday Erin! I hope you have a FAB day 🙂
Thank you Ellie!!
Alicia @Bridges Through Life says
Happy Birthday!! You make the most beautiful cakes!! Also I noticed that stores had gingerbread and peppermint things popping up Nov 1 and I am all for that. Couldn't resist some gingerbread dark chocolate already.
I agree--bring on the peppermint and gingerbread! Thanks so much Alicia 🙂