Black Sticky Gingerbread Cake

This black sticky gingerbread cake recipe makes an outrageously dark, dense, flavorful and delicious cake. The burnt-caramel-esque crust that forms on the top of the cake is part of what makes this recipe a keeper.

Black Sticky Gingerbread Cake

I've experimented with a good number of gingerbread recipes in the years since I highlighted Regan Daley's Black Sticky Gingerbread cake. There were single, double, and triple ginger gingerbreads. Cakes that were spice-kissed, and others with experience at first and second base. They're all good, really. But hers is the one I keep coming back to when it counts. And because it has been hiding in the archives for so long, I thought I'd run my updated version today complete with tweaks, and fresh insights. Please enjoy!
Black Sticky Gingerbread Dusted with Powdered Sugar
Back then, here's what I said, "...The Black Sticky Gingerbread comes together like the cake that it is - straight-forward, unfussy, with a bit of kick and attitude. Melt the butter with the sweeteners, stir in a few eggs, fold in the fragrant spices and flour, spike it with some freshly grated ginger, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. The cake is outrageously dark, dense, flavorful, and delicious. Not the prettiest cake you'll ever make, but one of the tastiest. The burnt-caramel-esque crust that forms on the top of the cake is outrageous, and that was the first part of the cake to go."Black Sticky Gingerbread Dusted with Powdered Sugar

What is the Best Gingerbread Pan?

I've baked this gingerbread cake in a range of pans over the years. Honestly, it's hard to go wrong. You might have to adjust the baking time depend on what you're using. Less time if you're baking in muffin or cupcake tins, or longer if you're using a sheet pan or large bundt pan. There is guidance in the recipe notes. This is just a long way of saying, experiment!

Black Sticky Gingerbread

Your Gingerbread Suggestions

A number of you have left insightful comments over the years, and I wanted to highlight a few here. Kelly noted," I made this for Christmas dinner this year with homemade lemon curd and it was fabulous!" There has been success swapping in gluten-free flour for the flour. And Haruspex loaded it up saying, "I halved the recipe, made it in a loaf pan, added a fistful of sherry-soaked chopped dates & raisins and another of chopped walnuts, and brought it to a New Year’s Eve party." Have fun, I'd love to know if any of you give this a try over the holidays, or if you make any other personalized tweaks to it! xo -h

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Black Sticky Gingerbread

4.39 from 36 votes

ust a quick mention that I like Wholesome Sweeteners or Plantation Organic Molasses, both are unsulphered organic, blackstrap molasses. Pan choice: My version of the recipe calls for a 13x9x2 inch pan. I suspect it is a size many of you have, and it's a nice choice because you get lots of the caramelized top. That said, loaf pans also work beautifully, but don't fill them more than ~2/3 full, and line them as noted below. In this set of photos I used a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan, which means no parchment lining, and 50/50 odds for getting the gingerbread out of the pan in one piece - butter and flour well.

  • 1 cup / 8 oz / 225 g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml water
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 3/4 cup / 180 m flavorful, real honey
  • 1 cup / 5 1/2 oz / 155 g tightly packed dark brown / Muscovado sugar
  • 3 cups / 13 1/2 oz / 385 g whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml milk
  • 1 packed tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F / 165C, with a rack in the center. Butter and line a 13x9x2-inch (33x23x5-cm) baking pan so the parchment hangs over by a couple inches. This will help you remove the cake from the pan later on.
  2. Combine the butter, water, molasses, honey and brown sugar in a medium non-reactive saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture frequently until the butter is just melted, and all of the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice and cloves, and set aside. When the molasses mixture feels just warm to the touch, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the milk and stir to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter, and don't be overly concerned if you can't get every lump out. Stir in the grated ginger.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for ~45-60 minutes. Start checking for doneness after about 45 minutes. When the top of the cake springs back when touched you're good. For me this is usually ~55 minutes, but the baking time will depend on your oven and the shape of your pan.
  5. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then, using the overhang of parchment (if you're using a rectangular pan), lift the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. If refrigerated, the texture becomes dense and sticky - in a good way, just let it come up to room temperature before serving. And, as I'm sure you can imagine, this cake is particularly nice served with boozy whipped cream.


Serves 12-16.

Adapted, quite a bit over the years, from Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen.

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
42 mins
Total Time
57 mins
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Recipe Rating


Very tasty! The cake is a nice texture although the cake stuck to the bundt tin in two small patches.

I melted the butter in the microwave then stirred in the other ingredients so I didn’t need to wait for the sugar mix to cool. I also used treacle rather than molasses and skipped the water as I used runny honey.5 stars


This gingerbread is a family favorite. I The addition of fresh ginger makes the flavor pop.5 stars


    So happy you enjoy it Colleen!

    Heidi Swanson

Hi Heidi, I’m hoping to bake this ahead of time for a friends birthday. Do you think this cake could keep in an airtight container refrigerated for 3 nights before serving? Thanks Heidi!


    I think you’d be ok!

    Heidi Swanson

My husband wanted a ginger cake for Christmas, so, knowing you typically can’t go wrong with Heidi’s recipes, I tried this one. She isn’t kidding when she describes it as outrageously delicious. Quite possibly the best cake we’ve ever eaten, and we are not gingerbread aficionados. I’m going to make a few of these next year and send them out for holiday gifts.5 stars


    Thanks Lynne! So happy it was a success!

