Swedish Soft Gingerbread Cake

Serves: Makes 8-12 slices
Cost: ~€2.30
Preparation and cooking time: ~80 minutes
Calories: ~400 per slice

Greetings everyone, I hope you’re having a good Friday. For my American readers, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day yesterday. I’m back with the promised cake! It’s seemed like such a long time since I posted a sweet dish (although to be honest it probably wasn’t that long). It’s almost the end of November which can only mean one thing: December kicks off in just a few days and with it the festive season. I have to say, I haven’t really felt “Christmassy” yet, though no doubt that will come in time. What I do start to do around this time of year though is think about what sort of things I’m going to be making in the way of food on the 24th and 25th of December. As nice as it is, I’m not going to be making another English Christmas Cake this year. I only like it in small quantities and it’s a lot of work for something I only enjoy about one or two slices of per year (did I mention that I found last year’s Christmas Cake in the cupboard in August and it was still perfectly edible and moist from all the brandy in it?!).

I don’t think I’ll make a Yule Log this year either and decided that I wanted something with a rather more traditional, festive flavour, as well as something which isn’t too rich (since I’m trying to shed a bit of weight – I already lost 4 kilos!), so… enter the gingerbread cake.

Soft Gingerbread Cake

If you’ve tried Swedish gingerbread (pepparkakor) before you’ll be familiar with this combination of spices. The cinnamon and ground cloves really take it away from being just a “ginger cake” and into all sorts of Christmassy realms. You can serve it plain, if that’s what you’re into, but the simple, tangy lemon frosting is a perfect accompaniment and as a result I’m pretty much settled on this as being my season’s cake this year.

I have some more Christmas dishes which I’ll be posting as the weeks go by in the run-up to the 25th so I hope you’ll check back and take a look. Christmas for me this year is taking on a whole new meaning though – it’s not about the food this time, but about the little bundle of joy we have in our house who’s sleeping soundly as I write this. More than ever before it’s about celebrating love, and family, and I’m looking forward to taking walks with my wife and son in the forest during the holidays, enjoying the togetherness, and the crisp, fresh air. Dare I even hope for a little snow? We’ll see!

Eva from KitchenInspirations recently suggested that I post a photo per month so you can see how the little guy is growing up. I thought that was a marvellous idea, especially since he’s getting to the age now where he can support himself much more steadily, making photographs much easier to set up, so, even though I’ve already posted one earlier this month, here’s another one – the official November photo – for you here :). He already so desperately wants to crawl, but can’t quite do it, so lies there and wiggles his legs and arms back and forth :).

Have a wonderful day and a great weekend, and I’ll see you back soon!


Soft Gingerbread Cake


Soft Gingerbread Cake ingredients

For the cake

  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 210g Plain Flour
  • 180g Natural Yoghurt
  • 100g Butter
  • 3tbsps Black Treacle or molasses
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2tsps Ground Ginger
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

For the frosting

  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Lemon

You’ll also need

  • A 20cm cake tin


  1. Start off by preheating the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, then cream together the butter, sugar and treacle. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Once these are mixed together, add in the yoghurt and finally add in the rest of the dry ingredients – the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and the bicarbonate of soda – and mix together well
    Making the batter
  2. Grease a 20cm cake tin and transfer the batter into the tin. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on how effective your oven is. Test after about 50 minutes with a fork or skewer to see if it comes out clean. Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
    Arranging the batter in the pan
  3. While the cake is baking, zest the lemon, being sure not to grate away the white pith and then place the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add in the zest and the lemon juice. Mix together to form a thick paste.
    Making the lemon frosting
  4. When the cake has fully cooled, spread the frosting over the top of the cake going right up to the edge of the cake so it just starts to drip over the edge. Allow the frosting to set and then enjoy! :)
    Soft Gingerbread Cake

    Soft Gingerbread Cake


  1. says

    Oh my God everything in this post is so good…The gingerbread and the baby look amazing..He’s already “crawling”…An angel!

    Although there is no Christmas in my house I have already made mincepies and the Christmas cake is waiting to be covered. My husband will have a heartbreak if he does not get any LOL…

    • says

      Thank you Nada – not crawling quite yet, but he really wants to. He looks very determined when you put him on the floor :D.

      That reminds me actually – I must make mincemeat soon so I can make my pies this year!

