Black Sticky Gingerbread

This black sticky gingerbread 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

I've experimented with a good number of gingerbread recipes in the years since I highlighted Regan Daley's Black Sticky Gingerbread. 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

4.38 from 35 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
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


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

H, 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. Thanks, Nancy testkitchenette


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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