This gingerbread cake is an old fashioned recipe that uses basic pantry ingredients. It’s easy and delicous!
Sometimes the best recipes are the ones that have been around for a while…as is the case with this gingerbread cake. During one of my conversations with my dad, he told me about a gingerbread cake that his mother made. I, of course, went looking for the recipe, but could find nothing. I was sure it would be somewhere in my grandmother’s recipe book, but I had no luck finding it. I wasn’t ready to give up though, so I searched my vintage cookbooks. I found exactly what I wanted in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, copyright 1942.
*Originally published in 2016, this post has been updated with a printable recipe card, better images, and more information. Enjoy!
There are so many things I like about this recipe. It’s easy, uses basic pantry ingredients, bakes in half an hour, has no frosting, and tastes amazing. So that’s five good reasons to give it a try!
Gingerbread Cake Recipe Tips:
- I made two substitutions that worked out great. The original recipe called for cloves, and I used allspice. I also substituted brown sugar for molasses.
- The recipe calls for one cup of hot water. It doesn’t specify exactly how hot the water should be…so I used a very unscientific method. I ran my kitchen faucet with my finger in the hot water stream until it got so hot that I had to pull my finger out. I then filled my measuring cup!
- In place of the powdered sugar topping, a powdered sugar glaze would be delicious. Place 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of milk, and stir. Add more milk until the glaze gets to a pouring consistency. Drizzle it on the cooled cake until the entire cake is covered.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Beat shortening in the bowl of a standing mixer (or large bowl with a hand mixer) until fluffy.
- Add both sugars and egg. Beat until well mixed, scraping sides of bowl.
- Add half of the flour mixture, the hot water, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing well between additions.
- Put batter in prepared 9 x 9 inch baking pan. (I prepare my baking pans with Baker's Joy.)
- Bake 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes. Dust generously with powdered sugar.
This would made the perfect after-school snack or easy week night dessert. I haven’t baked anything for quite a while. The day I made this, it was rainy and dark. I had all the lights on, and as the cake baked, the scent of ginger and cinnamon filled my kitchen. For the first time since my mom died, I felt a bit of contentment. I sat at my kitchen island with a cup of coffee, and thought about my mom…and my grandmother. Happy thoughts that made my heart smile. So what you all told me is true…although the pain of losing a parent never goes away, time makes it less painful.
Author’s Note October 2020: One of my ongoing tasks as a blogger is updating my old recipes. When I’m in the process of updating, I occasionally run across personal thoughts like the ones in the paragraph above. Sometimes I take them out, and sometimes I leave them in. I decided to leave my thoughts about my mom as is…because as they did back in 2016, they made my heart happy.
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- Goldtouch 9 x 9 cake pan
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