Leveling the tops of the cakes helps them to stack neatly and makes a smooth surface for frosting. For easier trimming, refrigerate the cooled cake layers for about an hour before slicing off the tops with a long serrated knife.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

  • Combine boiling water and baking soda in a medium bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into a large bowl.

  • Beat butter with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in molasses, grated ginger, baking soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in eggs.

  • Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of each comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans set on wire racks for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and let cool completely.

  • Trim top of each cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer 1 cake to a platter. Spread 1 1/4 cups frosting over the top. Top with another cake. Spread 1 1/4 cups frosting over the top. Top with remaining cake. Spread a generous 1/2 cup frosting in a thin layer over top and sides of cake to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake using a mini offset spatula to make small swoops on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cook's Notes

Cake layers can be refrigerated, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Frosted cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Reviews (2)

53 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 17
  • 4 star values: 18
  • 3 star values: 14
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
This was a real showstopper at Christmas dinner! As noted by another reviewer, the flavor contrast of the ginger cake and the mascarpone frosting was perfect. The outside edges of the cake layers were about 1 inch higher than the middle, but the resulting trimmed layers worked fine. Adapted the cake-top scene by using wood (birch) cut in flat tree shapes (from Michael's), painted five 2-inch wood angels I had on hand, stuck a 1.5-inch gold star wire ornament on a bamboo skewer, and lit two 4-inch red candles.
Rating: 5 stars
I made this for a Christmas birthday & it was VERY popular. The creamy mascarpone frosting compliments the spicy cake perfectly and it's not too sweet. The cake is dense and has a bit of a bite due to the 1 tbsp ground ginger & 1.5 tbsp fresh ginger root (but we loved it). Thanks for the great recipe!