A moist and mild Christmas Gingerbread Cake which is easy to make and looks fabulous! Recipe with step-by-step photos.
Christmas Tree Bundt Pan
I had been holding off on buying a Christmas tree bundt pan for many years, especially after first seeing it on one of Nigella Lawson’s Christmas shows.
Why would you buy something which you could only use once a year? Well … why not?!
Why This Recipe Works
- This gingerbread cake recipe requires mostly pantry ingredients.
- It takes only about 15 minutes to prepare this cake!
- The bundt pan does all of the work to transform this cake into a stunning centrepiece.
Favourite Christmas Recipes
Something I love about Christmas is being able to revert to tried and true favourites which become part of the family’s food traditions at this time of the year.
Every Christmas, I love making my childrens’ favourite Gingerbread Sablé cookies, as well as many batches of Swiss Walnut Chrimas Cookies for the neighbours and Fruit Mince Pies for myself (no one in my family really likes them, which is more than fine by me!).
These are all recipes which are made once a year and which have become special in our home for this very reason, so I finally convinced myself of a bundt pan which might become part of our annual Christmas ritual.
Nordic Ware Bundt Pan
And what a beauty it is! Like any bundt pan, this Christmas tree bundt pan will make any plain cake look suddenly merry and festive.
The popular Nordic Ware Holiday Bundt Tree Pan (or Nordic Ware Christmas Tree Pan) is not always so easy to find online. In fact, I think it might have been replaced by the very similar Nordic Ware Pine Forest Bundt Pan. The former has trees of the same size, whereas the latter has different-sized trees.
But when a local Swiss company advertised a very similar cake tin in its catalogue, I promptly ordered one online (and at a fraction of the cost!).
To christen my new bundt pan, I made a simple gingerbread cake, knowing that plain cakes work best in fancy cake tins like this one.
I absolutely adore gingerbread spices and, if I could, I would use them throughout the year. There are many different types of gingerbread cakes which I love to eat, especially Nigella Lawson’s Gingerbread with Lemon Icing.
But the children often prefer something more familiar and this is a simple and moist cake with mild gingerbread spices.
They have been happily devouring a slice of this cake for their afternoon tea, and my son even helped himself to a large slice for breakfast the other day! (That was after eating his yoghurt and cereal, of course!)
Gingerbread Spice Mix
This gingerbread cake is even easier to make if you are able to get your hands on a ready-made gingerbread spice mix.
I found a nice gingerbread spice mix on a recent trip to France; it is commonly sold in most French supermarkets to make French gingerbread (or pain d’épices), so I figured that it would be a reliable blend.
But I imagine that most ready-made gingerbread spice mixes would work well in this recipe, particularly those intended for use in making German Lebkuchen and Speculoos cookies.
If you can’t find any ready-made gingerbread spices, my recipe below has a suggestion for making your own.
How to Make Gingerbread Cake
When using a bundt pan, even if it is non-stick, I like to grease it generously with a non-stick baking spray, followed by a light dusting of flour. Tap the pan over the kitchen sink to remove any excess flour.
For bundt pans which are extra-intricate, I like to give the pan a second coating of flour.
Make the batter by creaming together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to stop the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the milk and vanilla.
Continue beating until you have a thick and smooth batter.
Fill the bundt pan with the cake batter. Tap the pan on the kitchen counter a few times to allow the batter to settle into all of the grooves of the cake mould.
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the thick part of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the bundt pan, on a wire rack, for about 10 minutes. This is important to allow the cake to settle and to firm up slightly. Otherwise, if you attempt to unmould the cake too quickly, the cake will fall apart.
Carefully unmould the cake. I use my fingers to gently loosen the cake from the edges of pan, as well as from the centre funnel. Then place a wire rack on top of the bundt pan, invert the pan, and your cake should easily slide out onto the wire rack.
Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake
For a chocolate version, please see my recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake.
More Christmas Recipes
If you are looking for more Christmas recipes, you might also like:
Chocolate Pavlova with Chestnut PuréePrint
Christmas Gingerbread Cake
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6-12
- Category: Christmas
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: French
A moist and mild Christmas Gingerbread Cake which is easy to make and looks fabulous! Recipe with step-by-step photos.
- 275 g (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 280 g (1 1/4 cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 315 g (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 1/2 heaped teaspoons gingerbread spice mix (see Kitchen Notes below)
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75 ml (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) whole milk
- icing sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
- Generously grease a bundt cake pan with at least 2.25 litre (9 cup) capacity with vegetable oil or non-stick baking spray.
- Lightly flour the bundt cake pan and shake out the excess flour over the kitchen sink.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You can do this with a bowl and wooden spoon, but it is easiest and quickest with a handheld electric beater, or with a stand mixer and flat paddle attachment, on medium speed for about 5 minutes.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, salt, and gingerbread spices into a bowl.
