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


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?


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