Recipe: Sourdough Gingerbread Cake

So this recipe is an adaptation of one I learned from my friend Lilla, who made it for us for a 2020 New Year’s Eve dinner. That was the same week that I gave her a blob of my sourdough starter and some instructions, and she’s been baking 2 loaves a week ever since. So it’s only fitting that I created a sourdough version of her cake. It’s intensely gingery, just the way a gingerbread cake should be.


Sourdough Gingerbread Cake

Makes one 9- by 13-inch cake to serve 10 to 12


  • As per usual, you can use sourdough of any vintage here.

1 cup (240g) boiling water

1 cup (340g) molasses, preferably blackstrap

2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cups (322g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground dried ginger

1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 cup (200g) light brown sugar

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 cup (about 240g) 100% hydration sourdough starter

  1. Place boiling water, molasses, fresh ginger, and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.

  2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray 13- by 9-inch baking pan and set aside.

  3. Place flour, baking powder, dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in second bowl and whisk to combine. In third bowl, stir brown sugar and butter together until uniform. Add egg, molasses mixture, and sourdough starter, and whisk to combine. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.

  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan, transfer to oven, and bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.