    Heidi Swanson

I think this is the same recipe that I’ve made a few years before, I love it! But the photos here make the cake look much lighter than I remember? I seem to remember the recipe used to have a photo that was super dark, almost like a brownie. Any reason? (Or am I misremembering?)


    Hi Claire! Same recipe – The photos are a collection of shots of the cake over the year. The ones at the top are more recent. Have a look at the cake on the bottom – it’s probably just the lighting. I shot the recent ones on my patio.

    Heidi Swanson

I made this almost exactly as written, except that I left out the fresh ginger and I halved the recipe and used an 8.5×4.5×2.5 inch loaf pan. It cooked to perfection in 55 minutes. This is my ideal gingerbread. The spices are just right, the crumb is tender and moist, and those crispy edges are delightful. Will make it again and give as gifts.5 stars

Alyssa B

    Thanks Alyssa! So happy you’re enjoying it. Happy holidays!

    Heidi Swanson

Heidi..many years ago, I made this gingerbread. It was THE BEST GINGERBREAD I have ever I
remember it, it WAS dark, buttery, gingery and totally fabulous. I have come back to your site to
get the recipe again as I am craving this particular gingerbread. It is just so good.


    Thanks Janis! I make it every year as well! xx!

    Heidi Swanson

this is a staple for me! it’s a perfect way for me to use up sourdough discard — I sub in discard for the water and subtract 120g of flour from the original recipe. a couple of times I’ve grated in an entire apple. it’s such a perfect recipe; so adaptable. we eat it for breakfast sometimes! honestly, this cake brings actual joy to my life. thanks as always, Heidi!4 stars


    Thanks Kelley~! I’m totally going to try the sourdough swap!

    Heidi Swanson

Somehow it happened that I had some left that was not eaten. (Go figure). I served it with the sauce for Sticky Toffee Pudding. Omg. Not low cal by any means, but just about the closest thing to heaven that my sweet tooth could imagine.5 stars


Just incredible. The perfect crumb, rich and sublime flavours…made this for Christmas and it was perfect for rainy west coast weather. I baked it in a bundt pan and, following Heidi’s comment, seriously buttered the pan. The gingerbread lifted like a dream.

A question—I would like to try lowering the sweetness, but unsure how to do so without compromising the moisture and texture. Any tips and suggestions?


I just made this gingerbread and it is by far the tastiest I have every made. I put half of the batter in a greased and floured Nordic Ware Gingerbread man mold with low expectations that it would pop out clean but it did!!!! The second half went into muffins. It is insanely good. Perfect mix of spices. Gingerbread is sometimes too sweet, too cloying. This is absolutely addictive!!!!!


Loved everything about this cake except it was a bit too sweet for us. Do you think the recipe would work without the brown sugar? Or would you recommend something else?5 stars


I made this last Sunday and loved was shared with many colleagues (everyone raved) and the 2 loaves were gone in 3 days.
I did change the sugar content (due mostly to just not having enough honey and molasses on hand) and cut 30 grams from each of the sweeteners. It was still sticky, gorgeous and satisfying. I personally will put a bit more ginger in next time, but I’ve already replaced my sweeteners in my’s going to be made again very, very soon. Thank you for such lovely recipes.


I just made this for the first time tonight and it is wonderful!!! Thank you Heidi for all of your flawless recipes.


I made this subbing Pamela’s gluten free baking mix for the flour (cup for cup) and baking soda (since Pamela’s has leavening in it). It turned out amazing!


I had to make a dessert for a dinner party with my in-laws. I made this gingerbread because I wanted something rich, but not too sweet in taste. It was absolutely what I wanted and especially the women loved it. I live in Switzerland and a gingerbread here is something quite exotic, nevertheless it was a hit! Thank you Heidi!


As a child my mother would make the ultimate gingerbread cake – the only type of cake my dad would EVER eat. She’d serve it warm with either vanilla ice cream or homemade apple sauce. Sometimes both. Her recipe is long lost and I’ve been trying for years to replicate its moist, spicy perfect textured goodness. So far no luck. But I will definitely be trying this one. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year!


I hadn’t been on your site in quite some time, and I actually did make this over Christmas without knowing you had reposted it! It’s the best gingerbread recipe I’ve ever found. It was the hit of the dessert buffet, even beating out the homemade chocolate chip cookies!!


This was absolutely incredible! Used whole spelt flour, and followed everything else exactly. I used a dark amber honey. I’ll be making it again with gluten-free flour to bring in to the office. I could not stop eating it after it cooled! (It was good warm, better room temp.) I ate it straight for the first few days, and like it with whipped cream now that it’s been refrigerated.
I’m curious as to whether anyone’s tried cutting back the brown sugar or honey a little? I’m willing to make it as-is, but thinking it’s a little high sugar and would love to see if any experiements have worked out.
Thanks, Heidi!


I made this for Christmas dinner this year with homemade lemon curd and it was fabulous! I grew up loving gingerbread with lemon sauce but my mom always made both from a box. This post challenged me to make a family classic from scratch and what a difference it made. Thanks, Heidi!!!

kelly. k.

