Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze

Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze

You'll love this Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze with warm spices topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
A serving of gingerbread with a vintage fork.

You’ll love this Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze recipe. If you’ve only had gingerbread cookies, you’ll be delighted with this moist, light, and cakey old-fashioned gingerbread scented with warm spices and topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze.

The only good thing about cold weather at this time of the year is that it puts everyone in the Christmas spirit. All our tastiest cold weather recipes start making appearances. Soups, chilis, and stews. Hot cocoa. Mulled wine. And spicy, warm, fragrant Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze.

A serving of gingerbread with a vintage fork.

If you’ve never had the classic pairing of gingerbread with lemon glaze, you’ll be pleasantly pleased with this delicious combination. The glaze is just a light kiss of citrus on top of the warm, spicy gingerbread. It’s a flavor profile you never knew you were missing until you have it.

The fragrance of gingerbread baking is just delightful as the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger fill the house with holiday cheer. The spices used in gingerbread are truly ancient.

There have been volumes written about gingerbread’s origins and most experts feel sure it originated in the middle east. I think, considering the spices involved, that conclusion makes sense. It’s known to have been made in ancient Greece and Egypt, making its appearance in Europe in the 11th century when the Crusaders brought over new spices, including the very exotic ginger.

My gingerbread recipe is probably most similar to British gingerbreads. It’s moist, cakey, and very pungent from the molasses. The spices give it a warm feel in the mouth and the lemon glaze adds just the right amount of tart sweetness.

❤ Why We Love This Recipe


  • SEASONAL – Gingerbread is a holiday staple with warm, winter spices.
  • UNIQUE It has a unique and distinct flavor profile.
  • EASY! It’s easy to make and the lemon glaze puts it over the top!

🥘 About the Ingredients


Labeled photo of the recipe ingredients.
  • All of the ingredients in this recipe are standard pantry ingredients with the possible exception of molasses (also called black treacle). If you don’t have molasses on hand, you’ll need to pick up some as it is essential to the flavor of gingerbread. Just can’t make it without molasses.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking dish or pan with cooking spray or grease it well with butter.

Mix the Batter

Step 1. In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy.

Step 2. Gradually add the sugar, beating well.

Step 3. Add the molasses and egg and beat until well combined.

Step 4. In a separate bowl, Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

Step 5. Add the flour and spice mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Batter poured into baking dish.
Step 6.

Step 6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or dish.

Bake the Gingerbread

Baked gingerbread in baking dish.
Step 7.

Step 7. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Make the Lemon Glaze

Step 8. While the gingerbread cools slightly, make the glaze. Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has melted and the glaze is warm.

Step 9. Slowly pour over the top of the warm gingerbread.

👉 PRO TIP: Using a thin skewer or toothpick to make holes all over the gingerbread before pouring the glaze over will allow some of the glaze to run down into the gingerbread.

A serving of gingerbread on a spatula.

Step 10. Serve immediately.

❗ Recipe Tips


If you prefer, you can offer the glaze on the side rather than pouring it over the gingerbread. Or offer a choice of lemon glaze or a dollop of whipped cream.

🍚 Storage and Make Ahead Information


Gingerbread may be made up to 5 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. It should keep for about a week.

Finished gingerbread in a white baking dish.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions


What kind of molasses should I use?

For this recipe, I recommend unsulfured molasses (such as Grandma’s Original). This is the least refined type of molasses.

Can I make gingerbread man cookies with this recipe?

This recipe is for a soft, old-fashioned gingerbread cake, not to be confused with gingerbread cookies.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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📖 Recipe

A serving of gingerbread with a vintage fork.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze

You'll love this Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze with warm spices topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze.
5 from 4 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 399kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the Gingerbread:

  • cup butter softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Cooking Spray

For the Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the Gingerbread:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the margarine or butter at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add molasses and egg and beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Pour batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then pour Warm Lemon Glaze over gingerbread.
  • Serve immediately.

For the Lemon Glaze:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until warm.

Notes

  • If you prefer, you can offer the lemon glaze on the side rather than pouring it over the gingerbread. 
  • Gingerbread may be made up to 5 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. It should keep for about a week.
  • This recipe is for a soft, old-fashioned gingerbread cake, not to be confused with gingerbread cookies.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 592mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on December 6, 2010. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

A serving of old fashioned gingerbread with lemon glaze on a serving plate.

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Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this for the first time today, actually doubling the recipe since about a dozen people are due tonight for small group. I didn’t double the molasses: just did 1.5 ratio, and it is plenty! The glaze is fabulous and I added grated crystallized ginger in the saucepan with the other ingredients. My whole house, even my hands, smell like Autumn Goodness! I will have whipped cream available if people want to add that. Tips: I used a 9×13 pan, doubled the recipe (except for the molasses) and baked it 22 minutes at 350 degrees. Any more time in my oven and it would’ve turned out dry. Thank you, Lana, for this fabulous recipe!

  2. No idea how the recipe was removed, but I’ve put it back into the post now. You’ll find it at the bottom. Sorry about that!

  3. I LOVE gingerbread (obviously haha!) and yours looks amazing! The idea of poking holes in the cake and then pouring the glaze over is such a great idea! I bet it’s so flavorful. I would have a hard time not eating the whole cake! :)

  4. Your Gingerbread looks wonderful.

    I made Gingerbread boy and girl cookies a couple weeks ago with my grandkids the weekend of Thanksgiving. Not so much to eat but to transform into Christmas Tree Ornaments. So, I looked for a cookie recipe that was pretty firm and stiff. It made great ornaments – but not so hot when it comes to eating – but that was on purpose.

  5. Yum, Gingerbread! Mama served it with whipped cream and bananas. I am delighted to find your marvelous blog. I know/knew many of your Miller County relatives. We live at the old Campbell Homeplace, about two miles from the Taylor Homeplace just across the county line.

    1. Thank you, Robyn. It was good while it lasted. Might have to make some more when the grandbabies come for Christmas.

  6. I found your blog searching for a recipe my grandmother makes, and I am so happy I found it. Can I come over for dinner? I promise to bring something yummy. don’t you just love people who invite themselves over? Ha ha
    Love your style of cooking and your photos are gorgeous!

  7. I was going to comment on the green polka-dot dish, too. It certainly brightens up the table. Thank you for the recipe.

  8. Ahhhh….I love gingerbread but have never made it from scratch. I know hard to believe isn’t it!

    Darling green polka-dotted baking dish! Love it!

  9. This looks so yummy! I remember my mom making lemon sauce to go over the gingerbread when I was little. I loved it!

    1. Thanks, Shelby! I think gingerbread brings back long ago memories for lots of people. It wasn’t something we grew up with in our household but I always think of it around this time of year.

  10. wow Lana – another great recipe! my father-in-law loves, loves, loves gingerbread but i bet he’d be over-the-moon with the addition of that lemon glaze!

    1. I love that sweet-tart lemon along with the spices in the gingerbread. And this simple glaze is easy, easy, easy.

  11. Wow, that looks great. I am saving this one and will try it with some apples/applesauce added it. I love apple gingerbread. :-)

    Thanks again.

    janet