Christmas Gingerbread Cake

A moist and mild Christmas Gingerbread Cake which is easy to make and looks fabulous! Recipe with step-by-step photos.

christmas gingerbread cake on metal tray

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.
christmas gingerbread cake on wooden board

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 In fact, I think it might have been replaced by the very similar Nordic Ware Pine Forest Bundt Pan.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!).

christmas gingerbread cake with icing sugar

Gingerbread Cake

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!)

albert menes pain d'épices

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.

christmas gingerbread cake with gold measuring spoons

How to Make Gingerbread Cake

Step 1

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.

christmas bundt pan which has been buttered and floured

Step 2

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.

cake batter for gingerbread cake in white mixing bowl

Step 3

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.

bundt pan filled with gingerbread cake batter

Step 4

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.

gingerbread cake cooling on wire rack

Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake

For a chocolate version, please see my recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake.

chocolate gingerbread bundt cake
{Recipe for Chocolate Gingberbread Bundt Cake}

More Christmas Recipes

If you are looking for more Christmas recipes, you might also like:

Chocolate Pavlova with Chestnut Purée

Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Print

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

4.5 from 19 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • 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.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
  2. Generously grease a bundt cake pan with at least 2.25 litre (9 cup) capacity with vegetable oil or non-stick baking spray.
  3. Lightly flour the bundt cake pan and shake out the excess flour over the kitchen sink.
  4. 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.
  5. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt, and gingerbread spices into a bowl.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan.
  9. 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.
  10. Bake for  50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the thick part of the cake comes out clean.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar) before serving.

Kitchen Notes

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

OVEN TEMPERATURES
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.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 308
  • Sugar: 19.2g
  • Sodium: 29.3mg
  • Fat: 16.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.8g
  • Fiber: 0.8g
  • Protein: 4.6g
  • Cholesterol: 101.5mg

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird

Update

This recipe was first published on 17 December 2017. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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43 comments

  1. Iman Kobeissi 18 December 2017

    First of the all, this cake is gorgeous!! And sounds delish, perfect for holiday parties!

    Reply
  2. Brandi 18 December 2017

    This is so festive! Gingerbread is my fav. Love it!

    Reply
  3. Sandi 18 December 2017

    What an adorable bundt pan. I love the festive vibe!

    Reply
  4. Ginny 18 December 2017

    What a wonderful bundt pan. I would love to have that. Your cake sounds just like the kind I like too.

    Reply
  5. lisa 19 December 2017

    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!

    Reply
  6. Lorraine Parente 9 January 2018

    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?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 19 January 2018

      Hi Lorraine,
      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.

      Reply
  7. Julia 16 April 2018

    Mmm, this sounds so good!!! Its fantastic! One of my favs!

    Reply
  8. Kaz 28 November 2019

    Have just made this as a practice run for Xmas. Fabulous
    Would like to know if it would freeze

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 December 2019

      Hi Kaz,
      I don’t freeze my cakes, but I imagine that it should be fine to freeze this cake. Enjoy!

      Reply
  9. Anita 20 December 2019

    Do you think I could use a pumpkin pie spice mix instead of the gingerbread mix? It has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.

    Reply
  10. Mary 25 December 2020

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 25 December 2020

      Hi Mary,
      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.

      Reply
  11. Kylie 22 December 2021

    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!

    Reply
  12. Donna 4 December 2022

    Beautiful recipe and the cake looks stunning! I will make this again for Christmas brunch.

    Reply
  13. Jennifer 19 December 2022

    This cake is absolutely delicious! I found the Nordicware pan on eBay and couldn’t wait to try this recipe. I highly recommend it!

    Reply
  14. Megan Smallwood 22 December 2022

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 December 2022

      Hi Megan,

      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” 🙂

      Reply
  15. Stella 22 December 2022

    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?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 December 2022

      Hi Stella,
      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!

      Reply
  16. Léa 22 December 2022

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 December 2022

      Hi Léa,
      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 🙂

      Reply
  17. Georgia 23 December 2022

    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!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 December 2022

      Hi Georgia,
      Many thanks for your comment! So happy to hear that you and your family enjoy this recipe 🙂

      Reply
  18. Clara 23 December 2022

    We enjoyed this cake very much. At first, I thought there was not enough spice but the flavors really grow on you.

    Reply
  19. Marie-Rose 24 December 2022

    Lovely recipe

    Reply
  20. Seung 26 December 2022

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 27 December 2022

      Hi Seung,
      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.

      Reply
  21. Clara 26 December 2022

    Very nice cake, we enjoyed it very much.

    Reply
  22. Amelia 28 December 2022

    Very nice cake. I used a speculoos spice mix which worked quite well.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 28 December 2022

      Hi Amelia,
      That’s great to know that this recipe works well with speculoos spice mix! Thank you!

      Reply
  23. Linda 28 December 2022

    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!

    Reply
  24. Georgie 28 December 2022

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 28 December 2022

      Hi Georgie,
      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 🙂

      Reply
  25. Julia 28 December 2022

    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.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 28 December 2022

      Hi Julia,
      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!

      Reply
  26. Philippa 28 December 2022

    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?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 28 December 2022

      Hi Philippa,

      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!

      Reply
  27. Pam J 14 December 2023

    Although I do not own this Christmas tree pan……just yet (🤣), I do have a cute bunny pan that is in the same raised, round form. It’s super cute for Easter, and I had to giggle when you mentioned buying a pan that is only used once a year….because I did! Hahaha
    Because, well, just because I wanted it!
    Anyway, this recipe worked amazingly to create my adorable little bunnies. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 26 December 2023

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe, and that it also works for Easter bunnies! You are tempting me, ha ha!

      Reply