Heidi I plan on making Black sticky gingerbread this week and was wondering exactly what type of honey (flavor) do you use in this recipe. I figured on using clover honey and was thinking about Buckwheat honey, what do you think? Denny
HS: Have a go with clover for starters Denny, and then if you make it again, switch it up to something a bit darker/more distinctive?

Denny Abler

Oh. I just now saw that the 45-50 minute baking time you proposed was for a flat pan, not for the bundt you used, which I would have expected to take longer than a half-sized loaf. So I probably should not have been surprised at the long bake time. However, it came out beautifully, with a crunchy top and soft, moist interior.


I halved the recipe, made it in a loaf pan, added a fistful of sherry-soaked chopped dates & raisins and another of chopped walnuts, and brought it to a New Year’s Eve party. Extremely good, well-textured and well-flavored, even though I had no fresh ginger (shh! I added extra ground spices, including a sprinkle of garam masala). It was a very wet batter and was taking forever to bake at 325, though, so I raised the temp to 375 to finish it off. I mention this just in case anyone else encounters the same effect.


This was so wonderful! Thank you! Everybody LOVED it!!!


Years ago I jarred some apple butter with the intention to open the jars to serve with a perfect gingerbread cake, and finally i’ve found that recipe. So so good. Many thanks from a grateful fan!


I made this for Christmas Day dinner and served it with Black Maple Hill spiked whipped cream… What a great cake!

rugged filly

It looks great. At the moment i’ve got time to try this. Thanks for this recipe…


This is one FABULOUS cake – one of the best I have ever made! TX!


I made this for Christmas and it was fabulous! I substituted a gluten-free flour mixture. This is my new favorite Christmas dessert.


oh this was christmas incarnate (in-bunt-ate?)
i made it in an angel food cake pan, and put a ring of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. i also buttered and floured the sides– no sticking at all! it came out beautifully. took about 65 minutes to bake.
the cake was delicious. sticky, rich, perfect. my uncle (a dessert-hater) gobbled his up and dubbed it our new christmas tradition.
thank you!!


Just made the Sticky Teff Kissed Spice Loaves from your Super Natural Cooking book. I used all Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and substituted the eggs for flax seeds and soy for milk and it turned out fantastic!!!!
Very similar to this recipe. I’m really enjoying many of your recipes


Delicious! I substituted olive oil for butter and still great!


I made this gingerbread cake tonight, using a gluten-free flour mix and baked it in a bundt pan. The cake looks fabulous!


My mom’s favorite holiday treats are ginger bread and ginger cookie. This looks right up her alley–thanks for the idea!

Ruth @ the tasty tRuth

Preparation was closer to 30 minutes but it went together as easily as promised and turned out spectacular.

liz from WNC

Sounds delicious, and beautiful pictures!


Well, I made this gorgeous cake yesterday and oh my! did it make alot! Out of it I got three mini loaf pans and one 30cm round cake! Have to say though, its a beauty. I replaced the blackstrap mollasses with golden syrup and increased the honey to one cup whil decreasing the syrup to half a cup. I think the honey made this cake especially since the honey was harvested fresh from our bee’s that morning!


I decided to give it a try using ground flax seeds for eggs instead, and other adaptations to make it vegan, and it turned out wonderfully! Also, as suggested by some of the other commenters, I added about 2T of instant coffee crystals to the (soy) milk, and some grated nutmeg and ground black pepper for even more spicy oomph.
My vegan adaptations were as follows:
– substitute vegan margarine for the butter
– substitute 3T ground flax seeds + 1/2c water for the eggs
– substitute soy milk for the cow milk (+2T instant coffee crystals)
My MIL is making a brown sugar sauce to go with it for dessert after Christmas dinner…can’t wait! The vegans at our table will have cool whip with theirs, but I will definitely be using real whipped cream (spiked with cinnamon whiskey) with my piece. 🙂


Fantastic! I love gingerbread, but no one else in my family does…until this recipe. I made one substitution — I exchanged 1/2 cup of coconut oil for 1/2 the butter. This bread stayed moist and delicious for a few days.

Emily Geizer

This is basically Broonie (Irish Gingerbread). Tradition in our house for numerous years.


This is a great recipe! What a nice surprise to see it on your blog! It was one of the first things I made from Regan’s book, when I first bought it many years ago! I have made it in the past using Guinness or a chocolate stout in place of the water with excellent results! My son loves a thick slice with some homemade apple sauce or caramelized pears! Enjoy!
Happy Holidays!


Had a first run through with the wrong kind of molasses and made a lovely 8-inch square pan + a small loaf. Didn’t achieve the “black & sticky” quality I was hoping for, so I’m back to the oven tomorrow with the real blackstrap goods. Thanks, Heidi!


Have never been a fan of gingerbread but your recipe just made it sound fabulous. I made this a couple days ago, pretty much as written. I can see that my past experience with gingerbread was poor because I was not acquainted with the REAL THING! Very delicious with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream with Grand Marnier. I’m hooked thank you very much.


I made this cake for our family Christmas party this past weekend, and it was awesome! Everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely repeat this one!


