Cakes/ Recipes/ Seasonal Recipes

My Great Grandma’s Gingerbread


Maybe it’s my lifelong obsession with Little House on the Prairie, but I sure do love me some old fashioned gingerbread.

As much as I love gingerbread cookies {my favorite cookie!}, I have to say that I prefer the cake kind. It’s spicy, sweet and just feels deliciously old fashioned to me. I never liked the lemon sauce that people commonly top their gingerbread with though – rather, I prefer just a fine dusting of powdered sugar on top. And maybe some whipped cream. And vanilla ice cream. Is there anything better, I ask?!

This recipe is from my great grandma’s collection! Remember those? I put the brakes on all the public recipe testing about a year ago because I had hopes to turn the project into a book – and I still might do that – but decided that this recipe is just too good not to share online. Especially at Christmas. Because if you’re like me, you love to wake up early on Christmas Eve morning and bake festive treats. This is the perfect recipe for that!


Mmmmmm this gingerbread recipe contains a whole CUP of molasses! Yep, you heard that right. Great grandma loved her some molasses, that’s for sure. It makes this cake delightfully moist and reduces the need to add a ton of white sugar {there’s only a half cup in the recipe}.


This really is a true old fashioned gingerbread recipe. I’m guessing the recipe is from the early 1930’s, most likely, when ingredients like eggs and butter were scarce. It’s a special cake that deserves a special place on your holiday table!

Oooooooo and even MORE exciting than this cake is that later this week, I’ll be sharing the gender of our baby with you guys! Stay tuned for that fun announcement!

Merry Christmas!


yields 1 9″ cake round

Print this Recipe!


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ginger

1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ cake round well and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg then drizzle in the molasses with the beater running until smooth and combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soad, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Add alternately with the boiling water to the butter mixture. Beat until smooth.

Pour gingerbread into prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.


1 hour (includes time to cool)

You Might Also Like

  • Catherine
    December 23, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Ahh, Little House! I was also obsessed…still have my dog-eared box set on a bookshelf (the yellow, not the blue). Pretty sure I could fumble through making lye soap or maple syrup if I were pressed. Handy skills in 2013!

    Thanks for the smile, the gingerbread looks good!

  • Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes
    December 23, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I always love seeing these recipes of your great grandmother’s. What a great legacy to leave you with a ton of delicious recipes! I’ve honestly never been a big fan of gingerbread, but this looks tempting!

  • Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness
    December 23, 2013 at 5:36 am

    I love a classic gingerbread and if it’s from Grandma, you know it has to be ah-may-zing! This looks crazy good and perfect for Christmas!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun
    December 23, 2013 at 6:17 am

    This looks DELICIOUS! I would love to make something like this, my husband loves gingerbread!

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    December 23, 2013 at 6:25 am

    deep down, i want to BE laura ingalls. i love family recipes, there is something about imagining your relative making the same thing in their own kitchen i just love.

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife
    December 23, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I adore family recipes like this, especially with GINGERBREAD. High fives for the full cup of molasses. I bet the flavor is big, bold, and beautiful. Happy holidays lady!

  • Tina@GottaRunNow
    December 23, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Just thinking that it’s from the early 1930?s makes me want to make it. The idea of the recipe being handed down for so many years is really special!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    December 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I am a massive gingerbread and molasses fan and posted my last GB/molasses recipe of the season over the weekend and it was with a sniff, sniff. I love this cake and would definitely eat it year round! Pinned to my GB/molasses board!

    Thanks for sharing your great grandma’s recipe. Those are always the best! I’ve seen lots of old-fash recipes similar to this that call for 1 c boiling water so good to know they work!

  • dishing up the dirt
    December 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I adore recipes like this. I bet your great grandma would be proud.

  • Katrina @ WVS
    December 23, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Recipes like this are always so special. Lovely!

  • Dana
    December 23, 2013 at 9:18 am

    This looks awesome! Thanks for sharing! I’m a huge fan of gingerbread flavor! Have you tried Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread cookies? They are amazing and sooo deadly!

  • Judith Scott
    December 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Jenna, This looks yum, as do all your recipes.
    I made the toffee bars for a little get together I had last weekend, they were pronounced seriously TDF!
    Can’t wait to hear your exciting news re the baby!
    Have a wonderful Holiday Season!
    Best, Judith

  • Bryony @ Friday Night Dinners -- PDX
    December 23, 2013 at 10:22 am

    My grandma’s gingerbread recipe is similar to this and I love it! I’ll have to try this out and compare – thanks for sharing!

