Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

I mentioned that amongst our changes from our usual Christmas feast, this year I made dessert. I had seen a recipe for a gingerbread layer cake with cream cheese frosting online some weeks before Christmas. 

Of course when I went to actually find said recipe, I hadn’t marked it down anywhere. Does that ever happen to you? So frustrating!

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Well, I commenced a new search and was pleased to find this recipe from Good Housekeeping that seemed to be exactly like the original. The result was the most delicious, moist gingerbread cake, with a lemony cream cheese frosting that was a perfect complement. I had to even out the tops of the cake layers so they would lay flat and I couldn’t stop myself from eating the pieces I cut off- they were so good I made myself sick. 

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

I wanted a wintry garnish, but wasn’t sure if a holly branch was toxic or something, so I put a sprig of rosemary and some dried cranberries :)

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

I just realized that this picture kind of looks like a Christmas Pac-Man.

My mom made this a couple days ago and she said she used orange instead of lemon zest and she said that it was yummy as well!

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 10
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Gingerbread Cake
  1. 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  4. 3/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  5. 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  6. 1 jar(s) (12 ounces) light (mild) molasses, 1 1/2 cups
  7. 3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, softened, substitute butter
  8. 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
  9. 2 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. 1 package(s) (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  2. 1 package(s) (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  3. 4 tablespoon(s) margarine, softened, substitute butter
  4. 2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated lemon peel
Gingerbread Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In 4-cup glass measuring cup, whisk molasses with 1 cup water.
  3. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat margarine with granulated sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula.
  4. Reduce speed to medium-low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, alternately add flour mixture and molasses mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until blended.
  5. Pour batter into pans and spread evenly. Stagger pans on 2 oven racks, so layers are not directly above one another. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of each layer comes out clean.
  6. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen layers. Invert layers onto wire racks to cool completely; discard waxed paper.
Cream-Cheese Frosting
  1. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat frosting ingredients just until blended. Increase speed to medium; beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Makes about 2 1/2 cups frosting.
To assemble cake
  1. Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on cake plate; spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer; spread with another 1/3 cup frosting, then top with remaining layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
Notes
  1. -I find that it's best to shave off the top of the cake layers to make them flatter on top if they're too domed.
  2. -It's easiest to frost the cake layers if they've been chilled in the fridge or freezer.
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59 Comments

  1. Christmas pacman…that cracked me up. I totally miss the flavor of gingerbread now that the holidays are over…I might have to relive the spirit with this gingerbread cake! It’s a beauty.

  2. First off, I think we should make Christmas Pac-Man a thing.

    Second, that cake looks absolutely deeeelightful! And the garnish is perfection…

  3. I love your garnish and the cake sounds so tasty and the spices perfect for winter.

  4. It does look like a Christmas pac-man! Looks like such a delicious cake. I love gingerbread.

  5. yes, i misplace where i find recipes often, so what usually happens is i try to recreate the search i did to find the recipe to begin with. there have been plenty of times i won’t post something just because i couldn’t find the original recipe.

    i’m glad you still posted this cake though, i’ve been on a molasses kick lately and there’s half a jar left in my pantry waiting to be used for something…

    • Gosh I know it’s so frustrating!! This uses a full jar of molasses if you can believe it so you might need to buy more. Or make a smaller cake maybe? So glad you stopped by!! :)

  6. I have PILES of magazines and recipes that are all “bookmarked for later” and then AS SOON AS I WANT TO MAKE IT? it’s nowhere to be seen. I will find every other issue/recipe EXCEPT the one I need. So yeah, I guess I could say it happens to me sometimes (or every time) ;)

    This cake looks amazing! I always think of pac man when i slice a cake (or anything round) i mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT! i love it tho, it’s like pac mans super holiday cousin – complete with rosemary! Love it!

    • I had so many piles of magazines laying around that I had to come up with a new routine. Now, since all magazines post their recipes online, i immediately go find the recipe online and pin it on Pinterest, and then I throw out the magazine! Try it!!!
      Thanks, Natalie. haha, i know right?! I love Pac-man….