LOVE gingerbread! It’s one of my favorites. Gonna go make this right now, can’t wait to smell the deliciousness coming from the oven. I truly enjoy your website. Thanks for the education about eating healthy. (I try) Hope you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Festive New Year!!


You know what makes this cake just that little bit more heavenly? Thick, super-creamy, super- lemony Icing.
I’m making this tomorrow in mini loaf pans for some christmas hampers!


currently licking the batter bowl on this one. divine. spicy, just what i need on this cloudy east bay sunday. thanks Heidi!


This just came out of the oven and it smells like heaven on a platter! Soon to be topped with Honey Bourbon Whipped Cream, I’m sure it’ll taste as good as it smells.


Hi Heidi,
Do you think it would be possible to adapt this recipe for cupcake tins? I’m guessing the bake time would then be somewhere between 15-20 minutes. Thanks!


This cake has great flavors and gets better the second day. I do feel that something was missing so I made a thin caramel sauce to pour over it and that completed the dessert. It went from good to amazing, 1 cup dark brown sugar 1 cup whipping creme and 1/2 cup butter put in a pot over med low heat stirring till boiling. Cook for 3 minutes and you have a beautiful rich smooth sauce. Serve drizzled over top of cake with a dollop of Haagen Daz.YUMMY


I just made this this evening with organic black treacle instead of blackstrap molasses because that’s what I could find here in my little Swedish city. I poured the batter into two loaf tins and the cakes came out beautifully. We had slices topped with rum-spiked whipped cream – it was quite delicious and intensely flavourful, a very grown-up cake that I think would make a sophisticated dessert. I loved the crispy top. The flavour of the treacle was strong though, and according to my fiance, a little liquoricey – I don’t know how molasses taste so I don’t know if it would have allowed the flavours of the spices to come through more.


Couldnt find blackstrap, but used a good quality molasses….. This is the BEST gingerbread I have EVER had! And soooo easy to make! If you make only ONE holiday dessert this season…. Make this one it!!!! Seriously!

Kalamitee Jain

Noa, ironically I’m in Israel too and am making this for a Christmaka party. I think I’ll end up substituting Silan, just because the molasses I’ve seen is so expensive. Hedi, I’d love for you so shed some light on a ‘boozy whipped cream’… Would that be as simple as stirring a couple spoons of bourbon into some fresh whipped cream? Thanks, and happy holidays!
HS: Exactly – I just do it to taste.

Ada B.

Have you tried it using black coffee instead of water? I had an old fabulous gingerbread recipe w/coffee, fresh ginger, ground ginger & candied ginger that is buried somewhere in my house…
I have been looking for a way to recreate it or make an even better version so look forward to trying this one! Will report back… This looks wonderful!


Heidi, when I first saw this post, I wanted to lick the drippings off that beautiful bowl, via my computer screen. I’m happy to report that my cake is in the oven and I too, had lovely molasses-laden legs dripping from my bowl. So I did what I had to do to “clean” it up. 🙂
Love the additions in the comments of orange juice (and zest?) and stout. Those are on for Round 2–of which I’m sure there will be!


This recipe is fantastic! I made it last night for a mulled wine party and it was a big hit with the guests, not to mention it made a nice breakfast this morning, too!
I added some chopped candied ginger to the recipe, about 2 Tablespoons. I enjoyed the chunks of ginger….

katy from DiningwithDusty

Hi Noa(Dec 14) you can find molasses in Israel at health food stores. Silan is lovely but wont give the flavor.


This recipe looks great! I’ve had trouble with my gingerbread this year – two failed batches already. Here’s hoping a third time is this the charm! face shapes


You weren’t kidding when you said fill only 3/4 full… I have quite the catastrophe happening in my oven right now despite not topping up the loaf pans. Luckily, I stuck them all on a baking sheet. Quite possibly the only way that an overflow of gingerbread could be a bad thing.


This has become my staple recipe over the years – ever since I first saw it here. My friends started to request it all the time now – when we are going camping, as a substantial treat for a road-trip and now recently my friends wanted it for breakfast on their wedding-day. Beautiful cake! Love it! xx


Made it last night………absolutely delicious…my husband loved it too. I used light brown sugar instead of dark brown since that’s what I had in the pantry. I made two loaf pans so I can give one as a gift.

Jane Triplett

i made this using two loaf pans. my oven seems to run cooler, so i set it at 350 for about 45 minutes i think. such a hit for a not-too-rich seasonal desert. delicious


I just made this today. I am officially in love! I subbed the honey for golden syrup and accidentally (oops!) used too much molasses so used less of the syrup. I’m planning on making mini loaves next week for Christmas gifts as well. It’s a great recipe!


This looks so good and these pictures are gorgeous!!

Jaime Rugh

I made this almost immediately after reading it and I’m so glad I did! I substituted coconut oil for the butter, maple syrup for the honey, regular molasses (less bitter) and half the brown sugar. I also used oat/rice milk (home made). This is a very versatile recipe and I love all the suggestions from others here!
So so so so very good.
thank you so much Heidi!


I love gingerbread and this sounds like a wonderful recipe. I love all of the spices in here like the cloves and fresh ginger – yum!