  • Liana@RunToMunch
    December 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Looks so good! Teleport me a slice1

  • Leanne T
    December 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Oh Jenna we must be old souls together! I have a recipe that is almost identical to this one, that was my grammas too! I have to make it every Christmas, it’s just not the holidays without grammas gingerbread cake! And just like you, all I want is a dusting of powedered sugar! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I wish you and Adam and baby Baugh a very Merry Christmas, so excited to see if your bundle is pink or blue!!! xoxo

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    December 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

    This looks wonderful, Jenna. I’ve actually never tried gingerbread cake! I must give this recipe a try.

  • Elisabeth
    December 23, 2013 at 10:57 am

    This looks delicious! I, too, prefer the gingerbread to gingerbread cookies (although, I do like the lemon sauce – my great aunt always made it like that 😉 ). Can’t wait to hear if it will be Babygirl Beaugh or Babyboy Beaugh!

  • Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner
    December 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Love gingerbread, love Laura Ingalls. Time for a down home Christmas!

  • Lauren C
    December 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. I bake all day and then make a decadent dinner with filet mignon, risotto, and lots of naughty eggnog and red wine through the evening. Have a safe trip back to the south 🙂 and looking forward to the big reveal this week! Merry Christmas!

  • Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists
    December 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

    This looks super good! Love gingery anything!

  • jan
    December 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I actually didn’t know it was BREAD…I am only familiar with the men! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love family recipes like that!

  • Caroline L.
    December 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I love your obsession with Little House on the Prairie! And I actually had some gingerbread cake from BiRite the other day, but I’m sure this one beats that out of the water (although their chocolate sour cream loaf, on the other hand, is soooo good). And I can’t wait to hear the gender! My guess is a baby boy, but I’m often wrong when it comes to this 🙂

  • Laura
    December 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    oh jenna, this recipe looks delicious. it’s very similar to my cookie recipe … i’m a sucker for molasses.

  • Lizz
    December 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    You’ll be sharing the sex of the baby, not the gender.

  • Crystal
    December 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Made this tonight for a little party at my BIL’s, he wouldn’t let me bring home the leftovers. Everyone loved it and it was very easy! I may bake it a little longer next time, the center was a little soft and caved in slightly while it cooled. It will be my new go-to Christmas dessert! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Jen @ SavedbytheKale
    December 24, 2013 at 4:48 am

    That sounds and looks so good! Merry Christmas!

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    December 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I much prefer the cake to the cookies. Your cake looks fabulous. Merry Merry Christmas!

  • Karen
    December 26, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I made this recipe on Christmas Eve and it was great! What I love about old recipes is that they are forgiving and I certainly put this one to the test. What should have taken about 15 minutes to assemble ingredients took more like 45 with my little 9-month-old vying for attention after each ingredient addition. Then when I finally popped it in the oven, I started to smell natural gas in the kitchen and had to turn everything off and open the windows. It was maybe 20 degrees outside. I left the cake in the oven while I dug up our Nesco portable electric roaster which needed to be cleaned. At the point the baby decided he needed his mama to help him rock to sleep. So the cake sat in the oven an additional 30 minutes before I popped in the Nesco roaster at 350 for 20 minutes. It rose perfectly and smelled wonderful. It was a bit dry but nothing a little whipped cream couldn’t handle.

    Thanks for a new tried-and-true recipe!

  • Kristin @ FoodFash
    December 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Have you ever tried using fresh ginger in lieu of ground? I started doing this with pumpkin pie and now, whenever I see a baked good that calls for ground ginger, I always go with fresh!

  • Michelle
    December 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Made this on Christmas Eve and it was amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it straight from the pan

  • Kevie
    December 28, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I made this cake for our extended family Xmas, and it was a BIG HIT! I love the smell and taste of gingerbread. This cake was good on its own or served with vanilla, cinnamon, or eggnog flavored ice creams. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Friday Favorites, 2013: Week 52 (THE LAST ONE!) | Okay, Kaye?
    December 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    […] homemade…My Great Grandma’s Gingerbread…I just love recipes like this that are passed down from generation to […]

  • Annie
    December 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    This cake tastes fantastic! Must say I’m a huge ginger-anything fan, so add spices and molasses and I can’t be any happier. For some reason, mine rose a lot (a LOT!) and had a much clearer color, but was delicious all the same.

  • Megan Rich
    December 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I made this yesterday for my three year old and husband and it’s almost gone. Delicious! I think I’m going to make it for Christmas as well. Thanks for the recipe!