Gingerbread loaf reminds me of snowy winter nights, oversized fluffy cardigans, and all that is right with the world.
The smell of gingerbread baking is so warm and cozy that I get an instant hit of serotonin when those signature ginger-cinnamon spices waft through the air.
If you asked me what I liked better: gingerbread loaf or gingerbread cookies, I would say gingerbread loaf for eating and gingerbread cookies for decorating. Cookies are cute and fun and delicious, but there’s just something about sinking a fork into a plush cake topped with thick snowy white glaze that gets me every time.
I LOVE loaves and quick breads because they’re quick, easy, and essentially cake! Who doesn’t love a slice of cake in the morning with coffee? Or mid-morning, after lunch, as afternoon tea, dessert, or a late night snack? Give me all the loaves masquerading as cake, but especially deep, dark, mysterious gingerbread.
Gingerbread is an umbrella term for baked goods sweetened with molasses or honey and flavored with ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It can range from soft and cakey like this gingerbread loaf to crisp and crunchy like ginger snaps. Gingerbread is especially popular around the winter holiday season because of all the warming spices.
In most of the world, gingerbread can mean either cookies or cake, but sometimes it’s confusing, so people have started to refer to soft, cake-y gingerbread as ginger cake. This gingerbread loaf is ginger cake, baked in a loaf pan. Really, if you think about it, the name gingerbread is very fitting because it’s kinda sort of bread shaped? This recipe tastes very similar to Starbucks’ gingerbread loaf except there isn’t any crystallized ginger because I don’t really like things like fruit and nuts in my loaves.
This is the best kind of gingerbread out there: heavily spiced with a large amount of ginger and cinnamon, scented with sticky molasses, and made extra soft and moist with a touch of applesauce. It’s a classic old-fashioned gingerbread, the kind you want to come home too after an afternoon of playing in the snow. I like it glazed, which reminds me of a layer of freshly fallen snow, or dusted with powdered sugar, or with a dollop of softly whipped cream. I like it all ways and always 🙂
All the ingredients for gingerbread are pretty standard loaf ingredients, with a couple of special mentions. You’ll need: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, butter, sugar, egg, molasses, and applesauce.
This gingerbread uses light/fancy molasses.
Molasses is a dark and sticky smoky syrup that’s the byproduct of refining sugar from sugar cane or sugar beets.
No molasses gingerbread is super easy. If you don’t have any molasses on hand and there’s a big snowstorm outside, use this molasses substitute:
Mix them together and you’re good to go. In fact, if you’re not a huge fan of the flavor of molasses, which can be robust, caramel-y, and smoky, just make no-molasses gingerbread!
You can absolutely make this as a cake! It slices up beautifully and looks so pretty with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Bake it in an 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan.
Give me all the loaves masquerading as cake, but especially deep, dark, mysterious gingerbread.
5 from 3 votes
Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter a loaf pan. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup hot water and molasses. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg until glossy, then mix in the apple sauce and molasses mix.
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined and pour into the pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much, top loosely with a piece of foil. Cool completely in the pan on wire rack before optional glazing (see notes for glaze).
To glaze: mix 1.5 cups powdered sugar with 3 tbsp milk until smooth. Spoon over the top of the loaf.
Estimated nutrition doesn’t include glaze.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 113
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7.5g47%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.