  2. Barb @ Profiteroles & Ponytails says

    Enjoy the time before the crawling begins …when life is never the same! :) what a surprise to see little William — I wasn’t expecting that! Thanks for this recipe Charles. I make gingerbread cake every year and serve with caramel sauce … Usually on Christmas Eve. However yours looks picture perfect and I can’t say the same for mine. Beautiful picture!!!

    • says

      Hi Barb, he’s already looking so determined, I’m anticipating no end of problems when he can finally move around by himself. He’s gonna be all over the place 😀

  3. says

    I adore the warm sweet spices of ginger cske, and this one is definitely going on my list for Christmas baking this year. I have had enormous luck with the wonderful Swedish desserts I’ve recreated from your lovely blog Charles.
    Thank you kindly for the shout out, William is adorable and its so nice to see his progress; he looks like such a little man already. Best of luck as he learns to crawl, you had better kiddy proof your place!

    • says

      Hi Eva, do let me know if you decide to give this a try. My mother sometimes makes ginger cake which is really good, but the addition of cloves and cinnamon really give it a wonderful flavour. I wonder how it would be like with orange zest inside, and maybe some grated apple as well…

  4. says

    Pepparkakor – so simple, so delicious. It’s the smell that infiltrates the whole house that I associate with Sweden and my Mormor :) Oh happy days. Yep, that’s decided it for me too….Pepparkakor it is this year. Thanks Charles x

    • says

      Hi Anneli, I made a brine tonight for some roast beef, also with ginger, cinnamon and cloves inside. As I was boiling up the brine I could smell the spices all over the house – SO good!

  5. says

    Congrats on the weight loss and wow , isn´t he cute? The ginger cake looks so festive and sounds amazing. I love ginger but don´t think I´ve ever made a cake quite like this so will be giving it a go before Christmas for sure :)

    • says

      Thanks Chica! My goal is to be 90 kilos… I don’t normally look “large”… I’m a tall guy and I carry it well, but I’d love to be more trim and get rid of my “beer belly”, lol 😀

      Let me know if you try the cake :)

  6. says

    Oh Charles! Look at William! He is just too cute. Mr. N thinks so too. Miss A thinks she had that same little toy. LOL. And I just love his eyes. He’d have me wrapped around his finger in no time. 😉 This cake looks and sounds delicious. The frosting is what puts it over the top for me. Great choice in Christmas cake. I have to start thinking about menus for this year too. Not today though – I’m still too full from yesterday’s feasting. And yes, the holidays are only going to be more and more fun for you from here on out. It’s all about family. :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Kristy – I think without the frosting it would still be nice, but it really has a nice bit of tangy “zing” now :).

      I hope your thanksgiving was ok – I so enjoyed your recent blog post… so touching! Willy’s a bit too young this year to appreciate Christmas, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cuddle him on Christmas day and marvel at his smiles (I’ll never get bored of that… he looked at me today and gave me a huge grin… it makes me feel all fuzzy inside).

  7. says

    Oh, Charles, what a lovely idea to post a monthly photo of William! Though, be warned, he is a *major* distraction from your food! It’s been far too long since I’ve made a ginger cake and it’s been on my mind lately, and then … there you are. Your cake is lovely and, though I usually don’t ice it, I’m going to do the lemon icing next time.

    • says

      Hi Jean – if he’s so distracting then I’ll bear that in mind and be sure to post him on the days when I don’t have such a good photo or recipe of the food :D.

      Really recommend the lemon icing – it’s SO good on this cake :)

  8. says

    I’m so excited about this cake! I don’t think I have that size of cake pan, but I’m going to find one. The shape and the look of it’s drizzly icing has me swooning.. and I’m swooning over your wee little boy as well! I can’t believe how he has grown already. A photo a month is an excellent idea. I do believe he will be the first blogger baby that will be growing up with so many loving blogger eyes watching:) I think there’s a book in there somewhere? It brings back many lovely memories of my own little boy:)

    • says

      Hi Barbara, don’t worry if you don’t have the exact size – if your tin is a bit bigger than just reduce the cooking time slightly (and opposite if it’s a bit bigger) :).

      I should task you with reminding me in case I forget to post a pic each month! The months seem to fly by so darn fast that I hope I won’t forget!

  9. says

    I’m so glad that you are going to post a photo a month so that we can enjoy watching William grow. His expression is just like on your gravator photo…amazing. Love your choice for a Christmas cake. It sounds perfect for the holiday which will be extra special this year.

