Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Lemon Frosting
Spicy gingerbread cake baked and frosted in one pan means this Christmas classic requires little maintenance and is ready to take with you to holiday parties and work potlucks.
December (and parts of November) is the only time I eat gingerbread. I know someone who makes it every Halloween, but I’m too busy stuffing my face with pumpkin. Of course once December rolls around, everyone is running here then there and fighting for parking spaces and shopping carts. Or getting hit in the ankle with a cart then dodging people’s kids as you race to wait in line for 30 minutes. I’m all about reducing stress, so I married a Christmas classic with the convenience of a sheet cake. I love making sheet cakes simply because you bake and frost it in one pan. No need to unmold (and possibly cry) then finding another container for transportation or whether you have enough to frost the sides (not to mention you don’t need frosting skills either). All in one pan, all parties are happy.
As I was doing some recipe research, I learned that typical sheet cakes are made in a thin sheet pan (think jellyroll pan), not a big 13×9 pan that I’m accustomed to. Maybe that’s why people look at me weird when I say it’s a sheet cake, so I’m calling it a Texas sheet cake because cakes are bigger in Texas (right? I’ve never been to Texas before).
I topped it with a thin layer of lemon frosting because lemon and gingerbread go together quite nicely. I first discovered the duo with lemon speculoos ice cream. If you’re skeptical (don’t be!) or don’t like lemon (blasphemy!), cream cheese frosting makes a great substitute.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups molasses
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9 pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
- With a mixer on low speed or by hand, add the melted butter and molasses, mixing until moistened. Add the water, mixing or stirring until everything is moistened.
- Whisk together the egg and buttermilk then mix or stir into the batter until evenly combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. There may be cracks on top, but they will be covered up with frosting. Cool completely.
- For the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until creamy. Add the juice and zest. Beat another 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread onto cooled cake then top with sprinkles.
Source: Adapted from King Arthur Flour
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