Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cream


Bright lemon curd folded into billowy whipped cream is a delightful contrast to deeply spiced gingerbread with strong notes of molasses and clove in this cake from Carla Hall.

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cream

Carson Downing

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Hands On Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
1, 3 layer (8-inch) cake

Carla Hall, award-winning cookbook author, former host of The Chew, and creator and host of the Say Yes! podcast baked a cake that you'll want to make on repeat. Go all out and get the height of the magazine's cover image by preparing the cake recipe twice using two 9×2-inch pans to make four layers total. 


  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 cup cake flour, sifted

  • 1 ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature

  • cup molasses

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup buttermilk

  • cup hot water

  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • cup canola oil

  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream


  1. For the lemon curd,* place the 6 Tbsp. butter and the granulated sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until blended, about 2 minutes. Add the two eggs and two yolks, one at at time, with machine running; beat for an additional minute. Add lemon juice; mix well. it will look curdled but will become smooth when you cook it.

  2. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium heat, 20 to 25 minutes, until it reaches 190°F, but don't allow it to boil. The mixture will become smooth, glossy, and thick as it cooks.

  3. Pour mixture into a bowl and mix in the lemon zest and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against top of the curd so it doesn't form a skin. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. (Curd can be kept in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or you can freeze it in 1/2-cup portions for up to 2 months. Makes 1 2/3 cups.)

  4. For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans. Sift the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, and the cloves into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a medium bowl whisk the three eggs, two yolks, the molasses, and vanilla. In a small bowl stir together the buttermilk and hot water.

  5. Mix the dry ingredients on low speed until well blended. Add the 4 Tbsp. butter and the canola oil; continue mixing on low until mixture resembles fine crumbs. With machine running, add the egg mixture and beat just until incorporated, then add buttermilk mixture in a steady stream while beating. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl; mix again just until evenly combined. Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans.

  6. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes. When you lightly touch the top of the cake, it should feel a little bouncy but still show the indentation of your finger. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Unmold cakes and place, top side up, on the rack. Cool completely.

  7. For lemon cream, in a medium bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Whisk lemon curd to loosen it, then add 3/4 cup curd to whipped cream. Beat to medium peaks.

  8. Place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Spread one-third of the lemon cream evenly on top. Gently press another cake layer, bottom side up, on top. Spread half of the remaining lemon cream on top, then top with the final cake layer, top side up. Spread the remaining cream on top. Chill until set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Candied Lemon Slices

Preheat oven to 275°F. Thinly slice a small lemon, discarding ends. In a large straight-sided skillet heat 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup water just to boiling, stirring to dissolve honey. Add lemon slices to skillet. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove lemon slices from syrup; arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once halfway through baking. Check slices every ten minutes, because some will brown more quickly than others. Remove as they brown.

For the Cover

Prepare cake recipe twice, except bake each batch in two 9x2-inch pans (to make four layers total). Bake layers 25 minutes. Prepare frosting as directed, using 2 cups cream and 1 cup curd. If you like, decorate with candied lemon slices.


You may substitute purchased lemon curd.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

512 Calories
27g Fat
64g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 512
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 160mg 53%
Sodium 367mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Total Sugars 45g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 4.6mg 23%
Calcium 180mg 14%
Iron 3.2mg 18%
Potassium 379mg 8%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g
Folate, total 60.9mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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