Holiday Gingerbread Cake

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on December 23, 2010

Growing up in Australia, the cake of choice is fruit cake, otherwise called Rich cake. Up until recently, it was always the cake made for weddings and of course it was ever popular during the Holidays. Well, I can honestly say that I was never much for this type of fruit cake that was filled with candied lemon and lime. I did have some that was made with dried cherries, pineapple, raisins and assorted nuts that was truly delicious. In fact, it really did not taste like a traditional fruit cake at all, but a heavily spiced cake filled with an assortment of goodies.

Because my job revolves around the development of new recipes, I am always drawn to the Net to see what recipes others have tried. I find this to be a great collaboration of resources, information and inspiration.

I came across this gingerbread cake recipe last year on a blog called Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, and had been dying to try it out. Apparently, it is David Lebovitz’s Ginger Cake recipe from, and after trying it, I decided that it needed a few important tweaks.  The batter was very thin and after baking, it did not really get too much of a lift  from the leavening ingredients and sank in the middle. I decided to remake the recipe and have had much better luck with it both in appearance, taste and texture. The first change I made was to add dried ginger to the recipe and omit the fresh ginger altogether. Fresh ginger not only adds moisture, but also can be overpowering for some. I also changed the leavening to both baking powder and baking soda, reduced the quantity of oil, added a little more sugar, changed the water to brewed tea (for more flavor) and increased the ground pepper. You might say that it is essentially a brand new recipe which will provide you with a dependable recipe that you can enjoy as is, glaze or fill with your favorite frosting.

I have provided you with both cup measurements and weights for the main ingredients (using a food scale), so that you will have consistently great results.

I have tried other gingerbread cake recipes, including one from Bo Friberg, one of my favorite Pastry Chefs and authors, and I must say this one has a better texture. This would be a great recipe to use as a cake base for a fruit cake. If you choose to do this, use warm water instead of tea and pour it over your dried fruits about 30 minutes before putting the batter together. Another important note to keep in mind is that the temperature listed in the recipe is too high for this cake, and it will scorch on top. I would also suggest reducing the temperature to 300°F or 325°F and let it rise a little slower. Serve it with some anglais sauce , homemade ice cream or a cream cheese frosting for a great Holiday dessert.

Gingerbread Spice Cake (makes 1-10” bundt cake)
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsulphured molasses
4 oz fresh grated ginger
2 ½ cups flour (12.5oz)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking soda

Good Food Gourmet’s Gingerbread Cake (tweaked from David Lebovitz)
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar (9 oz)
1 cup brewed tea, room temp (7.5 oz)
¾ cup vegetable oil (5.5 oz)
1 cup unsulphured molasses (8 oz)
2 ½ cups flour (12.5oz)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½teaspoon ground cloves
½teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
NOTE: If you would like to use this as a base for your fruit cake recipe, I would suggest that you add 3 cups of any dried fruit that you like. This may include dried cherries, raisins, currants, cranberries or blueberries. Place the dried fruit in a bowl, heat up the 1 cup of water and pour over the dried fruit. Allow the fruit to absorb the water and once it has cooled, you can begin to put the ingredients together for the cake. Make sure to use both the re-hydrated fruit and the remaining water in the bowl for the recipe.

Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In another bowl, place the eggs, sugar, tea, oil and molasses and whisk everything together. Add in the dry ingredients and whisk again until there are no lumps. Pour batter into greased 10″ bundt pan, 12″ square pan or mini bundt pans and bake until the cake is firm to the touch and tests clean, about 30-40 minutes at 300 or 325°F.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Benny Doro December 23, 2010 at 3:35 p


looks great I have never made one before but how more holiday can you get. As you know I am just getting into baking beyond the basics so I am looking to you for a little mentoring :)


avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet December 23, 2010 at 8:18 p

Benny this is a great one to try if you are a spice cake type of person. The batter is thin, so you can’t put any types of nuts or dried fruit in it because they would all sink and stick to the bottom…this one is great just they way it is. I am glad to help any way I can!

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