Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

It’s almost that time of year again where I can hardly wait to make a stop at Starbucks for a piece of their Gingerbread Loaf Cake. It always become a mid-week pick me up when my PSL just won’t cut it.

My rich, flavorful gingerbread cake has ALL the holiday spices you love. It’s paired with a smooth cream cheese frosting, and leaves plenty of room for some chopped walnuts for garnish.

Now I know homemade cakes can be a scary thing for many people. This recipe ideally skips all of the typical fuss and stress around baking a cake. A simplified cake base with a perfectly smooth frosting is all you need.

Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.

One Bowl Gingerbread Loaf

prep time: 5 MINUTES cook time: 1 HOUR additional time: 5 MINUTES total time: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES


  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 & 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons ground gloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 & 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • chopped walnuts or pecans for garnish **optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the Gingerbread Loaf

  1. In a large bowl, cream together your butter and white sugar until they are both light and fluffy on a medium speed with your hand mixer.
  2. Stir in vanilla, egg, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and applesauce on a low speed with your hand mixer. Depending on your spice preference, you can always adjust your spices here. I like extract spice so I always toss in an extra dash of ginger & cinnamon.
  3. At 1/2 cup at a time, gradually add in your flour while mixing on a low speed. Be mindful not to over mix.
  4. Pour batter into your prepared pan and let bake for 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Once fully baked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add in your cream cheese, vanilla, salt, & 1 tablespoon heavy cream.
  2. Beat on a high speed until cream cheese is fully whipped and starting to smooth.
  3. Start with adding in 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix on a low speed.
  4. Once sugar has been incorporated with cream cheese, and remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, last tablespoon of heavy cream, and beat until fully smooth.
  5. Spread, drizzle, or pour the frosting over the gingerbread loaf.
  6. If using, sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans.


  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
  • Prepared Pan: There will always be the “next best way to prepare your pan” article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
Dan is the creator and sort of charming host of the YouTube Channel MANCAKE, dad to Gwennie the Corgi, downtown Pittsburgh resident, and an avid baker of all things delicious since he discovered his passion for it many years ago. (He / Him / His)