Gingerbread Loaf Recipe

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This Gingerbread Loaf recipe is dense and moist with a rich cream cheese icing that brings out all the flavors of the holidays. It uses the spices of your favorite treats, but you can eat it any time of day!

cream cheese icing gingerbread loaf on a white plate

This from-scratch recipe comes together in just 15 minutes and serves 12 generous slices, but it can be easily doubled if you need more.

Once your bread is in the oven, you can whip up an easy cream cheese frosting recipe. Ours is a classic recipe with an added pinch of salt to bring out the natural tangy flavor of the cream cheese.

If you’d rather, you can leave the frosting off the bread. It’s still a delicious treat. Either way, this gingerbread loaf is perfect to serve for your Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast, a yummy holiday dessert, or a snack with an afternoon coffee.

overhead view of sliced gingerbread loaf with cream cheese icing

What is Gingerbread Loaf?

Gingerbread loaf is a dense, thick bread baked in a loaf pan. Using spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, it tastes similar to gingerbread cookies. Starbucks made their famous gingerbread loaf for the holiday season, and it became a classic fall and winter treat across the country. Making your own at home is easy and I think my recipe might be even better than the coffeehouse classic!

How Do I Store Gingerbread Loaf?

Gingerbread loaf will stay fresh for up to five days in an airtight container. It will last longer if kept in the fridge, but this can dry it out quicker, so if you’re using it within 24 hours, I recommend keeping it covered on the counter.

gingerbread loaf with icing

Can I Freeze Gingerbread Loaf?

Yes, you can freeze gingerbread loaf. It will stay fresh in the freezer for up to four months so you can make it ahead. Make sure you take it out of the freezer at least 6 hours before you want to serve it. If it has already been cut into slices, place parchment between each one and you’ll be able to separate them easier when frozen.

Can I Make Gingerbread Loaf in a Cake Pan?

While I haven’t tried this myself, I don’t see why your loaf batter won’t bake up nicely in a cake pan. If your cake pan is large, you may need to reduce the baking time so it doesn’t get too dry. You’ll want to line your cake pan with parchment and remove the cake right away after baking. Place on a cooking rack for a few hours.

2 slices of holiday gingread loaf

Tips for Making Gingerbread Loaf

  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin making your batter, especially your butter and eggs. Room temperature cream cheese will help make sure your frosting doesn’t have any lumps.
  • If you forget to soften your butter, you can microwave it in 5-10 second bursts until it’s soft. Go slowly! You don’t want to melt it.
  • Many gingerbread recipes use molasses but ours doesn’t. This allows our bread to be less dense than some others, but you still don’t want to over-mix your batter. Mix your ingredients just until well combined.

Recommended

Holiday Spice Gingerbread Cookies

Holiday Apple Pie with Dried Fruit & Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Scones

step by step directions on how to make gingerbread loaf with cream cheese icing

Gingerbread Loaf With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This moist and dense gingerbread loaf recipe is a perfect treat to serve for breakfast or dessert, or to enjoy with an afternoon cup of coffee. The tangy, homemade cream cheese frosting is the perfect compliment to the bread’s yummy spices.

Notes

  • If you’re going to freeze your bread, you may want to leave the cream cheese frosting off of your bread. While it will freeze with it on top, it will thaw better without it.
  • You can make your cream cheese frosting ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Press some plastic wrap on the surface of the frosting to keep it fresh.
  • If you’re not a fan of cream cheese frosting, you can serve your gingerbread loaf with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or even buttercream frosting.

Substitutions

  • Butter: You can substitute butter for margarine or other butter-like spreads. It may change the consistency of your bread slightly, but it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
  • Cream Cheese: For making cream cheese frosting, it’s best to use full-fat cream cheese. If you must use a low-fat version, expect your frosting to be lighter in texture.
  • Egg: If you don’t want to use eggs in this recipe, you can add in an extra ¼ cup of apple sauce.

More Yummy Holiday Recipes You’ll Enjoy

If you like this delicious gingerbread loaf recipe, you’ll want to try some of our other easy holiday treats! Try any from the list below.

Gingerbread Loaf Recipe
Yield: 12

Gingerbread Loaf Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

GINGERBREAD LOAF

  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • 1 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda

CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, full fat (softened)
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, full fat (softened)
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter (softened, room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¾ cups Icing Sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

    DIRECTIONS: GINGERBREAD LOAF

    1. Preheat oven to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the sides and bottom of a 9x15 bread loaf pan with oil spray. Sprinkle sides and bottom of the baking pan with flour. Or use an oil spray with flour. Set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, blend the softened butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, egg, and apple sauce until well combined.
    3. Gradually sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda). Beat with the mixer on low each time you add in some of the dry ingredients. Once you have sifted in all the dry ingredients and they are starting to come together, mix on high for 2-3 more minutes, scraping the side of the bowl as you go with a baking spatula.
    4. Pour gingerbread batter into the prepared bread loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
    5. Transfer the baked gingerbread loaf immediately to a cooling rack and let cool completely for at least one hour before putting cream cheese icing on top.

    DIRECTIONS: CREAM CHEESE ICING

    1. While the gingerbread loaf is baking in the oven, begin preparing your icing. In the bowl of your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla on a medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
    2. Gradually add in the icing sugar starting on a low speed and moving up to high speed once all the ingredients are starting to come together. Whip on high speed until the icing becomes light and airy (approximately 3 minutes). Cover bowl with cling wrap and chill in refrigerator until gingerbread loaf is done baking and cooled.
    3. When gingerbread loaf is completely cool, spread the cream cheese icing evenly on top of your loaf. Cut into 12 even slices with a serrated knife and enjoy.

Notes

  • Full fat cream cheese is necessary for the best cream cheese icing. Using a lighter version will still work; however, the icing may end up a little too light in texture.
    To soften the butter just leave on the counter overnight or for 2-3 hours before you want to bake the gingerbread loaf. If you are in a pinch and forgot to get the butter out stick in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until softened. Just make sure you don’t accidentally melt it.
    If you don’t have butter on hand, you can use margarine instead. Just keep in mind, this may lend a slightly different texture to the cake, but it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
    Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
    Freezer: Store this in the freezer for up to 4 months in an airtight container. Use parchment paper to separate pieces if needed, so they don’t stick together.

Did you make this recipe?

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