Becki's Whole Life

This is in the oven right now! I can’t wait to try it. And, I’m taking it in today for my workmates. I have a feeling they’re going to be pleased.


Just made a loaf and 6 cupcakes!!…….loved

Brenda Chesler

I want to give this a try.. haven’t baked a gingerbread in years! I wondered if “Amy’ could share her gingerbread trifle for the leftovers.. it is just me and I want to try a few uses for the cake.
I am coveting the dish and the bundt pan. I have a handmade clay one from the 1700’s on a shelf. wouldn’t bake with it, but I live looking at it. so hearty and beautiful . You can see the finger prints of the maker, and it has a yellowish glaze that hasn’t completely come off. Reminds me of the art of the kitchen efforts we indulge in.. as others have done for centuries.
have a blessed holiday season,


I’m sorry if I missed this in the comments, but how long to bake this in a Bundt? Same temp? Can’t wait to try!


I so have to try this soon! It looks and sounds amazing…and sticky which the boys will love ;D

Tickled Red

gosh i love ginger! another one for *the* list…


I made this yesterday and it is seriously delicious. I made in a loaf tin and made 4 cupcakes to take to my sister in law @ Birthcare as she just had her 3rd child 2 days ago. I love receiving your updates and I often search for inspiration when cooking. As a new mother I don’t often have time to cook but I try. You’re a inspiration, keep up the great work!


That’s even looks like flavor central. So rich and delicious!


Too funny, Heidi! i just made this yesterday, using the older version of the recipe. Not sure why this new post didn’t pop up during my search, but the old recipe worked great. I made mine in a Bundt, as well, and added caramelized pears and pecans to the pan before the batter went in. I also added chopped crystallized ginger to the batter. (My version is up on my blog now, too.) This is an unbelievable cake. Thank you!

Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

that looks amazing! I really need to start making some more deserts..I think molasses add such a unique flavour to puddings.

adam levy

I’m so glad you featured this again. I’ve been making it every year since you first posted it, and I luuuuuuurve it!


This looks amazing! But following Erin and Alden what’s a good egg substitue here – ate they there to make it lighter and rise (a cornstarch replacer) or to bind (following Nithya’s cottage cheese suggestion maybe soy yoghurt would work)? Can anyone suggest?


How well does this keep? Is this an “eat it the same day it’s baked” treat? Or will it keep several days without losing it’s crumb? I’ve been looking for a make-ahead dessert for our Xmas get-together, but I’d have to make it 3 days in advance because of travel plans.


Made this “Vegan style and frosted with a “Vegan” Orange Cream Cheese frosting and then sprinkled it with candied ginger. It was way better than the seasonal Starbucks offering.


I love this recipe — made it when you posted it way back when. My favorite way to eat this gingerbread is with a bowl of butternut squash soup 🙂

Steph @ Lick My Spoon

Pretty cake! I like the beautiful bowl and some delicious drips from it in the photo. The ginger flavor suites well for the holiday seasons!


Since I’ve seen this recipe on your website several years back, I make it not often enough. I LOVE IT! It’s awesome! Thanks!


I just made this! My kitchen smells so good, the dog is whining. The cake’s cooling right now, and I’m waiting till it gets all cool and dense before I cut myself a piece.
I halved the recipe and replaced the eggs with a half cup of cottage cheese. Also, here in India, molasses are hard to come by, so I used a jaggery syrup. The cake came out more amber than dark, but it smells oh so good. Thank you, Heidi.


Hi Heidi!
I was thinking about making Gingerbread men for the Chrismukkah dinner we’re having next week, but this seems like a better option 🙂
I just have one question: here in Israel we don’t have molasses, and it’s very hard to get your hands on it (and very expensive…)
Since I don’t even know what it is (or what it tastes like), just that it’s thick and dark, I usually replace it with honey or dates honey, whatever I see more fitting for the recipe. But here I get the feeling it’s a key ingredient, so I was wondering if you have any suggestions for me.


Gorgeous! Both the cake and the pan. (I admired the pan a few posts ago too…) Making this this weekend for sure.


Ooh, I’m excited to try this. Question: based on commenters’ tweaks, I’m tempted to add orange zest and sub dark rum for the water but keep the milk. Anyone think that’s a bad idea?


I just made this for snack…
omitted the brown sugar entirely and added a couple of tablespoons cocoa powder for an extra dark, almost savory cake treat. paired with ginger-cardamom-clove spiced coffee, i was in heaven!
thanks for the recipe =)


I have made this gingerbread before – loved it! Thanks for re-posting the recipe – this has jogged my memory of how good it is, so I will make it again this holiday season.

Laurie MacBride

Okay, so this looks outrageously good. I just mades some very gingery ginger snap cookies but have been meaning to try a cake form. Thanks for this!


that opening bowl stole my heart.
we have a longstanding favorite ginger cake (david lebovitz’), also dark as midnight, spicy as sin, damp as all get out, love at first bite.
oh, but i am tempted…


Made this today for a luncheon group coming tomorrow. I added a generous 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper with the flour and spices and put into muffin pans. Came out beautifully…will serve with fresh whipped cream.


Oh, I should also mention that while I usually make it as written, I sometimes use sorghum syrup in place of some of the honey and/or molasses – that’s wonderful too.