  10. says

    Your baby is so super cute!! Tastier than the cake lol. I’m in Stockholm now and I went to Herman’s restaurant the other day which was very nice. Lots of lovely cake here and ginger cake like yours. Sadly I don’t like ginger so I’ve not tried any. I think we need a photo a week of the baby 😉

  11. says

    William looks lovely. A look of determination on his face, a glint in his blue/gray eyes and a bit of a smile as he crawls forward. :)

    Great looking cake and the flavours, bar the lemon icing, are similar to those in my gingersnap/spice cookies.

    • says

      Thanks A_ – I should make the most of this time… in no time he’ll be running amok and pulling things off shelves and generally wrecking the joint 😀

  12. says

    I think I can smell your gingerbread cake baking all the way here in Hong Kong. It makes the season merry and sweet smelling. I think once you little guy starts crawling you are always going to have hand prints in your cakes before you have a chance to get those photo shots. Enjoy these moments they grow so fast. Take care, BAM

    • says

      Hi Bam, I made a brine this evening for some roast beef using the same spices and while I was boiling it I could smell the wonderful spices all over the house! So good – I can’t wait for Christmas :)

  13. says

    What a glorious spice cake…the icing dripped so perfectly, too!!! And Eva is brilliant…I’m so glad we’ll have monthly photo updates…I love the determination in William’s eyes. He’ll be on the move soon!!!

    • says

      Thank you Liz – on the move, yes indeedy – pulling stuff off shelves and generally wrecking the apartment, haha – I should appreciate these “calm” moments while I can 😀

    • says

      Thank you Jenny – the ginger flavour isn’t too strong in this cake, as it’s mixed in with the cinnamon and cloves, so as long as you don’t mind eating a little then I do recommend this cake :)

  14. says

    Just like the falukorv stroganoff I haven’t tried this one either. I seem to be missing out on a lot. Have tried the hard ginger biscuit which is absolutely delicious. I presume this one is up there.

    • says

      Hi 3C – Yes, I love the hard ginger cookie version of this cake… they seem so light and thin all the time that it’s nigh impossible to not eat entire boxes full of them, haha! I’ll tell you what I’ve never done, and that’s make a gingerbread house, but it always seems to wasteful… I hate to waste food and no-one ever seems to eat them… they just go soft and then get thrown away :(

  15. says

    Hi, your baby so cute and adorable. Gingerbread cake look delicious, the texture look very moist. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Have a great weekend.

    • says

      Thank you Amelia – it is a very soft, moist cake, and it has a wonderfully “Christmassy” smell and flavour :). Thanks for stopping by today!

  16. says

    The cake looks gorgeous and very “Christmasy” with ginger and spices. It reminds me a bit of the Guinness Gingerbread which is a huge hit among all of my friends and family. I love the way you took the photos showing the icing flowing down the cake…
    I must say your last year’s Christmas cake experience has lighted the food “geek” bulb in my head. It is too late this year (again!) but I will definitely prepare this miraculous cake next year.
    Congratulations for the weight loos! I don’t know how you have managed to lose anything with all the tempting fried fish, cakes or biscuits you prepare all the time…
    Sharing William’s photos is a great idea! He really looks cute (and still beautiful blue eyes!).

    • says

      Hi Sissi, thank you for your kind words – I couldn’t believe when I found the cake in my cupboard in August. At first I was like “what the hell is that thing?” and then I realised… “IT’S THE CHRISTMAS CAKE!”. Hahaha. I gave some to my friends who were visiting and it was still perfectly edible. Just goes to show how useful it is to slosh all that brandy in, so I hope you will give it a try next year. I will try to remember to remind you :D.

      It may sound strange but the cake and the fish and chips is all within my diet, lol. I follow Weight Watchers online – it’s the only kind of diet I ever had success with. I get a value of points per day, plus some weekly “bonus” points and I can eat whatever I want as long as I stay within the points. I can even earn more through exercise. Love the diet – so easy 😀

      • says

        I have heard a lot of good things about Weight Watchers. I always appreciate the diets which allow to eat practically everything, but some things in moderation.
        You would be delighted in Switzerland: one of the two big supermarket chains has lots of Weight Watchers labelled products with the number of points per serving or package or 100 g, such as yogurts, cheese, cold meats… and I have recently seen coconut milk 😉 (there are even two or three kinds of minced meat with WW points!).
        Good luck for the future weight loss!

        • says

          Hi Sissi – that sounds really good! They have some things here… mainly frozen meals (meh!) but if they putting point values on “proper” food too that must be really nice :)

  17. says

    Congratulations on the weight loss. I’m envious. This is a gorgeous cake and I am a huge fan of soft gingerbread. I’ve never had it with icing though – only with whipped cream. I’m going to try this. :)

    That baby is gorgous!