- Add the eggs to the butter and sugar, one a time, followed by a tablespoon of the flour mixture to prevent the batter from curdling.
- Once all of the eggs have been incorporated into the batter, lightly mix through the remaining flour mixture, together with the vanilla extract and milk.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan.
- Give the bundt pan a few taps on the kitchen counter to make sure the batter has settled into all of the grooves of the cake tin.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the thick part of the cake comes out clean.
- Check the cake around 45 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, cover the cake with a loose sheet of foil for the remaining baking time.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin, on a wire rack, for about 10 minutes before carefully inverting the cake onto another wire rack to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar) before serving.
CAKE PAN SIZE
The cake pan I have used in the accompanying photos has a capacity of 2.25 litres/9 cups. If you are using the Nordic Ware Holiday Bundt Tree Pan or Nordic Ware Pine Forest Bundt Pan, they also have a 2.25 litre/9 cup capacity.
INGREDIENTS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
As for all cakes, make sure all of your ingredients, including the eggs and milk, are at room temperature before using.
GINGERBREAD SPICE MIX
I use a French gingerbread spice mix for pain d’épices which contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, and ginger. A German gingerbread spice mix for Lebkuchen, or even a Speculoos spice mix, would also work well in this recipe.
HOMEMADE GINGERBREAD SPICE MIX
If you can’t find any ready-made gingerbread spice mix, I would suggest using the following homemade gingerbread spice mix for this recipe:
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Calories: 308
- Sugar: 19.2g
- Sodium: 29.3mg
- Fat: 16.7g
- Carbohydrates: 35.8g
- Fiber: 0.8g
- Protein: 4.6g
- Cholesterol: 101.5mg
This recipe was first published on 17 December 2017. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.
First of the all, this cake is gorgeous!! And sounds delish, perfect for holiday parties!
This is so festive! Gingerbread is my fav. Love it!
What an adorable bundt pan. I love the festive vibe!
What a wonderful bundt pan. I would love to have that. Your cake sounds just like the kind I like too.
This is a beautiful bundt cake — so if I could turn out a special dessert for the holidays — I think I WOULD invest in it!
What is the bundt pan (in cups) that you are using? Also, can this cake be made in a loaf and if so what size?
I have noted in my recipe that my bundt pan has a capacity of 9 cups. If you wish to use this recipe in a loaf tin, you will have to adjust the baking time depending on the size of the loaf tin. Also, unless you are using a very long loaf tin, this recipe might require at least 2 regular loaf tins.
Mmm, this sounds so good!!! Its fantastic! One of my favs!
Have just made this as a practice run for Xmas. Fabulous
Would like to know if it would freeze
I don’t freeze my cakes, but I imagine that it should be fine to freeze this cake. Enjoy!
Do you think I could use a pumpkin pie spice mix instead of the gingerbread mix? It has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
I’m not sure why I have had a different result. My ingredients were fresh and I used large eggs but the batter baked cake did not fill in the bottom rim of the pan and the entire railroad track was missing. All that was left was a ring of floating trees that just looked odd. I was very dissatisfied since I know what it is supposed to look like. I’m not sure what went wrong. It’s Christmas morning and this is now the dessert I’m stuck with. I’m not pleased.
I’m so sorry to hear about your cake. My guess is that you maybe you did not cream the butter and sugar for long enough to create air in the batter, which would help the cake to rise and fill more of the cake pan during baking. Another guess is that maybe your baking powder has expired, or maybe all of your ingredients were not at room temperature?
But I can only make guesses as to why your cake did not rise to fill the pan. In baking, there are so many variables. But I hope you and your family can still enjoy this cake.
May I suggest decorating around the bottom of the cake, for example with chocolates or nuts?
I wish you and your family a happy Christmas.
We absolutely loved this cake! And it was so easy to make as well. I used a gingerbread spice from the supermarket and it worked really nicely. I would definitely make this again!
Beautiful recipe and the cake looks stunning! I will make this again for Christmas brunch.
This cake is absolutely delicious! I found the Nordicware pan on eBay and couldn’t wait to try this recipe. I highly recommend it!
I agree with a previous comment. This batter does not come close to filling the cake pan. I have made hundreds of Bundt cakes in my life, and this batter (based on mixing its individual ingredient amounts exactly as listed) is not large enough to fill a 9 cup cake pan.
Flavor is very nice, but amounts need to be proportionally increased to produce the required amount of batter to fill pan.
I also don’t understand the answer provided to another question where you state your cake pan holds 4 cups. The info provided with the recipe states it is designed for a 9 cup pan, which the Nordic pan is. If your recipe is for a 4 cup pan, no wonder it doesn’t fill our 9 cup pan. Discrepancy is confusing.