Thanks to your first posting of this recipe, this is the only gingerbread I make. It’s absolutely to die for, and also the only one I’ve ever had that actually seems to improve with age. I swear it seems to taste better after a couple of days. I like it with whipped cream but honestly feel like it needs no adornment, and when it’s around, it often finds its way onto my breakfast plate!


Can you post a recipe for the boozy whipped cream that you referenced above?


Looks divine! Will be appearing at our Christmas dinner. Thank you for posting!!!


Wow… it looks delicious… I’ve never tried gingerbread before, but I`ll definately keep this recipe and experiment with it sometime soon. Best from Madrid,

Maria (Madrid y yo)

Looks and I bet tastes heavenly, just what the doctor ordered! Many thanks for sharing,

Ozlem Warren

This has been my go-to gingerbread recipe since you posted it in 2005. I’m vegan, so I swap out the 1 cup butter for 3/4 cup sunflower oil. I also like a bit of orange to go with all the spice, so I swap the milk for orange juice and add fresh orange zest. It’s amazing.
HS: Thanks Alden!


just thought I’d mention that if it breaks you can always use the chunks to make a delish bread pudding


Are there any changes that need to be made to use a bundt pan, and what size bundt pan did you use? The recipe calls for a 13x9x2 inch pan. The cake will be much shorter in that pan, so I assume a bundt pan would have a longer cooking time because it would be taller.
Thoughts, Heidi or anyone?


    Yes :)! Bake until the cake firms up and a cake tester comes out clean. Happy baking!

    Heidi Swanson

“experience at first and second base”… Where did that come from? And this one…
Now, I have to try this!


You had me at the mention of a burnt-caramel crust…I hope I can give this recipe a try soon! Looks delicious!


Yum! And I love the bowls, are they vintage?

HS: It is!


Beautiful looking cake! I’m in a huge gingerbread making phase at the moment (no surprises, as it’s December!), and often make a cake similar to yours, except I like to sneak in some dark beer to replace the water content in the recipe 🙂
HS: Great call! A friend just mailed me to suggest swapping stout for the water called for. Sounds perfect.




This sounds so delicious!


I love this cake. I usually make one bundt cake (I have a teeny tiny little bundt cake pan) and a loaf. I try not to use bakers joy a lot, but this cake seems to come out a lot easier when I do use it.


I’ve been waiting for that “perfect” gingerbread recipe to come my way. Crispy crusts are to die for. Will definitely be trying this recipe out soon. Thanks for sharing!

Calantha @ piecurious

I’ve eaten three different types of gingerbread over the same number of days – everyone seems to be making it at the moment! But yours looks like the recipe I really want to try – dark, sticky and totally delicious.


How wonderful, and perfect for the time of year. I love ginger, but am not a fan of hard, overbaked ginger cookies!

Yosef - This American Bite

This looks amazing! I’ve been looking for a special gingerbread recipe and I think I’ve found it. Thanks! If it works out ok I may add it to my blog too. Cheers. x


This looks amazing. It’s always fun to unearth old recipes. I am looking forward to trying this at the holidays. Happy Holidays!


Those are fantastic pictures 🙂 I’ll have to keep this recipe in time.


I cannot wait to give this a try (looks like a perfect office, holiday treat)! Thanks.
Like so many others, I am interested in your bowls. Where ever did you find them? Also, what is on your kitchen holiday wishlist? -KD

Kristen SRSLY

I just read a book about blogging and they referenced the 101 Cookbooks blog quite often. I especially like how the author talked about how you took your photographs over and over until the publishers were happy enough with the professionalism to include them in your cookbooks. Good job in sticking to your values and using your own photos!


This is in my oven as we speak.Nothing more to say.


Looks yummy.
I would love to try this recipe as cupcakes. Any idea how long to bake them?


    Definitely less time, just keep a close eye on them, and make note. I’d start checking after 12-ish minutes?

    Heidi Swanson

Dont like Gingerbread but I love your bowls 🙂


This looks so yummy ! and what a pretty bowl!

Monica @ Soirees & Such

This looks so yummy ! and what a pretty bowl!

Monica @ Soirees & Such

I made this a couple years ago and it was delicious! I had forgotten about it so thanks for re-posting it. I’ll have to make it again soon. I especially like the idea of baking it in a bundt pan.


I made this Gingerbread tonight and OH MY!!! This is a keeper 🙂


I made an egg-free version of the original recipe last year. Though I can’t remember what I did for a sub – I do remember it used standard kitchen ingredients as that’s what I had to hand and no chance to get to a store. It was my first attempt to do an egg-free baked good and it turned out great. But then I figured it would as I’ve never been disappointed with one of your recipes.


I love love love your antique bowl!!


I make a Mollie Katzen gingerbread that sounds similar to this except that she uses yogurt instead of milk and uses more fresh ginger than you do. (3 Tbsp). It is in the Broccoli Forest book if you want to check it out. Since I discovered it the only “new” gingerbread I have ventured to make is Alice Medrich’s gingerbread with milk chocolate bits in it. I also love baking mine in a bundt pan, which looks so nice. I prepare my pan with butter and a sprinkle of flour and cool it on a ketchup bottle. It rarely sticks.

