Make your holiday table stand out with this easy recipe for a gingerbread cake roll. This cake roll is a wonderful dessert to serve during the Christmas season!
Why you'll love this recipe
Make ahead: You can make a gingerbread cake roll 3-5 days in advance, making it the perfect option for Christmas dinner and holiday festivities.
Festive Flavors: Gingerbread in general captures the warm and cozy flavors of the holiday season. The combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and molasses creates a rich and aromatic taste that is synonymous with festive celebrations. Whether it's this gingerbread cake or gingerbread cookies, they'll make your house all that much cozier!
Easy but impressive: Much like my pumpkin cake roll, when sliced, the spiral pattern of the cake roll reveals an intricate design that looks impressive on a dessert table. It's a show-stopping treat that adds a touch of elegance to holiday gatherings.
Tip: for another flavorful recipe full of holiday spices, try my carrot cake cookies.
We'll be using the standard cake ingredients like flour, sugar and baking soda. Below you can see why we're using the other ingredients and what they bring to the party.
- Molasses - Molasses is a crucial component of gingerbread flavor. It adds sweetness, moisture, and a rich, caramel-like depth to the baked goods. You can use leftover molasses in my grandma's old fashioned gingersnap cookies.
- Honey - Honey is used for its sweetness, of course!
- Spices - Hey there, Spice Girls of the 90's!! We're using ground ginger for its signature zing and heat to gingerbread. Think of Ginger Spice as a key ingredient adding warmth and depth to the flavor.
Cinnamon adds a sweet and slightly spiced element to the mix. It contributes to the overall warmth and richness of gingerbread. I'm going with Posh Spice on this one.
Nutmeg has a sweet and nutty flavor that complements the other spices. Let's roll with Baby Spice on this, because no one wants a scary spice, you know?
- Eggnog is added to a classic cream cheese frosting to make this gingerbread roll cake a little more festive.
For the honey - use the same amount of maple syrup.
Eggnog can be omitted. You can use some whole milk or heavy cream in its place.
How to make a gingerbread cake roll
Step #1: In a large bowl, use a mixer or whisk to beat the egg yolks until thickened. Add the molasses, honey and butter and mix well to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
Fold the molasses mixture into the egg whites.
Step #2: Next, sift together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
Add the flour mixture on top of the wet ingredients and carefully fold in, taking care to keep the air you've incorporated.
Step #3: Spread the batter into a greased 11x15 jelly roll pan that has been lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 2-3 minutes.
Prepare a tea towel by heavily dusting it with powdered sugar. Gently invert the cake onto the towel, removing the parchment paper from what is now the top.
Carefully roll up the cake and allow to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make the eggnog icing.
The full instructions for the icing are in the recipe card.
When the gingerbread cake has cooled, carefully unroll it to flatten and gently peel off the towel.
Spread a thin layer of the eggnog filling over the cake, leaving room at the edges.
Tip: Make sure to spread the icing into the corners, otherwise they'll be done first and be "crispy".
Reserve a little frosting to drizzle over the top of the cake, if desired.
Step #5: Roll the gingerbread cake back up. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
Step #6: Sprinkle with cinnamon and and any remaining eggnog filling on the outside of the gingerbread roll before serving.
You can also top with an additional sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Makes 8 generous slices. For a prettier presentation, trim off any hardened edges before rolling.
Bourbon whipped cream, maple syrup whipped cream
Make it with regular cream cheese frosting and omit the egg nog icing.
Can gingerbread cake be frozen?
Yes, gingerbread cake rolls can be frozen, and doing so can be a convenient way to prepare this festive treat in advance!
To freeze the cake:
Allow the gingerbread cake roll to cool completely after baking. This is an important step so condensation doesn't form.
Once cooled, tightly wrap the gingerbread cake roll in several layers of plastic wrap. Make sure to seal it well to prevent freezer burn and maintain the moisture of the cake. Then wrap in aluminum foil as an extra barrier.
Clearly label the wrapped cake roll with the date it was made.
To serve the cake after freezing
When ready to enjoy the cake roll, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator. We want it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
Once thawed, you can serve the gingerbread cake roll chilled or bring it to room temperature before slicing and serving.
Note: the texture might not be exactly the same after freezing, but it will still taste wonderful.
Gingerbread Cake Roll
For the Gingerbread Cake Roll
- nonstick cooking spray
- 3 large eggs room temperature, yolks and whites separated
- 4 Tablespoons molasses
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For the eggnog icing
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-3 Tablespoons eggnog
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks on high until they have thickened and combined. Add the molasses, honey, and butter, mixing well.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.Slowly add in the sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form
- Fold the molasses mixture into the egg whites.
- Sift the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt, and baking soda into the wet ingredients.Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the batter, making sure to not loose all of the air that was whisked into the egg whites
- Grease a 11x15 jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 2-3 minutes.
- Prepare a tea towel by heavily dusting it with powdered sugar. Gently turn the cake out onto the towel, removing the parchment paper. Slowly roll up the cake (including the towel) and allow to cool completely
Make the eggnog icing
- Beat the butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar at medium speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy
- Add in the cream cheese and mix at high speed.
- Add in the vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, and eggnog, mix until combined.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar and combine.
- When the gingerbread cake has cooled, carefully unroll and peel off the towel. Spread a thin layer of the eggnog filling over the cake, leaving room at the edges
- Roll the gingerbread cake back up and use any remaining eggnog filling to ice the outside of the gingerbread roll
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours before serving