Ginger Brown Sugar Cake

This ginger brown sugar cake doesn’t seem like a showstopper at first glance, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. When I first took a bite of this cake, I was stunned by the super-soft crumb and the cozy-spicy flavors. The texture is velvety and melts in your mouth, thanks to the oil-based formula. The ginger gives it a warmth that is perfect for winter, but with enough freshness and zing that it works in any season.

Customize It

Another beautiful thing about this ginger brown sugar cake is how it can be left simple, dressed up, or customized for any season. When you’re looking for something simple, you could easily eat this cake on its own (straight out of the pan, no shame, I’ve done it), dust it with powdered sugar, or drizzle it with maple syrup. For a fancier presentation, you could also top the cake with whipped cream or buttercream and a handful of fruit. Ginger and brown sugar pair really nicely with the standard autumn fruits (apples, pears, persimmon, etc), but summer fruits like peaches and berries would also be incredible.

To highlight how truly customizable this ginger brown sugar cake is, I’m going to lay out some suggestions for different seasons and levels of complexity. Check it out!

WinterMake a single layer cake (1x batch). Lay a doily or stencil over the top. Dust with powdered sugar for a snowflake effect.Make a 2-3 layer cake (2-3x batch). Sandwich with cream cheese frosting and pear compote. Top with more frosting and poached pear slices.
SpringMake a single layer cake (1x batch). Top with a swoop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream, a drizzle of honey, and some roasted apricotsMake a 2-3 layer cake (2-3x batch). Sandwich with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
SummerMake a single layer cake (1x batch). Serve slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.Make a 2-3 layer cake (2-3x batch). Frost with honey cinnamon buttercream and roasted peaches. Serve with fresh peaches.
FallMake a single layer cake (1x batch). Top with a drizzle of maple syrup or caramel sauce.Make a 2-3 layer cake (2-3x batch). Frost with cinnamon buttercream and decorate with thinly sliced persimmons.

The inspiration

  • Fresh baby ginger I found at Union Square Greenmarket on a NYC trip and carried back to Denver in my backpack
  • My continued obsession with one-bowl cakes, brought on by Yossy Arefi and her amazing cookbook, Snacking Cakes

The Quick Look

ComponentsSource/Adapted From
1Ginger Brown Sugar CakeYossy Arefi

Ginger Brown Sugar Cake

A one-bowl cake with a velvety-soft crumb, flavored with brown sugar and fresh ginger. Cozy, caramelly, and slightly spicy!


  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 110 grams neutral oil, like canola
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 240 grams sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 grams almond flour
  • 160 grams all purpose flour


  • Line an 8×8 square pan or 8" round pan with parchment paper
  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine 200 grams brown sugar, 110 grams oil, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger. Whisk to combine, and then whisk for another full minute to aerate the mixture.
  • Add 240 grams sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk to combine.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 60 grams almond flour, and 160 grams all purpose flour to the bowl and whisk until all of the dry mix has disappeared and there are no lumps.
  • Pour the batter into the lined pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top springs back slightly when you press it lightly.
  • Let cool fully in pan before removing the cake.
square ginger brown sugar cake

2 thoughts on “Ginger Brown Sugar Cake”

    • I’ve got a bunch of frosting recommendations listed in the table in the post – cream cheese frosting, honey buttercream, or brown butter buttercream would all be delicious with persimmons. I sliced them and laid them on plain, but you could also drizzle them with honey or poach them very lightly!

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