Homemade Gingerbread Loaf is soft, moist, and perfectly spiced with your favorite holiday flavors. Pair with your morning coffee, enjoy as dessert, or give as a gift.
It's that time of year again. Pull out the cinnamon, find the cloves, and buy a fresh jar of molasses. That's right - it's gingerbread season.
You'll love this homemade gingerbread loaf because it's quick and super easy to make. Plus, it gets you in the holiday spirit pronto. Who can resist the warm and cozy scent of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and molasses?
Gingerbread makes the perfect snack, morning breakfast, or dessert for fall and winter. Make a gingerbread loaf on Thanksgiving morning, Christmas eve, or for holiday movie night at home.
Prefer muffins? Try my gingerbread muffins recipe! They make a quick and easy seasonal snack.
Ingredients and substitutions
Since this is a baking recipe, I do not have many substitutions to offer. Baking is an exact science, and each ingredient serves its purpose in the recipe. I do not recommend making any substitutions that I haven't mentioned in this section!
- Unsalted butter - Make sure your butter is room temperature so that it easily incorporates with the rest of your ingredients. Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
- Brown sugar - light or dark brown sugar will work in this recipe. I used light brown sugar because it's always on hand in my pantry.
- Large eggs - Allow them to come to room temperature before adding to your batter. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, fill a bowl with hot tap water, add your eggs, and allow to set for 10 minutes. Remove your eggs from the water and dry off before cracking.
- Molasses - I recommend Grandma's Original Molasses (a common brand found in grocery stores). Molasses is a must when baking gingerbread, and gives it a distinctive flavor. Light or dark molasses will work in this recipe - dark molasses gives your gingerbread a stronger flavor.
- All-purpose flour - I do not recommend substituting your flour with any other types of flour you may have on hand. AP flour has the perfect amount of structure needed for a quick bread recipe.
- Baking soda - not baking powder. They react differently in recipes and you'll need baking soda for this particular recipe.
- Spices/Extracts - you'll need vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. All of these ingredients work together to give your bread a well rounded flavor.
Properly measured flour
One key to successful baking is properly measuring your ingredients, including your flour. I recommend weighing your flour, or using the spoon and level method.
Spoon flour into your measuring cup, then level the top off with a knife. When scooping flour directly from the container with your measuring cup, you're compacting the flour into the measuring cup. This adds up to 25% extra flour to your recipe.
Adding extra flour to your bread can make it dry, so be sure to spoon and level your flour for this recipe!
Give as a gift
Quick bread recipes make a fantastic homemade gift. Buy a pretty loaf pan, bake a loaf of gingerbread inside, then gift away!
These Emile Henry Ruffled Loaf Pans are pretty and high quality loaf pans. The white ruffled loaf pan would look beautiful with some fresh gingerbread baked inside.
How to prevent dry bread
If your bread is dry straight from the oven, this is caused by over-baking. When baked just the right amount of time, your bread loaf will turn out soft, moist, and tender. Here are a few tips to help prevent dry bread:
- Ovens can run hot or cold. If your oven runs hot, your baked goods may be done a few minutes before what is written in the recipe.
- Use a thermometer inside your oven to make sure your oven is set to the proper temperature for any given recipe. Here's what I use: Rubbermaid Instant Read Oven Thermometer
- If your oven runs hot, try testing your bread 10 minutes earlier than suggested in the recipe card. Stick a toothpick in the center of your loaf. If the toothpick comes out dry, or with crumbs, your bread is done. If your toothpick comes out with wet batter, give your bread another 5 minutes and check again.
- Dry bread can also be caused by slicing while still hot. Slicing into piping hot bread will release extra steam from your bread loaf and cause it to dry out quickly. Allow it to cool most of the way before slicing and enjoying.
- Homemade bread will stay moist for about 3 days before it needs to be eaten, frozen, or discarded.
Homemade Gingerbread Loaf
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease and flour the bottom and sides) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. With a hand mixer (or stand mixer) on medium speed, mix until fully combined. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until creamed and fluffy, about a minute. Scrape down the sides of your bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, add molasses and hot water. Stir until combined.
- In a third bowl, whisk (or sift) together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- To your butter mixture, add half of your dry ingredients, stirring until mostly incorporated. Then, add half of your molasses mixture, stirring until incorporated. Repeat once more, adding your remaining dry ingredients and molasses mixture. Stir until just combined (make sure not to over-mix, this can cause your bread to turn out dry/dense).
- Pour batter into loaf pan. Cover loaf pan loosely with foil (remove foil halfway through baking. This ensures that the top of your bread doesn't burn.) Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with crumbs).
- Transfer loaf pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.
- Optionally, dust with confectioner's sugar or serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Gingerbread will keep for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
- Gingerbread freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for 3 months. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag for optimal results.
- To prevent dry bread: If your oven runs hot, begin checking your bread for doneness a few minutes early. Once your bread is done baking, allow it to cool before slicing. Slicing into hot bread allows steam and moisture to escape.
- Properly measured flour ensures your bread doesn't turn out dense or dry. Use the spoon and level method, or click on 'metric' for the gram measurements and use a kitchen scale.