Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream Sundae
I wrote this post as part of the Plugrá Butter Brigade. Thanks, Plugrá, for sponsoring the development of this Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream Sundae recipe and for making my favorite butter!

Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream Sundae

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, using gingerbread spice ratio from Averie Cooks
Yield: 4-6 servings

I’ve heard a million times that gingerbread and lemon is a perfect flavor combination, but I didn’t really believe it until I was eating a gingerbread slice at Starbucks one day and tasted the lemon note. REVELATION. I will never eat gingerbread without lemon again.

This gooey butter cake is my favorite thing I’ve made recently. The gingerbread flavor is Christmassy and delicious, and the pile of crisp, tart lemon ice cream is the perfect complement. Be sure to grab some really amazing lemon ice cream somewhere, because it definitely makes a difference.

Crust Ingredients:
1 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) Plugrá butter, softened

Filling Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) Plugrá butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup unsulphered light molasses
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
lemon ice cream (optional)
lemon zest (optional)

NOTE: If you don’t have a skillet, I believe you can bake this in a greased 9-inch square baking dish (I’d use a glass one if you have it, and check it early and often. Remove when there’s some jiggle left.) At least one reader has tried this and said it worked well!

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together cake flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet (this step is a lot harder than it sounds, but be patient and use the back of a spoon to help spread/press the mixture down. I also stuck mine in the fridge for a bit to make the butter less sticky).

Make the filling: Cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Mix in the egg until just combined. Alternate adding the flour and evaporated milk, mixing after each addition. Mix in the molasses, spices, salt, and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust and level it a bit with a spatula. No need to be too fussy.

Bake and assemble the cake: Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake is nearly set (mine was ready around 30). Some jiggle is fine — do not overcook! It’ll finish setting up as it cools. Let it cool in pan for 30 minutes or so before piling it high with lemon ice cream, sprinkling on lemon zest, and serving immediately! I like to eat it straight from the skillet, ’cause I’m classy.

29 Comments on Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream Sundae

  1. Stephy
    November 30, 2014 at 11:13 pm (10 years ago)

    Let me just say, in a non-creepy, non-romantic way that I love you! This sounds amaaaaaaZING!!!

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:59 am (10 years ago)

      LOL! Love you too, Stephy. Come on over for cake!

  2. Sarah
    November 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm (10 years ago)

    Wow – That looks amazing! I will definitely try it. I love reading this blog.

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:59 am (10 years ago)

      Aw, thanks, Sarah! Hope you love it!

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:59 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks, Katrina!

  3. Aimee @ ShugarySweets
    December 1, 2014 at 10:05 am (10 years ago)

    Oh my word, this cake sounds phenomenal. And topped with ice cream? Yes please! I hear ya on the gift giving, I had to chuckle when you said you change ideas 800+ times, LOL!!

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:58 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks, Aimee! 800 is a low estimate… 😉

  4. Cookin Canuck
    December 1, 2014 at 10:30 am (10 years ago)

    The best gift givers are definitely the ones who put thought into the gifts and choose something personal. It sounds as though your brother and sister-in-law have that down! This ice cream sundae is absolutely amazing. I mean…that cake!

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:57 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks, Dara!

  5. PattyK
    December 1, 2014 at 10:53 am (10 years ago)

    LOVE this blog…I just joined. This gingerbread sounds Delicious!! Could it be made in a springform pan?

    • Julie Ruble
      December 1, 2014 at 10:55 am (10 years ago)

      I think it could be made in a 10-inch springform, Patty! And maybe a 9-inch, but the bake time will be longer. I haven’t tried either of these, but I’m betting it would work. It probably won’t come out of the springform in one piece, though, so I don’t recommend taking off the ring!

      P.S. Thank you! So glad you’re here!

  6. Karen @ The Food Charlatan
    December 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm (10 years ago)

    We are gift giving twinsies, even down to the sharpie. The worst part? My husband (the DUDE) is super thoughtful and comes up with awesome stuff for me. LOVE this cake! Doesn’t get better than gooey gingerbread 🙂

  7. christina at christina's cucina
    December 1, 2014 at 2:12 pm (10 years ago)

    I LOVE Plugra butter! I was so sad when TJs stopped selling it! 🙁 Your cake looks and sounds wonderful, and I think cake as a present is at the top of anyone’s list! Go for it! I am! 🙂

  8. Amy | Club Narwhal
    December 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm (10 years ago)

    Girl, I would take this cake as a gift any day of the year! What a gorgeous, gorgeous thing this is! I fall somewhere in between on the gift giving spectrum–if I know a person really well, I can usually muster something that is equal parts thoughtful and silly but if I don’t, I always reach for a gift card 🙂 You are not alone!

  9. Heather || Heather's Dish
    December 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm (10 years ago)

    Girl, you can gift me this cake any time – I don’t think it could get any better!

  10. Sarah @ SnixyKitchen
    December 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm (10 years ago)

    Bahaha – I love this! My husband tells me I’m the stellar gift giver in the family and I think that’s because I collect gifts and ideas all year long in a spreadsheet so I can remember that one time you didn’t have X and really wanted it. I probably spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME agonizing over it though, so maybe I’d just be better off giving a gift card! I do ENJOY receiving gift cards, so I’d say you’re a stellar gift giver too. Also, if you baked the gift card into this cake, I’d say you’re the best.

  11. Kim - Liv Life
    December 1, 2014 at 4:07 pm (10 years ago)

    Your photos are beautiful! And the flavors you’ve got going on in this recipe are fabulous. Gingerbread anything is a hit in my book. Love!

  12. Kristen
    December 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm (10 years ago)

    I grew up with gingerbread and lemon sauce, so I can vouch for the pairing; they are truly a match made in heaven. I love the rustic look of baking this dessert in a cast iron skillet. It may be an oxymoron, but everything is cozier in cast iron.

  13. fabiola@notjustbaked
    December 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm (10 years ago)

    WOW, this is so pretty! I love it so very much, and cast iron baked anything, love.

  14. Jenny Flake
    December 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, best dessert!! Totally making this 🙂

  15. Juliana
    December 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm (10 years ago)

    I really think you should post about photography tips or just about how you photograph, the lighting, stuff you use. If you haven’t already. I follow your blog for like 2 years now (never commented, shame on me) and your photos have improved a lot, and now I think they are the prettiest that can be found on food blogs around. Congrats <3 🙂

  16. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
    December 4, 2014 at 9:56 am (10 years ago)

    I need to try lemon and gingerbread. Because of things like this!! OMG fabulous. And I do that too – spend all the time looking for the perfect gift…and then just get a gift card. 🙂

  17. Jennica Nielsen
    August 6, 2022 at 12:30 am (2 years ago)

    Tried and true. One of my favorite recipes. Always requested around birthdays!

    • Julie Ruble
      August 6, 2022 at 2:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Yay, I’m so glad you all enjoyed it!


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