Kick off your holiday baking with this delicious gingerbread recipe! A gingerbread loaf is a Christmas classic. Make this easy quick bread for breakfast, snack, dessert, or a delicious edible gift!
Last year, a girlfriend asked me if I had a good recipe for gingerbread. She wasn’t referring to a gingerbread cookie. She was looking for an actual gingerbread recipe. The kind of gingerbread one slices to serve with coffee or cocoa.
And you know what? I didn’t have a gingerbread recipe, and I was so swamped that I just didn’t get to it until this year. I think it was worth the wait. I’m planning on making a loaf to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving when we will eschew the Black Friday shopping and instead decorate our Christmas tree!
I’m really excited about Christmas this year. Last year was so hectic with it being Princess A’s first Christmas, us traveling to see family, planning her first birthday party, etcetera. I just didn’t feel I had the opportunity to stop and enjoy the season fully. This year we are home, just the four of us. I’m looking forward to quiet festivities with lots of hot cocoa, local adventures, and family time.
This gingerbread recipe is adapted from another posted on Chowhound. I wanted a little stronger flavor, so added more spices. And I had to adjust a few other ingredients so that the loaf wouldn’t sink in the middle! Gingerbread loaf cakes make great neighbor gifts, but no one wants to gift a sunken cake!
It also doesn’t work so well when it comes time to add the glaze… an optional addition. For the first few rounds of this cake, I didn’t glaze. I didn’t like the sunken middle. And alternative to the glaze is to dust the gingerbread loaf with a little powdered sugar. Still tastes amazing.
Bake this bread in a glass loaf pan if you have it, or a metal pan. A stoneware pan makes the loaf develop a crunchier crust. The Godfather didn’t like as much for this particular bread. Gingerbread is really more of a pound cake sweet bread and not at all a sandwich bread.
You can have this gingerbread recipe in the oven in under 10 minutes, and then the house smells heavenly during baking, just like Christmas. I’m not sure why it took me so long to work on a gingerbread loaf recipe, but I can’t wait to make another to kick off the Christmas season! I hope you enjoy darlings!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup full fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
- Butter and flour a large loaf pan, and preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Stir in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Then stir in the buttermilk, molasses, vanilla, and oil.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake.
- Allow the loaf to set in the pan for 5-10 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the bread is cooling, make the cream cheese glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until the desired consistency is reached. Spread over the still-warm cake or drizzle.
- If you choose not to use the glaze, wait until the cake is completely cool and sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar
If you'd like to make this cake in advance and freeze for later, don't glaze the cake. As soon as it's cool, double wrap in plastic and place in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to use, then glaze or dust with powdered sugar. The glaze will crack when you thaw if you glaze and then freeze the cake. If you'd like to freeze a glazed cake, just plan to throw another layer on the cake after thawing for a beautiful, smooth finish.