  7. This cake looks awesome Amy – love gingerbread cake :) The garnish is too cute – it does remind me of a Christmas pac-man – love it!

  8. Oh that looks good. Perfect afternoon cake with a cup of tea or coffee. I want.
    Clever idea for the garnish:)

  9. This cake looks divine Amy. You did a nice job on the frosting. I totally forgot about gingerbread now that we are in Jan. :-)

  10. Oh maaaaaann this has me wanting Christmas to come back around already! Loving the rosemary garnish and Christmas packman :)

  11. Oh yum, this cake makes me miss all of the holiday baking! Love the Christmas pac-man!

  12. Amy, this is beautiful. I actually had this up on my work computer, and one of the Program managers came walking into my cubicle. As soon as he saw this, whatever it was that he wanted to talk about went out the window, as we discussed how we would both love a piece of this right now!!

    I love gingerbread… this looks like the perfect recipe. I’ll be making it very soon. Printing this recipe as I’m typing!! I guess I’ll have to bring a piece in for the manager, huh? It would only be right, I guess. That just means one less piece for me…. xx

  13. consuelohoneyandfigs

    The Christmas pacman is the cutest, and the rosemary garnish look lovely! I like the sound of this cake: lemon + ginger is such a great combo! x

  14. Mmm, gingerbread. This is one beautiful cake.

  15. Haha, I love your Christmas pacman picture.
    I am the worst with cake tops! I am the unofficial cake baker for our family. Evening out the layers is a trying time. I probably end up eating two pieces worth of cake in just trimmings. Lol.

    • Thank you, Alyssa! Haha, I know, it’s so hard not to eat the pieces you cut off! Plus, they’re usually still warm which makes them all the more delicious :)

  16. Cream cheese frosting is the best. And also Christimas pacman is adorable! ;)

  17. Christmas pac man!! Hehehe…I can see it too. Looks absolutely delicious and beautifully adorned.

  18. nothing wrong with seeing a gingerbread cake recipe post-holiday: i could eat it all year long, so it’s welcome. :) and lemony frosting? or really any citrus frosting on gingerbread is divine. your cake looks so pretty with the garnish! good choice with the rosemary and cranberries: i’m not sure if holly leaves are toxic either, but i wouldn’t have wanted to find out that way. ;)

    • Shannon, I could totally eat it all year long too. In fact, I might request it for my July bday ;) Citrus and gingerbread go so well together! I don’t know what it is. Thank you!!

  19. I can picture eating/savoring this cake on a quiet, snowy night. With all the snow we’re having, that could be just about any night. It’s beautiful and I like how you used cranberries and rosemary to garnish. I once made something that looked like pac-man, too. : ) So this is lovely and cute all wrapped in one.

  20. This is stunning!! Wow. Officially craving this right now.

  21. I think I will have to add this one to the list along with the meatloaf and Yorkshire puds ;-) — xx

  22. Aw, this makes me miss Christmas already. :) Love the subtle pac-man decorations and festive dried cranberries! February’s still gingerbread season, right??

  23. Oh, this looks amazing. I love cream cheese frosting and never thought to put it on gingerbread but it sounds like such a perfect companion.

  24. What a delicious looking cake! I’m a sucker for a great layer cake especially when it’s slathered with cream cheese frosting.
    I’m loving the painting of the cat..you are so talented! You should think of selling some of your art! There’s no way I would be able to paint like that-I am the worst artist in the world! :)

    • Thank you, Christina! I love a great layer cake too. I don’t know why people are so scared of them…I prefer making them to cupcakes!
      I do sell my art :) This was a commissioned piece. I’m trying to grow my business now, so if you know of anyone looking, send them my way ;)

  25. This looks delicious! That frosting – yum!!!

  26. Does this look like one delectable cake! I adore ginger cakes and all that cream cheese icing is making me swoon!

  27. PacMan or not, that’s one gorgeous cake. I could have an extra-large piece and it wouldn’t be PacMan any more!

  28. Lovely cake! So festive and I love that it has warmth flavors of gingerbread :)

  29. I love the flavors of gingerbread and could easily eat it year round. This cake looks so very moist and delicious!

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