She is beauty, she is grace, she is…a holiday-ready gingerbread loaf topped with swoops and swirls of tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. If over-spiced cookies with a texture like cardboard aren’t your thing, try this easy cake recipe instead. It’s moist, tender and basically the opposite of that tiny anthropomorphic cookie you’re about to break your tooth on.
The loaf itself is flavored with a classic blend of spices for the most nostalgic effect, but you should feel free to adjust the amounts as you see fit. If you love cinnamon and hate nutmeg, replace one with the other! Not a fan of cloves? Leave them out. In a committed relationship with store-bought pumpkin pie spice? Replace all the spices with three teaspoons of that instead. Happy holiday baking, y’all.
1¼ cups (150g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks/225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (99g) granulated sugar
½ cup (107g) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces (227g) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (57g) sour cream
1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Candied ginger, to garnish
1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and cloves. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until the batter is homogenous with no streaks of flour. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with very few crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
5. Make the Frosting: While the cake is cooling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and butter and mix on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream and mix for about 1 minute more.
6. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then increase the speed to medium and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
7. When the cake is completely cool, frost the cake, using an offset spatula or spoon to create swoops and swirls in the frosting. Garnish with candied ginger as desired. The cake is best eaten the day it’s made, but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.