Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Old Fashioned Gingerbread is an actual gingerbread cake, a spicy and dark cake topped with simple whipped cream or even a cream cheese buttercream icing.

slices of Old Fashioned Gingerbread on white plates with fork and bread knife
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This recipe is for Old Fashioned Gingerbread, not cookies, but real gingerbread, which is a cake and doesn’t resemble a cookie whatsoever. This is a very spicy, dark cake that I wouldn’t recommend if you don’t like molasses. But for a molasses lover, this is an amazing cake!

slices of Old Fashioned Gingerbread on white plates with fork and bread knife

Old Fashioned Gingerbread – A Taste of Home

There are a few baked goods that remain forever distinctive in my memory from my childhood, Nana’s molasses bars or whipped shortbread , but some of these uniquely memorable flavors are no longer made much anymore. Perhaps it is because of its sharp spiciness and super dark molasses taste, but one of these almost lost tastes is gingerbread. Now yes, yes, while you can still find plenty of gingerbread cookies, what we are really looking for is some old fashioned, real gingerBREAD. That is, a ginger loaded, dark molasses baked good that is made in CAKE form.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread ingredients in a wooden cutting board on a dark wood background

First, A Discussion On Molasses

Before we can get to the making of gingerbread, it might be a good idea to familiarize ourselves with the different types of molasses, as we’ll be using it in our gingerbread recipe. There are two basic types of molasses – fancy and blackstrap.

Fancy molasses comes from crushing sugar cane and clarifying and evaporating the resulting liquid. When fancy molasses is made, it is usually produced as a specific product, meaning the manufacturers specifically intended to make this type of molasses.

Blackstrap molasses, meanwhile, is actually just a by-product of regular sugar production. It is what is left when no more white sugar can be extracted from the liquid that comes from the sugar cane.

Cooking Molasses – Manufacturers will sometimes combine fancy and blackstrap, to end up with cooking molasses, a more palatable, sweeter version of blackstrap.

If you use fancy molasses, you end up with a much sweeter, more lightly colored finished product. Blackstrap molasses will make it darker, as well as giving it a slightly bitter, more noticeable robust flavor.

For old fashioned gingerbread, you should definitely use whatever you prefer. Blackstrap will give a more intense flavor and a very dark appearance, but cooking or fancy molasses will result in a finer tasting finished product. Cooking molasses is the most commonly used in gingerbread, as it has the best from both, it’s dark, flavorful and delicious.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread slices on wooden cutting board and white plate with fork and bread knife

How to Make Old Fashioned Gingerbread

  1. Cream your butter and sugar together, just like you were making cookies.
  2. Add in your egg and molasses and mix them a fine batter forms.In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients until well combined.
  3. Mix the two together, mixing slowly so as not to overwork them.
  4. Add the cup of hot water into the mix and work it until it looks just like cake batter.
  5. Pour into a well-greased and floured 9×9 pan.
  6. Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean.

close up Old Fashioned Gingerbread slices on wooden cutting board and white plate with fork and bread knife, a cup of butter cream icing on its side

More Gingerbread Recipes For You To Try

If you really want to amp it up, you can add all kinds of different frostings and flavorings, like buttercream and cream cheese, but that’s entirely up to you. I used my Buttercream Icing on it which was a perfect sweet foil to the dark molasses flavor. You can also use my Cream Cheese Icing for another great taste combination! This is the perfect treat to remind you of home and of childhood; sweet, tangy ginger and spices, with plenty of sweetness and tender, moist texture. What could be better than a warm slice of old fashioned gingerbread?

Happy baking!



Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Old Fashioned Gingerbread is an actual gingerbread cake, a spicy and dark cake topped with simple whipped cream or even a cream cheese buttercream icing.
5 from 31 votes
slices of Old Fashioned Gingerbread on white plates with fork and bread knife
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Total Time
1 hour
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup water


  • Kick the tires and light the fires to 350 degrees.
  • Cream your butter and sugar together. Then add in your egg and the molasses, whichever you chose to use.
  • Whisk your dry ingredients together well in a separate bowl. Slowly blend them into the wet mixture, until just combined. The lowest setting on my mixer does such a great job. 
  • When done, take the cup of hot water and add into the mix, combining until it looks like cake batter now, more liquidy. 
  • Pour into a well greased and floured 9×9 pan, and tap it to get the bubbles out. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes believe it or not, it takes a long time to bake! But keep an eye on it because everyone’s ovens are different. I used my Butter Cream Icing on it which was a perfect sweet foil to the dark molasses flavor. 
  • Slice and enjoy.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 425kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 364mg, Potassium: 729mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 44g, Vitamin A: 385IU, Calcium: 132mg, Iron: 4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Old Fashioned Gingerbread is an actual gingerbread cake, a spicy and dark cake topped with simple whipped cream or even a cream cheese buttercream icing.

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Site Index Gingerbread Molasses Vintage cake recipe

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Ym says

    We love gingerbread and have tried a few others but we like yours the most.
    Thanks for posting.5 stars

  2. Jen Wallis says

    Made this today on a grey windy winter day in NZ. I love ginger & had a jar of Blackstrap Molasses in the pantry. Delicious, makes a large loaf so am freezing half of it. I often modify recipes e.g. add things but this time I stuck to the exact recipe (altho next time I might include dates & use less sugar). It did not disappoint, I will be checking out your other recipes soon!

  3. Carolyn says

    Made this today and my whole house smelled fantastic! The grandkids enjoyed it along with some applesauce, just as I did as a child. Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories for me and some new ones to share with my grandchildren!

  4. bayoubaker says

    Good recipe — produced a cake with a lovely, moist texture. I didn’t use quite all the hot water, because my batter was plenty loose with only about 3/4 cup. I decided to use 1/2 blackstrap molasses and 1/2 dark cane syrup, thinking the blackstrap would be too intense all by itself. The result is very good, but I will try going all blackstrap next time because I think I would like even more molasses punch. I also found I wanted to increase the ginger, but that may be because my powdered ginger is not as intense as some. I also added some fresh grated nutmeg in the batter. Bon appetit,and thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  5. Malou says

    This looks great but is it possible to make it with say, 180g grated fresh ginger?


    I’m making this in the am recipe looks grest but I think I may pair with lemon curd sauce i made last year … ant thoughts

  7. Kate says

    This is a fabulous recipe. I know because it is exactly like my grandmother’s. We always used blackstrap molasses because it has a higher content of iron in it which my Mum thought was better for us. I haven’t made it in years but now that I see this I will be making it this weekend. I love your site. Not only do you have great recipes but you bring but such good memories. Thanks again!5 stars

  8. Ralph Spazo says

    Nutrition Facts
    via: MyFitnessPal
    Servings 8.0
    Amount Per Serving 311 calories

    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 13g 19%
    Saturated Fat 7g 36%
    Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 53mg 18%
    Sodium 361mg 15%
    Potassium 665mg 19%
    Total Carbohydrate 55g 18%
    Dietary Fiber 4g 17%
    Sugars 44g
    Protein 1g 3%
    Vitamin A 9%
    Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 17%
    Iron 17%

    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so
    your values may change depending on your calorie needs.
    The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have
    not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the
    U.S. FDA.

  9. Lisa says

    This sounds wonderful! I’m making this for my mom’s bday.

    I love your blog; such fun things!

  10. Sixx says

    The batter was tasty, can’t wait for it to finish baking now 😀

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Cheryl says

      When my mom used to make this, we’d have it with applesauce. If we got whipped cream and applesauce it was a big treat. This might be Christmas dinner dessert this year! Thanks for the reminder.

  11. spice and more says

    Very informative – thank you! And that gingerbread looks lovely too. I think I need to hunt down some molasses to give it a try!

  12. Patty says

    Oh wow that looks amazing, thanks for the recipe! That butter cream icing looks fantastic, can’t wait to try them together!

  13. julo says

    You know, I’ve never had real gingerbread, but that cake looks fantastic! I wanted to make one around Christmas time, but I never got around to it. I might just have to do it out of season because that looks fantastic and I love molasses!

5 from 31 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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