Reddit’s “World’s Best Gingerbread” Is Over 100 Years Old — And Still the Best for Holiday Baking

updated Dec 3, 2021
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Credit: Patty Catalano

If a nursery rhyme is the first thing that comes to mind when gingerbread is mentioned, it might surprise you that the molasses and spice confection can be more than just a cut-out cookie. It can be cake, too! Reddit user happieKampr recently posted photos of a triple batch of what they have deemed the “World’s Best Gingerbread,” along with a recipe for the Soft Ginger Cake from the 1917 version of The White House Cookbook.

The Redditor claimed that their family has been making this cake since their great grandmother first received the cookbook, and everyone who tries it loves it. Naturally, I had to see for myself. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How to Make Reddit’s “World’s Best Gingerbread”

You’ll start by creaming butter (I used salted, as there was no salt listed separately in the ingredient list) and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add molasses, buttermilk, dried ginger, and ground cinnamon and mix until incorporated. The mixture may appear curdled, but the batter will come together as mixing continues. Beat in the eggs one at a time (the original poster beats in whole eggs rather than separating them as the recipe instructs). Whisk together all-purpose flour and baking soda in a separate bowl, then add to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Transfer the batter to a greased 9×13-inch baking pan and bake until the center springs back when pressed lightly.

My Honest Review of Reddit’s “World’s Best Gingerbread”

It’s a sure sign of the holidays when a perfume of warm spices wafts from the oven, and this retro recipe from the r/Old_Recipes subreddit was the perfect way to kick off my holiday baking. The cake is tender, soft, and not too sweet. The simple buttermilk cake lasts for days on the counter (and is ideal for freezing), thanks to the sticky molasses and brown sugar.

The original poster u/happieKampr mentioned a few recipe updates to the original White House Cookbook recipe, most notably increasing the amount of spices threefold! I trusted them and did the same, and was not disappointed. Despite the quantity of dried spices, the molasses still stands out, while the ginger and cinnamon play a more subtle and supporting role. If you’re looking for a warmly spiced molasses cake that’s easy to bake and makes enough to share, The White House Cookbook‘s “Soft Ginger Cake” is the only recipe you need.

Credit: Patty Catalano

If You’re Making Reddit’s “World’s Best Gingerbread,” a Few Tips

  1. Read the comments, or simply follow the modern write-up recipe that user /Twizzyu added to the comments. This recipe contains the tweaks that the original poster has added (and that I used as well), plus it is in a more familiar structure than the original cookbook photo.
  2. Use fresh spices. This is not the place to use up dusty old spices. This soft ginger cake is packed with sticky, strongly flavored molasses, and if you want the dried ginger and cinnamon to stand out, make sure to use fresh bottles.
  3. Slice and freeze. The original poster shared photos from a big baking day where a triple batch of this cake was made. Follow the OP’s lead and make extra, then cut into slices and freeze for future snacking and last-minute desserts.

Have you tried the Reddit’s “World’s Best Gingerbread”? Tell us about your favorite ginger cake in the comments.