Gingerbread Pudding Cake

Who else grew up with that old-fashioned brownie pudding cake, those magical layers of warm chocolate cake on top and warm chocolate pudding below? This is that cake except – be still, my beating heart – it's gingerbread.

Special Dessert for the Holidays, Warm & Rustic & Homey
Gingerbread Pudding Cake ♥, layers of cake and pudding. It's magic!

Gingerbread Pudding Cake.

Yes, you read it right.

Gingerbread Pudding Cake. Warm gingerbread cake on top and warm gingerbread pudding underneath. It brings silence to tables. It causes grown men to groan. It makes up in minutes and while humble in appearance, is a stunning company dessert during the holidays.

Or you know, for two, enjoyed in companionable silence before a blazing fire, watching the twinkle of lights on the Christmas tree ... or after a glass or two of something bubbly on New Years Eve.

What Is a "Pudding Cake"

A pudding cake is a very special category of baked dessert, half pudding and half cake, pudding on the bottom, cake on top.

Huh? How does that happen?! Is it hard? No! Is it complicated? No! Is it magic?! Maybe!

The trick is all in the order and timing of the easy, everyday pantry ingredients. Once in the oven, the batter magically separates into two layers, cake above, pudding below.

The most common pudding cakes are lemon and chocolate.

  • Lemon Pudding Cake is light and airy, golden cake on top and a soft lemony pudding below, it was my favorite as a little girl
  • Chocolate Pudding Cake, I make mine with coffee for an extra edge.
  • Rhubarb Pudding Cake is a fun dessert for spring

But Gingerbread Pudding Cake? It's a special choice for the holidays, that light touch of molasses in both the cake and the pudding.

Which Is Better for Gingerbread Pudding Cake? Mild Molasses or Dark Molasses or Blackstrap Molasses?

Gingerbread Pudding Cake ♥, layers of cake and pudding. It's magic!

Look for molasses in the baking aisle, alongside the flour and sugar and especially the light and dark corn syrups.

You'll probably find a couple of choices, my favorite brand of mild molasses is Grandma's Molasses or dark molasses is Brer Rabbit. These are the best choices for Gingerbread Pudding Cake and most baking. If there's a choice, choose unsulphured molasses.

I'm also a big fan of what's called "blackstrap" molasses, a very strong and almost bitter molasses. Trader Joe's some times carries blackstrap molasses, it has a certain following in health-food quarters. Generally speaking, blackstrap molasses isn't a good 1:1 substitute for mild or dark molasses.

But for an an extra molasses-y Gingerbread Pudding Cake, I use 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses with 2/3 cup mild molasses. Just look how black that gingerbread is!

RESOURCES Best Molasses Substitutes from Food52 & Everything You Need to Know About Molasses from The Kitchn.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 70 minutes
Enough for an 11x7 baking dish, serving about 10
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 190g
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 114g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (300g) molasses, mild or dark
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups very hot (near boiling) water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 55g) salted butter
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Heat oven to 350F/180C. Locate an oven-safe baking dish about 11x7, no need to spray it.

DRY INGREDIENTS In a bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.

WET INGREDIENTS In a bowl large enough to hold everything, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugar and egg, mixing until creamy. Mix in the molasses and cold water.

With a spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined. Pour into the baking dish, it'll be quite liquid, don't worry!

TOPPING Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly across the top of the batter but do not mix in. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the hot water and 4 tablespoons butter together until the butter melts, pour it over the brown sugar but again, don't mix it in! This is key!

BAKE uncovered for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is crispy and the cake has turned into, well, cake and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (In my oven, I start checking at 35 minutes but 45 minutes is just about perfect.) Let cool for about 10 minutes.

TO SERVE Serve hot from the oven with scoops of ice cream or dollops of whipped cream.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS I always-always set this up ahead of time, an assembly line of bowls left out on the counter for a couple of hours, then combine it all in the baking dish at the last minute, right before we sit down to dinner. That way, it's ready to serve after dinner, hot out of the oven. So so good! This is my assembly line: the dry ingredients; the wet ingredients (already mixed); the brown sugar topping; the water and butter in a liquid measuring cup ready for the microwave.

ALANNA's TIPS Check your molasses bottle, a whole cup is a whole lot of molasses! I use mild molasses but have also mixed 1/3 cup blackstrap with 2/3 cup mild molasses. Molasses lovers, you'll love this extra-molasses-y Gingerbread Pudding Cake. The color is so-so black! I'm just figuring this out, I think if you use cold water with the wet ingredients, the top turns out quite crackly, very cool. If you use hot water with the wet ingredients, the top turns out softer, more like typical fresh gingerbread. Five times I've made this, just figured this out. (I think!)
SCALING THE RECIPE UP AND DOWN Interested in other pan sizes? Here's some guidelines, all it takes is a little math, calculating the area of pans!
  • An 8x8 pan will work but since it has a smaller surface area, will take longer to bake.
  • For a 9x13 pan, increase the recipe by half. What's that math? Take the specified amount, multiply by 1.5.
  • To halve the recipe for fewer servings, use a loaf pan, one typically used for baking bread, that's 4x8. (It's okay to use a whole egg, it works fine.) Please know, this is an excellent trick for halving recipes that fit 8x8 pans. I learned it from the lovely Dessert for Two. She's brilliant!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 367 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 57mg Cholesterol; 299mg Sodium; 58g Carb; 1g Fiber; 38g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 8 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 18 & Freestyle 18 & myWW green 18 & blue 18 & purple 18 (yep, total indulgence, and worth it) Believe it or not, this recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in sugar and flour.
Adapted from Land O Lakes.

Molasses Lovers! I've Got Your Back!

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

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~ more recipes with molasses ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ molasses recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2015, 2017 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous12/08/2015

    This sounds delicious - and I would probably throw caution to the wind and serve it with a lemon sauce! It's the holidays, so go for it!

  2. Anonymous ~ Caution to the wind, for sure! You must traditionally pour a lemon sauce over gingerbread? Sounds lovely! This is so moist -- and there’s the PUDDING -- you might find it’s unnecessary!

  3. Anonymous10/05/2023

    I’ve made this many times, most recently when visiting family. I had all the ingredients so it was just a matter of putting together and placing in an already hot oven to bake while we ate dinner. Everyone enjoyed. I didn’t change a thing. We didn’t even add ice cream of whipping cream. It was so good! In the past, I’ve divided batter and hot water in several smaller dishes. That way we can freeze finished puddings and warm up when we want a taste of gingerbread. Thanks for providing such a delicious ‘comfort’ dessert.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna