Gingerbread layer cake with lemon buttercream

Isn’t it wonderful what cake can do? This cake can turn any day into an absolute Winter Wonderland. Whether you’re absolutely miserable, stuck indoors due to snow or sleet, with barely any sunlit hours in the day, or like me, you’re only barely coping with ridiculously hot and muggy weather here in sunny Australia, this cake can make your day 100 times better.

Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream

No matter the weather or mood you’re in, this beautiful Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Buttercream will whisk you away to some Narnia-like realm where the snow falls in beautiful crystalline flakes, and the air is cool and crisp and the sky is bright. It’s cool, but somehow not too cold, and the woods are frosted white and beautiful. A slice of this cake and a steaming cup of hot coffee or chocolate truly will lift your spirits, no matter what kind of extreme weather you’re dealing with.

Recipe and photos by contributor Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream

The cake itself is inspired by German Lebkuchen, scented with plenty of honey, gorgeous golden syrup, and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and a Scandi twist of cardamom. The buttercream is spiked with lemon juice and zest and is the perfect creamy but sharp foil to the tender, moist ginger cake. And it’s incredibly easy to make too; butter, honey, and syrup simply get melted together in a saucepan, and the remaining ingredients are simply whisked in one by one.

There really is something about this cake that’s perfect for this time of year. At the end of a festive meal, this cake is simple enough to be un-stressful to make, but it’s so simply show-stopping and beautiful that it feels celebratory. Otherwise, this cake is perfect to make and just sit on a stand in the kitchen waiting for the next person to come and slice a wedge off for a snack. I know that a four-layer cake isn’t exactly the usual snacking material, but this isn’t exactly a usual time of year is it? During the holidays, anything goes.

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Makes 1 x 7inch Layer Cake


  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
  • 1/3 cup runny honey
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the lemon buttercream:
  • 2 sticks butter, very soft
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Optional: sprigs of lemon thyme

Grease and line two 7 inch cake pans, and preheat the oven to 340F. Place the butter, golden syrup, and honey into a large saucepan (one that will fit all the ingredients later) and set aside to cool briefly. When the mixture is slightly cool, stir in the sugar, eggs, and milk and whisk to combine. Sift in the remaining cake ingredients and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Divide between the two pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and springing back when touched. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy – about 3-5 minutes. Add in the lemon zest and juice and beat again until well combined.

To assemble the cake, trim the layers if they’re domed, and slice each into two equal layers. On a serving dish, place the first layer, and top with one quarter of the frosting. Spread the frosting just to the edge, top with the second layer of cake, and continue until all the layers and frosting are used. Decorate with sprigs of lemon thyme, if desired, and serve.

Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream



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