Chocolate Gingerbread Snacking Cake With Whipped Sour Cream

December 12, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes 1 8x8-square cake
Author Notes

This ultra chocolate-y, spiced and––dare I say––moist (in a good way) ginger-forward cake could not be easier to assemble and more delightful to share (or not) all winter long. The spices are warming, and yet the chocolate flavor, pronounced; which is a little unusual and frankly, wildly delicious. You 100% can add a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, along with the oil and sugars, but the cake honestly doesn’t need it—I promise. The molasses here not only makes for a moist cake, but also marries beautifully with chocolate (if you’ve never popped some chopped chocolate into your go-to chewy ginger cookie dough around the holidays, you need to get on that, stat).

The sour cream whipped cream is not only one of the more genius things I’ve created recently, but is beyond perfect with the cake. The creamy, cool tanginess of it truly takes this cake over the top. Moreover the addition of sour cream in the whipped cream adds exceptional flavor to the whole package, and stabilizes the cream as well. So if the cake is not finished the day you make it—which I won’t lie, would be pretty weird—you can nibble on cream-topped slices for the next few days, without fear of finding a runny, weeping whipped cream in your fridge. Moreover, if you want to plan ahead (and if you do, I love you for that, seeing as I am a plan-ahead-er from way back) and make the cake and cream a day or so ahead of when you want to serve it, this sour cream whipped cream will not disappoint. And the cake is even better on day two, so there’s that, too. I mean truly with this easy cake and cream combo, what’s not to love?
Jessie Sheehan

What You'll Need
  • Cake
  • 1/2 cup (113g) hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup (42g) Dutch process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup (99g) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (107g) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (170g) unsulphured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • a rounded ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • Sour Cream Whipped Cream (yields 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (114g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup (227g) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (38g) confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment that goes up and over two opposite sides of the pan.
  2. To make the cake, whisk the hot water, cocoa and espresso powders in a large mixing bowl until combined. Whisk in the oil, the two sugars, and the molasses. Whisk in the vanilla, egg and yolk, one at a time, until combined. Whisk in the baking powder, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and white pepper one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Sift in the flour, folding with a flexible spatula, just until the last streak of flour disappears. Be careful not to overmix.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 38 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the surface of the cake looks set and dry but a cake tester comes out looking slightly wet. Don’t wait until the tester only holds dry crumbs or the cake might be overbaked. Let cool until you can lift the cake out of the pan by the parchment overhang without burning yourself. If the cake resists, run a butter knife around the two edges not covered in paper.
  4. Make the whipped cream. Your goal is soft peaks and you can achieve this by whisking all of the ingredients by hand in a large bowl, or with a hand mixer, or you can place all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Serve slices warm or at room temp with dollops of sour cream whipped cream. The cake will keep for 3 days on the counter tightly covered; and the whipped cream, too, will last for 3 days tightly covered in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
  • Jeanette
  • RRH
  • Jessie
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

9 Reviews

Jeanette February 15, 2024
There was a slight bitterness the first day--which I can see being off putting for some folks. The second day all bitterness was gone and the flavors had all fully melded. It had a lovely texture and was quite easy to make.
Jessie S. February 16, 2024
happy to hear it is better on day two!
RRH December 21, 2023
Such complex and sophisticated flavors from such a simple cake! And it really does taste even better the next day. The sour cream topping is delicious and a perfect counterpoint to the chocolate and molasses. I kind of want to put it on everything :)
Jessie S. December 22, 2023
yay! so glad you liked and yes: the sour cream topping is to die for, right?
Jessie December 20, 2023
I loved this cake! I like that there is so much more going on than just sweetness. The flavors are dark and bewitching.
Jessie S. December 20, 2023
yay! love hearing this and love how you describe its flavors.
Vida January 11, 2023
We were disappointed by this one. Texture is great. The problem is the flavours -- the ginger and chocolate compete with each other they don't compliment each other but instead clash. And the molasses further clashes with slightly bitter notes. We are a family who loves gingerbread and molasses, so we thought this would be a great dessert, but we aren't fans of this one. The whipped sour cream cuts the bitterness a little, and it mellows slightly after day one, but it's still not worth making again in our opinion.
Jessie S. January 11, 2023
So sorry that you did not like.
Jessie S. December 20, 2023
sorry you were disappointed.