citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

it’s december, my favorite time of year. the cooler weather, glittering lights and overall cozy feeling is the best. as is the baking. so much baking. while many (most) people think about cookies during this time of year, I think of all the delicious cakes. bundt cakes, sponge cakes, loaf cakes, fruit cakes (ok, maybe not those as much) call to me. if it can be called a cake, it’s on my baking list. a tender, spiced gingerbread has been on my list for years. after many failed attempts last year, I finally nailed down my perfect gingerbread cake. this citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake is my perfect, lightened up version of gingerbread. I hope you love it as much as I do!

citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

how to describe this loaf cake…

while many recipes make for a dense, dark and intense gingerbread, this one can best be described as:

  • moist
  • tender
  • spicy
  • sweet
  • floral
  • with notes of citrus

if you love spice cakes, but shy away from gingerbread, this is the gingerbread for you! gingerbread lovers, think of this as a “snacking” version of the more intense bread you love. expect to taste all the classic flavors of a great piece of gingerbread, but with a lighter touch.

sweet + spicy ingredient list

as always the ingredients for this citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake are most likely already in your pantry. if not, add these to your grocery list:

  • all purpose flour
  • cake flour
  • baking soda
  • molasses
  • ground ginger
  • ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • ground cloves
  • ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • olive oil (or other baking oil such as canola or vegetable)
  • brown sugar
  • egg
  • oranges (for zest and fresh juice)
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract

from these ingredients you will make the citrus glaze and the gingerbread loaf cake. you’ll also need to have a 9X5 loaf pan and parchment paper to make the loaf cake, so add those to the cart if you don’t already have them.

citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

tips for a delicious loaf cake

  • zest the orange right into the sugar in the mixing bowl
    • this allows all the oils to go straight into the sugar (and your loaf!!)
  • use warm water or even coffee to dilute the molasses
    • this makes it easier to mix into the batter
  • make sure to use a good tasting oil
    • the other flavors are strong, but its good practice to use an oil that tastes good on its own
  • check your baking soda
    • every 3-6 months is recommended
  • use the spoon and level method for measuring out the flour OR
  • my preferred measuring method is to use a food scale
  • make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand
    • pour 1 tsp lemon juice in a measuring cup
    • add milk to reach 1/2 c
  • the tender crumb is thanks to cake flour
    • make your own by measuring out 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
    • scoop out 3 tbsp of flour
    • add in 3 tbsp cornstarch
    • sift the new mixture together 4 times to ensure an even blend
    • you now have an approximate for 1 1/2 c cake flour
  • use a metal loaf pan if possible
    • this recipe was created using a 9X5 metal loaf pan
    • if using another type of pan, please see this article
  • this loaf is lightly sweetened – just enough to bring out the taste of the spices and molasses
    • if you like your breads on the sweeter side, make sure to add the glaze.
    • if you want, go up to 1 c of brown sugar in total. adding more can alter the texture and structure of the loaf
  • lining the pan with parchment allows for easy removal
  • try not to open the oven until at least 40-45 minutes of baking
    • opening sooner can cause the loaf to rise and sink more easily
citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake
citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake
citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake
citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

more delicious loaf cakes to love

citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

A deliciously moist gingerbread load cake with the most tender crumb. This cake is generously spiced with all the wonderful aromatics of the season. Top this delicious loaf with a bright citrus glaze made from freshly squeezed orange juice and powdered sugar. Its the perfect complement to the warm spiciness of the cake.
4.64 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Cooling Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Breakfast, Celebrations, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9X5 loaf


  • 9X5 loaf pan
  • parchment paper
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk, wooden spoon and/or spatula


gingerbread loaf cake

  • 1/3 c (79ml) molasses
  • 1/3 c (79ml) very warm water
  • 1 1/2 c (180g) cake flour see notes
  • 1/2 c (60g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5g) baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp (5g) ground ginger
  • 1 1 /2 tsp (3g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (2g) ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c (135g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest (about one orange) sub with lemon
  • 1/2 c (118ml) olive oil (or other neutral oli)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (118ml) buttermilk, room temperature

citrus glaze

  • 1 c (120g) powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2-3 tbsp (30-45ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (sub with lemon)


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9X5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving 1-2" excess along the longer sides of the pan. This helps with removeal once the loaf has baked. Set aside. 
    If making your own buttermilk, add 1 tsp lemon juice to the 1/2 c whole milk now. It needs about 10 minutes to curdle.
    Heat water to very warm (about 100F) in a heat proof container. Pour molasses into the water. Miz well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a whisk, spatula or electric mixer, whisk the orange zest and sugar together until the sugar somewhat resembles wet sand. This is from the oils releasing and incorporating into the sugar. If this doesn't happen, or you want more orange flavor, add 1/2 tsp orange extract and repeat.
    Whisk together the sugar and oil until well combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Whisk in the thinned out molasses. Mix until well combined.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet, alternating in this order: dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry. Leave a few flour or milk streaks before adding the next. If needed, switch to a wooden spoon or spatula for this step.
    Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top of the batter.
  • Bake at 350 F for 45-55 minutes. Around 40 minutes, do the first check of the cake. Check to make sure the top isn't burning. If the top is browning too much, place a tent foil over the top for the remainder of the time. Bake an additional 5-7 minutes before checking for doneness. The edges of the cake will have pulled slighly from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
    If the toothpick comes out wet or "gummy," the cake will most likely need an addtional 10-20 minutes from that point. Check every 5-10 until done.
  • Remove the loaf cake from the oven to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan after about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature on the cooling rack.
    Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and the orange or lemon juice.
    Pour the glaze on the gingerbread loaf while still slightly warm or at room temperature. Cool the glazed cake an additional 30-45 minutes on the cooling rack. Slice and enjoy!
Keyword easy gingerbread, easy gingerbread cake, most gingerbread, winter loaf cakes
did you make this recipe?tag @olivesnthyme on Instagram

love this recipe?!

let others know by leaving a rating in the recipe + comment below

6 thoughts on “citrus glazed gingerbread loaf cake

  1. Tried this recipe! it smells sooo good. However I didn’t have molasses and used an equal part of maple syrup and skipped the water. Love the flavour but it turned out kind of dry. Do you think leaving out the water may have made it dry? I accidentally left it to bake it for a total of 55 minutes, may have baked it too long. But thank you for the recipe, the orange flavour really stands out!

    1. Several things can lead to a cake being dry. Too much flour or baking for too long can lead to this. Since maple syrup is a good sub for molasses, I don’t know if this is the cause. I also assume you used the grams for measurement, so I don’t think you added too much flour. My thought would be it baked for a touch too long. Cakes can go from perfectly baked to over baked very quickly!
      The cake should barely pull away from the edges. A tooth pick inserted into the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If you are worried for the next time you make it, watch the time. Additionally, you can add a couple of spoonfuls (~2 tbsp) sour cream or whole milk greek yogurt.
      Id love to know how the next loaf turns out for you!

Leave a Reply