Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Citrus Glaze
The addition of pumpkin heightens the flavors and moisture in this classic snack cake. Whipped cream or the optional glaze are both delicious toppings. Yet another excellent option is to spoon homemade applesauce overtop and warm gently. While this cake is delightful served warm from the oven, the flavor of the spices will develop overnight. Store the cooled cake tightly wrapped in the refrigerator to preserve moisture, rewarming gently before serving, if desired.

Yields 1 (9x9-inch) square cake or 2 (9x5-inch) loaves.


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup honey (may substitute pure maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (may substitute applesauce; see comments above)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I have used my gluten-free baking mix with excellent results)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Whipped cream for serving or Optional Glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons each freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan or two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. (I use a hand blender; a stand mixer is a good option, too.) Beat in the egg, and then mix in the molasses, honey (if not using all molasses; see notes), and pumpkin.
  3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Blend half of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. When just combined, mix in the remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the hot water, and then pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for approximately 35 minutes for a 9-inch square pan or 40 minutes for 9×5-inch loaf pans, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (Check a few minutes early and add a few extra minutes, if needed, as all ovens vary. Avoid overcooking as this will create a dry baked good.)
  5. Allow to cool in pan before serving, and drizzle with optional glaze.
  6. For the glaze: Mix the confectioner’s sugar and the orange and lemon juice in a small bowl. If too thin, add a little more sugar. Stir to remove any lumps and drizzle over gingerbread before serving.


  • Be sure to use unsulphured molasses. Sulphured or blackstrap molasses have a harsher, more “minerally” flavor.
  • My original version of this recipe uses 1 cup of molasses and no honey. For those who prefer a less robust flavor, you may use half honey, half molasses as described above. Not sure? Opt for 1/4 cup honey and 3/4 cup molasses the first time and adjust from there.

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