    • says

      Hi Maureen, thanks a lot! I think lemon icing with gingerbread is a really nice addition. It’s one of those perfect combos (like bread and butter!) – so I really recommend it :)

  18. says

    We used to buy this cake as a kid from a popular bakery in Calcutta called Flury’s. What great memories..! I never tried gingerbread at home, but since I love them so much I think this will be my next “must try” food!

    • says

      Thanks Neel – I really recommend it. It goes really well with the frosting too, although is equally delicious on its own. I’m going to make hard gingerbread cookies soon for Christmas… yummy! :)

  19. says

    Hi Charles, what a lovely post! Photo of William definitely makes it! Cake is nice too, don’t get me wrong. :) Can you do two photos a month? I am sure you have loads of it on your new camera… :)
    This post with another swedish recipe makes me miss my home so-so much. Although I am not from there, I lived only one hour flight from Stockholm, and spent many weekends there, so I consider this city almost my home, especially place where I had only good time :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Marina! Two pics a month, haha – I’m sure people would get bored! I don’t want to be one of those people who spams the world with their kid pictures, but maybe I’ll slip another one in every now and again, just for you :).

      I should like to go back to Stockholm for another trip some day, but I’ve already got an idea about the place we will visit for a little vacation next April. I’m keeping that under my hat for now though!

  20. says

    I love the idea of a picture (at least one) a month! This one looks like he smells that cake cooking and is headed to the kitchen to get some! Bet your house smelled great while this beauty was cooking!

  21. says

    oh the little guy! Boy does time go by fast. mine is almost 1 and your little man is wanting to crawl already- I swear you just showed us a pic of him at birth:) This cake looks perfect! I always enjoy the taste of ginger in my cookies and baked goods during hte holidays- why not go all out and do a ginger cake! I think I will!

    • says

      Hi KB – I can’t believe how big he’s gotten already. I feel like it’ll be no time at all before he’s running around pulling things off the shelves, haha 😀

  22. says

    I love the idea of a soft gingerbread – our family has never been over the top with the crispy/crunchy snap deal for some reason. This cake looks utterly moist and delicious Charles but you know… it’s your son who’s stealing the show in my eyes!! ;0). Hey, also looking forward to that rather gorgeous looking *heesecak* I caught on FB :).

    • says

      Hi Kelly – I find the gingerbread biscuits unbelievably addictive, I must admit… I think it’s because they’re so light. Like eating air, haha. This cake at least has more body to it, so you have a good chunk and actually feel satisfied afterwards. I’m looking forward to my Christmas with this tasty treat!

      Glad you like the photo, and stay tuned for the “heescak” 😉

  23. says

    Beautiful photo of William, you captured that determined look well. Now that he is on his way to the crawling stage, you will not need to worry about weight, quite the opposite, he is going to keep you hopping and you will need some rich cakes just to maintain weight.

  24. says

    What a beautiful gingerbread cake! The frosting is perfectly dripping on the side that makes even more appetizing. The picture of William is so precious. I miss those stage…and not the countless diaper changes and lack of sleep (wait, I still lack of sleep!). :)

    • says

      Hi Nami, thanks so much – I hope you had a wonderful trip to Taiwan! Diaper changes – sheesh, sometimes it’s “overwhelming” if I think of the number of diapers I’m going to be changing between now and when he’s potty-trained… and then maybe we’ll have another baby one day and it’ll start all over! Aiiiiieee!

  25. says

    OOOoo! Look at Charles Junior! So darling! :)
    Haven’t come across gingerbread cakes before… I think definitely a good change from the typical gb cookies! :) Looks great, and loving the lemon icing (me and lemon in desserts… don’t get me started!) 😉

  26. says

    Oh no I defently don’t know or had the chance to taste this swedish cake. It looks so light and perfect, I didn’t know charles that you are such a talented baker. =D

    The small fella is already so big, he looks like as if he is 1 year old! O.O Must be your cooking 😉

  27. says

    Charles this cake looks amazing….think I”ll try one to add to my Christmas repertoire but what I really want is to eat that baby up – he’s Ahhhh dorable. What a handsome little guy…must take after his Daddy. Merry Christmas!

  28. Lisa says

    Congrats on your weight loss success! This gingerbread cake looks too pretty to eat. I love the smell of baked gingerbread anything. Little William is adorable, looks like he’s keeping u busy!


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