This simple gingerbread sheet cake is topped with a delicious cinnamon frosting – a match made in heaven. The perfect Christmas dessert that couldn’t be easier to make.
Christmas and gingerbread. An obvious – and beloved – combination, and with good reason. Just like Christmas, gingerbread seems to visit for only a short time every year, and we love all the more for it.
It’s a dear friend, one that perfectly sums up that saying ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’. Gingerbread truly is everything nice. With the molasses and the cinnamon and that spicy kick of ginger. Some allspice and cloves for an extra pizzazz. It’s exotic and cozy at once, like coming home after a very long holiday.
But enough of this poetic babble – you’re here for the recipe. And what a recipe it is: this gingerbread sheet cake is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.
Listen, I’m all for fancy layer cakes and three types of frosting and decorations. But sometimes – and more frequently during the hectic holiday time – you just want an easy dessert you can quickly throw together, and it still tastes and looks amazing. This is it.
I like the concept of sheet cakes. Bake a beautiful sponge, cover it with delicious frosting, maybe add a handful of sprinkles just because. No fuss, no 23-step baking procedure, and definitely less washing up.
Here, we’re pairing a gingerbread sponge with cinnamon frosting. You know it’s gonna be good. It just makes sense.
The gingerbread sponge is delicate and moist, packed full of that quintessential Christmas flavour we all love so much. It’s a one bowl kind of recipe – preferably the bowl of a stand mixer, because we’re being practical… and lazy.
The cinnamon frosting is just as stupid-easy. Butter, powdered sugar, a splash of heavy cream and almost-too-much-cinnamon. Again in the stand mixer, because it leaves us time to dance to Christmas music while the air smells of spice and sugar.
The finishing touch are the sprinkles. As Christmassy as you can make them, obviously. I’ve used a mix of snowflakes and gingerbread man Christmas sprinkles, and they are quite simply the most adorable little things.
Alternatively, you could decorate the gingerbread sheet cake with small gingerbread cookies or even candy canes. It’s Christmas baking, friend. Everything is allowed.
So this Christmas, when you’re running around the house stressed and jumbled, and you need a dessert (and, actually, you need it two hours ago) – relax. Turn up the Christmas music and make this gingerbread cake. Bask in the spices and sugar and… enjoy.
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Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Cinnamon Frosting (Gluten Free)
For gingerbread sheet cake:
- 1 2/3 sticks (188 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 g) light muscovado sugar
- 3 medium eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (75 g) molasses
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I use a simple store-bought blend of rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 2 - 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) milk, room temperature
For cinnamon frosting:
- 2 1/2 sticks (285 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (185 g) powdered/icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy/double cream
- sprinkles for decoration
For gingerbread sheet cake:
- Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) square baking tin with baking/greaseproof paper.If you want to make a thinner and larger sheet cake, you can use a larger baking tin – but you might have to adjust the baking time slightly.
- In a the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachments), cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
- Add the molasses and mix well until fully incorporated.
- Sift together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add them to the mixer and beat well until you get a smooth batter.
- Add the milk and mix until you get a smooth cake batter with no clumps.
- Transfer the cake batter into the lined baking tin and smooth out the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for 36 - 38 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool.
For cinnamon frosting:
- In a the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachments), cream the butter until pale – about 2 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar to the butter and beat for about 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the cinnamon and mix until it's evenly distributed.
- While the mixer is running on slow speed, slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Once completely incorporated, increase the mixing speed to high for about 1 minute.
Assembling the sheet cake:
- Once the cake is cool, frost it with the cinnamon buttercream frosting. Create swirls in the frosting using the back of the spoon or an offset spatula.
- Decorate with sprinkles of choice.
- The gingerbread sheet cake keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 2 - 3 days.