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

4.36 from 34 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


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 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

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