Sharyn Dimmick

Okay, I made this tonight, and I used mostly molasses and only a little bit of the honey for that 1.5 cups of syrup. I was hoping for a more molasses-y flavor. It’s a really good flavor, I like that crispy top. Unfortunately when holding the parchment paper and transferring, the paper broke and I dropped the whole thing. It’s a pretty crumbled mess, but it’s still edible. I got too many lumps though.


i made a black gingerbread as a foundation for my fruitcake – a variation of something i fell in love with while visiting jamaica during the holidays (marzipan “icing” optional). your recipe looks fab – i’m gonna have to try this, both as is and as my cake for fruitcake! thanks for posting it again.

theresa k.

Thank you! My husband’s going to love this. :))

Shaheen [The Purple Foodie]

will try adding some grated orange or lemon zest, per the classic JOC (Joy of Cooking) gingerbread recipe…definitely my favorite cake, especially in the winter


I am Korean. Recently I bought your recipe book.That is Super Natural every day.I want to tell you it is a very wonderful and lovely book. I am not good at speaking English though.
HS: Thank you Mijung! So happy you found it.


This is by far the best gingerbread I’ve ever made – I have tried MANY different recipes online and after finding this one over the summer I stopped looking. It is so moist and dark and stays this way for at least two days on the counter. Thank you Heidi!


This is off topic but are you on pinterest? I don’t think I saw their little logo thingy on your website yet.
HS: I am! Let’s see….I’m heidiswanson on Pinterest 🙂


How funny, I made this recipe just last week. It was delicious and was eaten up quickly.


This gingerbread has become a holiday staple in our household. The first year I made it, I was surprised when my mom pulled out a jar of applesauce from the fridge to spoon over instead of whipped cream. Turns out that’s how her mom served gingerbread when she was a little girl; every year I get warm fuzzies thinking about how we unearthed an old family tradition.


That looks amazing Heidi! Living in Melbourne, I don’t tend to do many “traditional” Northern hemisphere style Christmas baking (favoring summer berries and other summer produce – it’s hard not to!) but this one looks so dense and delicious I think I’ll have to make an exception!


Oh my, this looks awesome! My oldest daughter has three(!) play performances today and this is just perfect to make for our surprise celebration for her this evening! Yum 🙂


Oh, this brings back fond memories of my mom’s gingerbread. She used to make a lemon pudding, and while it was still warm, pour it over a piece of homemade gingerbread cake. So simple, yet so satisfying.


Oh, bless you for putting measurements in grams. The precise wonky perfectionist in me just got really excited.


Heidi, I made this tonight for a dinner guest. It was fantastic! I didn’t have whipped cream, so I dusted it with a little powdered suger “snow” and it was so delicious! Moist, chewy, and delightful. I didn’t have the cloves, ground ginger, or allspice, so I upped the cinnamon (1 1/2 tbs? I eyeballed it) and the fresh ginger root (2 tbs), as well as adding a splash of vanilla to the wet ingredients. It still turned out fab. I love how moist the honey, molasses, and BUTTER keep this cake!
Definitely a keeper.


this looks awesome! I’ve also been wondering recently about gingerbread scones. I love gingerbread, love ginger scones, why haven’t I tried baking a gingerbread scone yet?


Thanks for this, Heidi! I will plan on making this during Christmas week. Best wishes and Merry Christmas!


Love it in a bundt pan! I think all holiday cakes should be cooked in a bundt pan. A few years ago, I learned a trick for getting my bundt cake out of the pan in one piece. When it comes out of the oven, I let it sit for 10 minutes (I set the timer! Too easy to forget.) and then take it out of the pan. For some reason, that allows it just enough time for the steam from cooling to loosen the cake from the pan, but not enough time for it to cool back into the pan. I wonder if it will work with your stoneware pan?


So glad you reposted this! I would love to give this a try!

Simply Life

That first picture is drool-worthy. I love the idea of revisiting an old recipe like this. I’d love to try this. Thanks for the update!


just made this last night for a baking contest today… i baked it last year too and the eaters informed me it was the best gingerbread they had ever had. i have to agree. this is certainly no relation to cardboard-y cookies.
and i totally agree that the pan should not be filled any more than 1/2 full. i have a regular sized pan (12 cups, i think) and i got a whole cake and 8 cupcakes out of this recipe.
love it!


“The burnt-caramel-esque crust that forms on the top of the cake is outrageous, and that was the first part of the cake to go.””

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

OMG, this is soooo yummy and I have that exact same bundt pan from my grandmother. I brought a large and a medium size one over here from Germany. I MUST make this this weekend.


I have recently become vegan but think that this sounds amazing. Could someone please tell me a good vegan substitute for the 3 eggs. Like I said, I’m newly vegan and have not attempted baking yet.


This recipe is fabulous!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I’ve made this and it is simply THE BEST ever!!! Gingerbread is my all time favorite….so I am picky. This is dense and chewy and sticky and FANTASTIC!! I now make it as gifts – because it’s so gift worthy!

Cindy Graham

A bit of kick and attitude — the perfect way to describe a good holiday gingerbread. I love how you can get to know a recipe over the years — adapting it, tweaking it, experimenting — until its something so different, so uniquely yours. Thanks for sharing this, Heidi!


