Gingerbread Sheet Cake

Recipe By Tessa Arias
December 5th, 2019
5 from 3 votes
5 from 3 votes

Easy Gingerbread Sheet Cake features a Texas-style spiced molasses buttermilk cake topped with a creamy and rich cream cheese frosting. Simple recipe perfect for a crowd!

Yield: 20 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Rich, warm, spicy, tangy, and sweet.
Texture: The cake is ultra moist, spongey, and soft while the frosting is lucious and creamy.
Ease: Super simple and easy to make and transport!
Pros: Fun and festive recipe for a holiday party.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

This easy Gingerbread Sheet Cake is the perfect cake recipe to bring to a Christmas potluck or white elephant party!

It’s simple enough to make on a weekday. OR, make the cake a day in advance and frost the day you plan to serve it.

Slice of gingerbread sheet cake with a bite removed

The combination of gingerbread and cream cheese frosting is one I discovered a couple years ago. I made a recipe for gingerbread cookie bars with cream cheese frosting. It’s basically the cookie version of this recipe!

I fell in love with how the tangy cream cheese complements the rich spiciness of the cake.

Gingerbread sheet cake in baking pan with cream cheese icing being spread on top

How to Make Easy Gingerbread Sheet Cake

Quick gingerbread sheet cake in a pan with a bowl of cream cheese frosting next to it

What is Texas-style sheet cake?

This is basically a super easy method of making sheet cake that will feel totally wrong if you’ve never done it before. You melt the butter with water on the stovetop, then add the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients.

It feels so backwards compared to traditional method but it all comes together into an ultra moist, spongey, and soft cake!

What kind of pan should I use for sheet cake?

This recipe was developed for a 10 by 15-inch jelly roll baking pan.

I’d highly recommend a light colored pan as opposed to one with a dark nonstick coating. That will dry out the edges more quickly.

You can try to bake this recipe in a 9 by 13-inch pan but you may have more batter. You’ll also need to experiment with the baking time. I haven’t tested that.

Gingerbread sheet cake in a baking pan with slices cut ready to serve

How to make cream cheese icing for sheet cake:

The frosting is super simple, but you want to make sure your cream cheese is completely and totally softened to room temperature. This will allow you to make a soft and creamy frosting without any lumps.

Also be sure to use full fat bricks of high quality cream cheese. Some generic brands are filled with weird gums and stabilizers or are super watery.

I love to use vanilla paste in my cream cheese icing for extra vanilla flavor but you can also use extract.

The frosting doesn’t need to be super stiff since it’s just going on a flat sheet cake so we don’t need as much powdered sugar, which I personally prefer!

How many people does a sheet cake feed?

This gingerbread sheet cake yields 20 servings. Again, perfect for any Christmas or holiday gatherings!

How to store sheet cake:

The cake can be baked, cooled, covered and stored at room temperature for 2 days.

Once frosted, the cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for a few hours before it needs to be refrigerated. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Gingerbread sheet cake in pan with slices cut out

More Sheet Cake Recipes

5 from 3 votes

How to make
Gingerbread Sheet Cake

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Easy Gingerbread Sheet Cake features a Texas-style spiced molasses buttermilk cake topped with a creamy and rich cream cheese frosting. Simple recipe perfect for a crowd!


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the icing

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 2 1/2 cups (313 grams) powdered sugar, sifted


Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and brown sugar.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the butter, water, and molasses. Turn onto medium-high heat until the butter melts. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat and add in the flour mixture. Let cool slightly. Add in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and the cake springs back when touched. Let cool.
  5. Cake can be made 2 days ahead of time. Cover and store at room temperature.

Make the icing:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until completely smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until creamy.

  2. Spread all over cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas, gingerbread sheet cake, sheet cake

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Lindi — December 25, 2020 at 7:24 am

    Oh, this is a keeper! The cake is so moist, spongy and full of holiday flavors! I replaced the buttermilk with sour cream because it’s what I had on hand. the frosting is just creamy and lovely, Thanks, Happy Holiday!

  2. #
    Melissa Speight — December 20, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    When making ahead of time, would I cover and store the cake without icing.. possibly waiting to make the icing until the day of? Thank you! The perfect cake to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — December 22, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Yes! You can follow the make ahead steps in the instructions of the recipe. Hope you love this cake!

  3. #
    Kelli — December 20, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Hello! I am looking forward to baking this cake for the holidays. I am curious; why does the cake bake at such a high temperature? I’ve never baked a cake this hot before, even other sheet cakes. Thanks so much for the insight!

  4. #
    Jenae Kluge — December 18, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Super simple and SUPER delicious. I have officially added this recipe to my list of holiday cooking.

    • #
      Tessa — December 18, 2020 at 11:09 am

      Yay! Thanks so much!

  5. #
    Itziar — November 22, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Hi!!! Do you know if I try these recipe in a bunt tin or a small loaf, would it works? I do have to put it less time in the oven?

  6. #
    Michelle — December 8, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Honestly I was dubious looking at this recipe – I’ve never made a sheet cake before and also the only molasses available on this side of the pond is Blackstrap. BUT it came out sooo well, beautiful spongy cake with a delicate crumb, couldn’t believe I was able to achieve this texture without even using an electric mixer! I used a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and the rest of the 1/4 cup maple-flavoured golden syrup. Seems to do the trick – gorgeous result with no hassle 🙂

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