This classic old-fashioned gingerbread is a treasured old family recipe from my Great Grammie Alice. It's soft, moist and perfectly spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and molasses. This traditional gingerbread cake is absolutely delicious, plus quick and easy to make. Excellent for Christmas, Thanksgiving or any time of the year, you're going to fall in love with this recipe! ❤️
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
The history of this family recipe for Old fashioned Gingerbread
This recipe is so very special to me as it was my great-grandmother Alices' recipe! She would make this for my grandfather and his brothers and sister as kids, and it's been an old family favourite for so many years!
My grandmother Mary learned how to make this traditional gingerbread from my Great Grammie Alice so her husband (my grandfather) would have it just right. To me, this recipe represents love in the edible form… my grandmother loved my Papa so much that she learned precisely how to make all the recipes his mother made for him as a child. ❤️
I have vivid memories of my Grammie (who I called Mum) baking this gingerbread for my sister and me as kids in the old wood stove. It made the old house smell so amazing with its fragrant cinnamon and ginger.
Now, I make this recipe for the people I love. ❤️ I really hope you can feel the love in this recipe! As I said, this gingerbread is love in the edible form… seriously… once you make it, you'll understand why!
A note on Developing the gingerbread from the old family recipe book
It took a little time to make sure the recipe was just right since the old recipe book had instructions that were a bit different than what we're used to these days. One example is that the oven temperature was never specified for all of the old family recipes because they used a wood stove! It didn't have a temperature control dial as the wood controlled the heat and how intense the fire was! The actual instructions in the old recipe book were to bake the gingerbread in a “moderate oven”, which in modern terms is roughly 350°F! Isn't that a neat little fact?? ❤️
How to make Homemade Old Fashioned Gingerbread – Overview
At the bottom of the page, you'll find the complete instructions and recipe ingredients, but first, here's a little overview on how to make old-fashioned homemade gingerbread.
Making homemade gingerbread is very simple! Combine molasses, vegetable shortening and one egg. Next, in a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients; flour, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Mix the dry and wet ingredients, then add a bit of baking soda dissolved in some water and combine.
Pour the batter into a greased and parchment-lined 9″x9″ metal baking pan and bake in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream on top!
What is the difference between classic gingerbread and gingerbread cookies?
Like the traditional ones cut into shapes at Christmastime, Gingerbread cookies are dense and will likely have a snap to them when you break them. Gingerbread cake (as some call it) or traditional gingerbread is moist, fluffy, cut into squares, and often topped with whipped cream.
What molasses is best for gingerbread?
For this recipe, I used regular fancy molasses. For a richer and deeper flavour, you could try using blackstrap molasses, but the traditional kind my family always used was fancy molasses.
Other recipes from my Family Recipe Series you'll enjoy:
- Ginger Sparkle Cookies – another recipe from Great Grammie Alice
- Old Fashioned Chicken Soup (using a whole chicken) – inspired by my Grandmother Mary (aka Mum)
- Sage & Brown Butter Pork Chops – inspired by how my grammie made hers!
- Chocolate Pudding Pie/Cream Pie – inspired by my grammies recipe
- Lemon Meringue Pie – inspired by my grammies recipe
- 1 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted before measuring
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup water
- Optional but highly recommended: Whipped cream for topping 😋
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 9″x9″ metal baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine molasses, shortening and egg.
- In a separate bowl, using a whisk, combine flour, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine.
- Add the baking soda dissolved in water to the batter and combine.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and use a spoon to spread it evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- Allow the gingerbread to cool (while still in the pan) on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. Once it's cooled, remove it from the pan by lifting it out by the edges of the parchment paper. Cut evenly into 12 squares.
- Serve plain or with whipped cream on top. 😋
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking