This recipe for ginger cream cake slices was shared with us by Jennifer Toley, back when she ran The Barmy Baker blog. It’s a favorite dessert from her grandma’s recipe box, which she lovingly called Gram Danning’s ginger cream slices, or simply ginger creams. The warm, spicy, sheet pan-style cake is infused with fresh and ground ginger, and topped with a sweet and creamy fondant icing.
Gram Danning’s Ginger Cream Cake Slices are a Timeless Favorite
Jennifer adapted the recipe ever-so-slightly from her grandma’s original version. She likes to add crystallized ginger for potent bites of sweet spice. We’ve also included more recipe options in the notes below.
What Other Pan Sizes Can I Use?
If your pan is 10×15-inch, that should also work fine. A half sheet pan is actually 18×13 inches, which is a little too big. You could alternatively pour about 2/3 of the batter into a 9×13-inch baking dish and pour the rest into a 9×5-inch loaf pan. The baking time might vary a little, but I would still start checking the cake at 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can do the half batch option below.
Can I Halve the Recipe or Make a Smaller Batch?
This recipe can easily be cut in half. Cut all ingredient amounts in half. If using the crystallized ginger, that would be 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons. In the icing that would be ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk alternative and a generous pinch of salt. The rest of the ingredients are straight forward, but let me know if you have any questions. Instead of a sheet pan, bake the batter in a 9×9-inch or 7×11-inch baking dish. Use the same oven temperature, but the cook time might vary a little. Check on the cake at 20 minutes to start.
Can I Bake this Recipe as a Ginger Cream Layer Cake?
In theory, that should work fine, but we haven’t tested it. I believe it would make 3 layers if baked in 8-inch round cake pans or 2 layers + some cupcakes if baked in 9-inch round cake pans.
Can I Make the Ginger Cream Cake Gluten Free?
We haven’t tested this recipe without gluten, so I can’t guarantee the results. But in theory, your favorite gluten-free flour blend should substitute fine for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. A good friend swears by King Arthur Measure for Measure in all of her gluten-free cake baking.
What Other Toppings Can I Use instead of Fondant?
The cake itself is quite flavorful, so you could simply top each serving with dairy-free whipped cream. Or you could whip up a classic dairy-free buttercream frosting or dairy-free cream cheese frosting. All of these sweet toppings complete this ginger cream cake.
What Can I Substitute for the Shortening?
Shortening really is the best choice for light and fluffy ginger cream cake slices. You can use a non-hydrogenated allergy-friendly type, like Spectrum Shortening. If you prefer to use a butter alternative, I would use buttery sticks. They tend to soften quickly, so I wouldn’t let them soften more than 5 or 10 minutes at room temperature before creaming with the sugar. While oil can technically be substituted, it can’t be creamed, so the cake won’t be as fluffy.
What Type of Molasses Should I Use?
For starters, look for unsulphured molasses. That narrows it down to a few types. For this recipe, a typical baking molasses, like Grandma’s Original or or Golden Barrel Supreme Baking Molasses is best. As much as I love blackstrap molasses, it’s a bit heavy for ginger cream cake slices. If you only use blackstrap molasses, I would choose a brand that’s lighter in taste, like Plantation.
Special Diet Notes: Ginger Cream Cake Slices
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the shortening, milk alternative, and butter alternative that suit your dietary needs.
For egg-free and vegan ginger cream cake slices, see our Egg Substitute Guide.
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (powder)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening (like Spectrum)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup minced crystallized ginger (optional)
- Dairy-Free Fondant Icing:
- 2 cup sugar
- 1¼ cups dairy-free milk alternative (unsweetened, plain, or vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon dairy-free butter alternative
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Line a 10×16-inch or 11x15-inch pan with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, grease and flour the pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the molasses and fresh ginger, and beat to combine.
- Measure the water into a glass measuring cup and stir in the baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with water-soda mixture to the creamed mixture, stirring after each addition.
- Fold in the crystallized ginger, if using.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. You can also use the toothpick test in the middle of the cake – it should come out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely.
- Add the sugar, milk alternative, and butter alternative to a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it reaches 232 to 235ºF (the soft ball stage).
- Let the mixture cool.
- Add the vanilla and salt, and beat until creamy and spreadable.
- Once the icing and cake are cool, frost the cake. Cut into slices to serve.