« Candy canes: like or dislike? | Main | Champagne: like or dislike? »

Last-minute chocolate gingerbread cake

Chocolate gingerbread cake: less than an hour, start to finish!

It's that time of year, the time when everyone is out and about, braving the crowded stores and getting prepared for the holidays. It's crazy-busy, and exhausting, and if you live on the flight path between your friends and the local shopping center, you will probably get some spontaneous drop-in visitors in search of a restorative cup of tea, a supportive hug, and a rest room with no waiting line. Even if you didn't get more than a quick text message saying, "I'm coming over in a few minutes", you can throw together a cake that's sure to cure the shopping blues. This last-minute from-the-pantry chocolate gingerbread cake comes together in less time than it takes to preheat the oven, and in an hour, start-to-finish, it's baked and cooled and ready for visitors. Even better, if you have a few minutes at the end of the day, throw one of these cakes in the oven. When it's cooled, cut it into four pieces and freeze. Each piece will serve 3-4 tired friends. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, or top it with ice cream, right before serving.

Chocolate and gingerbread, not too sweet but perfect for afternoon snacks.

Last-minute chocolate gingerbread cake

From the pantry, you'll need: all-purpose unbleached flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, butter, light brown sugar, molasses, egg, confectioners sugar, baking spray.

Recipe from the McCormick web site, with very slight alterations. Serves 12.


2-1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp powdered ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light (or dark) brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 cup boiling water
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Baking spray (Baker's Joy, or PAM with flour)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, beat together on medium speed the butter, sugar and molasses, until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in the egg.

Then, with the mixer on lowest speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the hot water, stirring just until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then invert the cake directly onto the rack, and cool completely.

Before serving, sprinkle the cake with confectioners sugar. Or, top individual servings with vanilla ice cream.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More quick cakes for last-minute desserts:
Apple spice bread, from The Perfect Pantry
Quick and easy chocolate dump cake, from The Perfect Pantry
No bake chocolate cake, from Rasa Malaysia
Easy black and white cake (gluten-free), from Elana's Pantry
Easy blueberry buttermilk cake, from Skinnytaste

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I want some right now! And I think this would make a fine breakfast with a cup of coffee (but only if it's a few days before Christmas and I have abandoned my diet!)

Kalyn, I must confess that I've tried it for breakfast (in the interest of quality control, of course), and it's mighty fine. I have some in the freezer now for any local folks who might drop by.

Happy Solstice, Lydia! This is indeed a superb sounding recipe and I am making it today as there will be "drop-ins" at our house throughout the week. Thanks!

Christine, happy solstice to you! Wish we lived closer and could drop in on each other.

This gingerbread recipe should catch up with my Christmas day menu. Thanks for sharing the nice recipe!

i've just taken this out of the oven. if it tastes as good cooked as the batter tasted and it smells while cooking(!), this will become a new addition to our holiday repertoire. thanks!!

Janis, I know you'll love it. I've just taken some out of the freezer for guests who are stopping by tonight. And of course I had to taste, for quality control. Yummy!

Mmmm! I love recipes that I can present to last minute guests, and from past experience, I know we have similar tastes.

A question, please: With a full cup of molasses, do you know why the recipe specifies brown sugar? Most brown sugars today are white sugar with molasses added and massaged in until evenly distributed. Even if you have some artisanal "real" brown sugar, won't the molasses overwhelm?
Anyway, very Happy New Year & best wishes.

Jenna, it does seem like a double whammy of molasses, yet the final product is not cloyingly sweet. Feel free to experiment with white sugar, but try the original recipe first so you can compare.

The comments to this entry are closed.