This gingerbread chocolate cake is a chocolately and warmly spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It’s topped with a thick orange chocolate ganache.
Chocolate gingerbread cake is a chocolatey twist on a classic holiday flavor. It’s a moist chocolate spice cake topped with a luscious chocolate orange ganache.
I wanted to make a holiday cake recipe that both chocolate fans and gingerbread fans will love! The cake combines hints of both flavors. Orange zest adds a fresh fruity flavor.
Why This Recipe Works
- This chocolate gingerbread cake is super chocolatey. It’s made with cocoa powder and chopped chocolate and chocolate ganache!
- Enjoy a slice for breakfast, an afternoon snack or dessert! For another chocolate cake with a twist, try my sweet potato chocolate cake.
- You probably have all or most of the ingredients you need.
- It’s warmly spiced and delicious!
- You’ll love the luscious 3 ingredient orange chocolate ganache on top!
Below are useful notes about some of the ingredients needed to make this chocolate gingerbread cake recipe.
- Molasses: Molasses is the syrupy byproduct of the sugar making process. It has a strikingly dark color and standout smell and taste.
- Cocoa powder: Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder. Check out my chocolate rice pudding for another cozy chocolate dessert!
- Cake flour: Cake flour gives this cake its soft, light texture.
- Orange zest: Orange adds a hint of fresh, fruity flavor to the batter and ganache. It’s delicious with chocolate and gingerbread. You’ll just need the zest of one medium orange. If you love this combination, you’ll love my chocolate orange cake and chocolate orange cookies.
- Sour cream: Sour cream adds extra moisture. Use full fat, room temperature sour cream.
- Milk: Use full fat, room temperature milk.
- Cocoa powder- Use unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: This cake uses chocolate in the batter and in the ganache. Use bars of semi-sweet chocolate from the baking aisle.
- Spices: The combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cardamom gives this cake its warm gingerbread flavor. For more spice filled treats, try my apple fritter bread and chai bars.
- Heavy cream: Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream for the chocolate ganache.
Please see recipe card below for full list of ingredients and their measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Swap in buttermilk for the whole milk and sour cream.
- Use all-purpose flour in place of cake flour. You can also make a DIY cake flour substitute at home.
- Chocolate chips can be used in place of chopped chocolate, but I recommend chopped chocolate if possible. It melts better than chocolate chips.
- Instead of ganache, top the cake with orange icing (recipe included in the notes section of the recipe). You can also enjoy it with a dusting of powdered sugar or without a topping!
Step 1: (See photo 1 above). Whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Step 2: (See photo 2 above). Mix the butter and sugars with an electric mixer til light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 3: (See photo 3 above). Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the molasses til incorporated.
Step 4: (See photo 4 above). Mix in the dry ingredients and milk and sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate.
Step 5: (See photo 5 above). Pour the batter into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan coated with baking spray and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for 52-60 minutes.
Step 6: (See photo 6 above). Enjoy as is or allow to cool then top with chocolate ganache, orange icing, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Instead of ganache, top this cake with orange icing. Just mix a cup of powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of orange juice. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake and enjoy.
Store the cooled cake it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for a few hours.
- Use a microplane to grate the orange part of the peel. Do not grate the white pith part of the peel.
- Be careful not to overmix the batter.
- Line the pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang of a few inches on two of the sides. This makes it easier to lift the cake out of the pan.
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Gingerbread Chocolate Cake
Gingerbread Chocolate Cake
- 1¾ cups cake flour substitute all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- 2½ tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
- 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream full fat, room temperature
- ⅓ cup unsulfured molasses not blackstrap
- 1½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon orange zest packed, optional
Gingerbread Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or coat with baking spray. Line it with parchment paper leaving an overhang on two sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir to combine the sour cream and milk. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars on medium speed til light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Mix in the molasses til incorporated.
- Alternatively add the dry ingredients and milk and sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Place the cake on a rack to cool in the pan for ten minutes and then remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool on the rack.
- Bring a medium saucepan with water to a simmer. Chop the chocolate and add it to a medium heat safe bowl with the cream and orange zest (if using). Set the bowl over the saucepan. Make sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Stir until chocolate has melted.
- Remove from heat and allow ganache to cool slightly at room temperature until ganache has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Pour/spread over the cooled cake.
Please note that nutritional values are created by an online calculator and should only be used as an estimate.