Gingerbread Cake with Orange Buttercream Icing

This gingerbread cake is moist, full of ginger spice and topped with a creamy orange flavored buttercream icing. Great for the holidays!

To recipe
gingerbread cake with orange buttercream icing cut into squares
Recipe insights & TIPS

A moist spiced gingerbread cake topped with orange buttercream! Perfect as a dessert or just snack with your coffee anytime of the day.

gingerbread cake with orange buttercream icing cut into squares

I grew up in a house where there was always a loaf of gingerbread cake in the bread bin. Close beside it would be a lump of butter, kept at room temperature which was great for spreading on the gingerbread. I certainly took my moms baking for granted.

Those days are gone now. I don't have a bread bin and my butter is kept in the fridge which causes me great distress when I need to spread some on my toast (kidding). After growing up with room temperature butter I seem to be doing okay. Does anyone else keep their butter on the counter? Eggs have a similar issue. Most Europeans are able to keep their eggs at room temperature. This is because the eggs haven't been put through a vicious wash cycle, like they are in the U.S. which scrubs away an important protective part of the shell.

You're ready to make this gingerbread cake if...

  • You love delicious moist cake.
  • You're a fan of orange buttercream.
  • You love molasses.
  • You like to bake easy recipes.
  • And you don't mind sharing!

What is gingerbread cake?

Gingerbread is a quick bread that doesn't require yeast or any type of fermentation process. It's made by creaming the fat and sugar together to create a light and airy base for the cake. Spices include ground ginger and cinnamon and of course no gingerbread would be complete without molasses. Check out my soft baked molasses cookies with sea salt for more detail on what molasses is. Gingerbread cake can be all different shapes and size but for this version I wanted to make an easy celebration style cake that can be easily sliced up into squares and eaten with no fuss.

gingerbread cake with buttercream icing being spread on top

Items needed for your gingerbread cake

  • Flour- All purpose is perfect
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Baking soda- Always make sure your rising agents like baking soda and baking powder are fresh and haven't been sitting too long.
  • Butter- Unsalted
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Milk- Whole milk is what I always use in baking for that full fat flavor
  • Eggs


What goes well with gingerbread cake? Traditionally where I grew up gingerbread cake is eaten with good salty butter. But this orange flavored buttercream icing is also amazing making this cake a great option for Thanksgiving or Christmas when you have to feed a crowd.

Can I make this in a loaf pan? The recipe quantities are set for a 9x13 inch pan but you can try this gingerbread loaf if you prefer.

How to store leftover gingerbread cake Should there be any leftovers, not sure why but it's best to keep them in a plastic Tupperware dish with a sealed lid. The cake can stay fresh for a couple of days in the fridge but don't forget to let it come to room temperature before serving or the frosting will still be hard.

How to serve gingerbread cake Cut this cake into 12 squares and serve along with some good coffee.

A white, fluffy chef's hat with an orange band, logo of Foodness Gracious.


A moist gingerbread cake with orange buttercream frosting.

35 minutes
Total TIME:
55 minutes
20 minutes


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Zest of one large orange

Ingredient Swaps


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and line a 13 x 9 baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. in a large bowl combine the flour, ginger and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. beat the butter and then add the sugar and molasses to it whisking until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time.
  5. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet batter scraping down the bowl a few times.
  6. Gradually add the milk in small amounts to the rest of the ingredients stirring as you go until the mixture is smooth and lump free.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back up when gently pressed.
  8. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 2 minutes with a whisk attachment.
  9. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until it comes together. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 5 minutes.
  10. Add the vanilla, milk and the orange zest and gently mix through. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  11. Let the cake cool before spreading the icing evenly over the top of the cake.
  12. Slice into twelve squares and serve.

A white, fluffy chef's hat with an orange band, logo of Foodness Gracious.

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