I’m sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you. As for the previous reader with a similar comment, I wonder if you didn’t cream the butter and sugar for long enough, which is necessary to create air in the batter to help it to rise during baking?
I make this recipe regularly at Christmas (sometimes several times in the lead up to Christmas) and it works every time for me. But ovens vary, ingredients vary …
I can confirm that this recipe is designed for a 9 cup pan. Although the above photos do not use the Nordic Ware pan, I have since bought this pan and the recipe works just as well in the Nordic Ware pan.
I will test the recipe later today with an increased quantity of the ingredients and report back.
UPDATE: I have just tested this recipe by increasing the quantities by 1/4. The cake still turns out beautifully 🙂 The batter fills the pan by an extra 2 cm (1 inch), and the cake does not overflow upon baking. The main difference was that there was more height on the cake, which is not a bad thing to have! Although my original recipe worked well for me, I am happy to update the recipe in case there are other readers like yourself who find that the cake does not fill the pan, and especially since the updated recipe works equally well. I will update my recipe above accordingly. Have a Merry Christmas!
Also, you can view my testing of this recipe today on my Instagram Stories Highlights under “Xmas Tree Cake” 🙂
This is a delicious cake. I had no problems with the cake batter filling the pan, although it did crack across the top. But as you serve the cake inverted anyway, this was not a problem. Do you think a glaze or frosting would work well with this cake? What type would you recommend?
Thank you for your feedback! I think a plain glaze or a lemon glaze would work well with this cake. Simply whisk together some icing sugar (powdered sugar) with some water or lemon juice until you have a thick but drizzling consistency, and then drizzle this over the cooled cake. Merry Christmas!
This is very nice recipe. I could find the same Pain d’Épice spice that you have used as I live in Paris 🙂 I would maybe suggest adding another 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of spice but it was still a very good cake.
Yes, you can definitely add more spice if that suits you. I would also add more, but my kids like the cake the way it is 🙂
I have made this cake the last two years and my family really enjoys it. I have not had any problems with the recipe before. I just made the cake now with what I believe are the new measurements and the cake still turns out beautifully, although it is a higher cake. Great results overall!
Many thanks for your comment! So happy to hear that you and your family enjoy this recipe 🙂
We enjoyed this cake very much. At first, I thought there was not enough spice but the flavors really grow on you.
I know exactly what you mean! 🙂
The cake got complete stuck. Despite brushing with lots of oil and dusting with flour twice. It’s the first time I used this forest pan.
Sorry to hear that your cake stuck to the pan. I always recommend using baking spray and dusting with flour. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you. Intricate bundt pans like the forest pan can be tricky, unfortunately.
Very nice cake, we enjoyed it very much.
That’s great to hear that you enjoyed the cake!
Very nice cake. I used a speculoos spice mix which worked quite well.
That’s great to know that this recipe works well with speculoos spice mix! Thank you!
Interesting comments above. I was hesitant to try this recipe for Christmas but finally made it today. It turned out very well! It is actually quite easy to make. I wonder if other people don’t bake with bundt pans regularly. My cake filled the pan and I was even worried that it would overflow. I will definitely make this cake again next Christmas!
I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe!
This cake is perfect for the holidays. I bought a packet of Pain d’Épice from the Christmas markets in Colmar a few years ago. It’s probably past its best by date by now! But it still smelt wonderful and it worked nicely in this cake. I used a regular bundt pan (a kugelhopf pan also from Colmar!) and it looked stunning.
So glad you enjoyed this recipe! And how wonderful you could use your goodies from Colmar for this recipe. Most ground spices lose their kick once they have passed their best-by-date, but they should still work fine 🙂
I tried your chocolate version of this cake and it was delicious. Do you think I could just use mixed spice in this recipe instead of a gingerbread spice mix? Unfortunately, I cannot find gingerbread spice mix or similar where I live.
Yes, of course. I think just mixed spice would also work well in this recipe, although it won’t be as “punchy” as a gingerbread spice mix. But if you scroll to the bottom of the recipe to my “Kitchen Notes”, I have given a recipe for a gingerbread spice mix which you can make yourself. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!
This cake tastes very nice. I would like to use this recipe in a mini bundt pan mould. How long should I bake them for?
The baking time will depend on the size of your mini bundt pans, and these can vary greatly. My tip would be to fill the moulds until about 2/3 full, and to bake for at least 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the oven with the light on inside. Without opening the oven door, keep checking after every 5 minutes or so to see how well they are rising and if they are becoming lightly golden on top. Once they are well risen, then it is safer to open the oven door to test them with a skewer in the thickest part of the cake.
The baking time will also vary depending on whether you are using metal moulds or silicone moulds.
You can see my recipe for Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes for some tips and ideas: https://eatlittlebird.com/mini-lemon-bundt-cake/
Please let me know how they turn out!