I love the photos Heidi. The gingerbread cake looks excellent too.

Lisa in Vancouver

I like to eat gingerbread, spread with lemon curd.

Curzon Tussaud

I made this recipe from your prior post this past Thanksgiving and loved it. Thank you. Sorry to post this here, Heidi, but would you please re-archive your chocolate zucchini cupcakes recipe? It’s one of our favorites, and I can’t find it anywhere now!

working mom

My tweak on this is to substitute 1/2 cup of water with ginger beer and 1/2 cup of milk with dark rum.not sure you have ginger beer in USA, its non alcoholic but quite fiery.


I’d try this recipe using a muffy pan! All tops!


This looks delicious! Perfect for the season. I guess it would freeze well too, in separate portions, to hreat up and serve to unexpected guests?


Awesome! I was looking at this post in your archives just yesterday and debating making it. This updated post is just the encouragement I need! I can’t wait to try it.


Question re using bundt pans: I like it for the presentation, but since there’s a good chance this one won’t even come out of the pan, it there another benefit to using a bundt pan? It’s also good to use if you have a recipe that tends to be too gooey in the middle, but again, that doesn’t seem to be a consideration here. Thanks!


I have been making this recipe for years too, and I always love it. It’s such a satisfying cake to eat. Thanks for reminding me to make it during this holiday season!


I recently made sweet potato cookies, and they used lots of spices, grated sweet potato, and fresh ground ginger root. I adored the flavor and effect the fresh ground root offered the cookies, and I love that it is used in this cake. The cake looks amazing.


Just made gingerbread cookies yesterday with my niece, will try this one this week.
Seems just a little bit heavy on the calories: especially sugars and fats…will invite a bunch of people over to try it so we can share it!

Mike @TheIronYou

I love gingerbread! i usually make cookies, but love the idea of making a cake! Love that mixing bowl btw – what a beautiful pattern.

Anjali @ The Picky Eater

Gorgeous photo, and you’re right, that cake sounds to-die-for!!!

Ann P.

I have made many different recipes for gingerbread but none quite like this one. Love the sticky and can’t wait to try it.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

That bowl is simply exquisite! I have realized that some of the prettiest desserts are not always the best tasting. Take popovers for instance, they are the funniest looking things but they taste amazing!

jackie @ marin mama cooks

Better than Christmas cookies, Heidi. Thanks for re-sharing.


I may just have to make this cake. Who doesn’t need a dose of outrageous-ness in their holiday baking? Love it.

la domestique

I’ve been enjoying your blog since 2006 and love gingerbread cakes! Thanks for posting this one again. I’ve used Nigella’s from her Domestic Goddess book with a few tweaks (white whole wheat flour and sometimes veganizing with coconut oil, applesauce or flax egg). Yours is a keeper though, it will show up at my holiday (Chrismakkah/Hanukkamas) table this year.


This sounds wonderful.
My daughters are 16 and 12 now. When my eldest was about 5, she insisted that she wanted to bake herself. I decided to let her (except for the hot oven parts) thinking it would be a creative activity.I expected that we would admire more than we would eat the results. I was wrong. She made some pretty amazing cakes. I guess we had baked enough together that she had a sense of proportions. One ingredient that she favoured (maybe because it was so gooey and interesting) was blackstrap molasses. It worked. 🙂


Ooh, an oldie but goodie. That description of the top crust makes this sound amazing.


That first picture is incredible! sounds delicious, especially the “burnt-caramel-esque crust”!

charlotte au chocolat

So is it the molasses that makes it “black”? I have a gingerbread trifle recipe that I love so much, I would love to try it this holiday season with your gingerbread recipe!

sweet road

I’ve made this three times now and, damn, it is delicious. It gets eaten with every meal, or in place of a meall (with whipped cream, of course) at my house until it’s gone. And yes, it freezes exceptionally well.


sounds like a really memorable gingerbread– and I’m pretty sure using the words black and sticky in its title make it sound irresistible! I have a default stout gingerbread recipe that I always turn to, but sometimes I really crave what you’re describing here… going to try it out! Thanks heidi


Drool! This looks so yummy.


You read my mind! I can’t imagine Christmas without the taste of gingerbread!! Thank You!!


Hi, Heidi,
I live in Europe and here in my country we don’t have blackstrap molasses, so I wonder if it would be OK to substitute it with black treacle?
HS: Gabija – I’ve actually tried it with 1/2 black treacle & 1/2 molasses and it was great. If you try with 100% b.t. in place of the molassses, please report back!


I am making this TOMORROW.


This archived recipe has been a favorite of mine since I stumbled upon it. Those of you who haven’t yet tried it are in for a treat! I made small cupcakes out of this year for Halloween and decorated with a lemon glaze. It worked out well, but I’m a purist and love it better without the glaze. Mmm.

Nancy D

I would love to try this. Anytime I bake with blackstrap molasses, it gives a savory, ham-like flavor to my desserts. I switched to non-black strap and was pleased. But I know blackstrap is healthier, so I’d like to go back!


i’m lovin your bundt pan!

lynn @ the actor's diet

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