Last updated on December 14th, 2021.

Billie’s Gingerbread Cake is a symphony of sweet and spicy with a dash of peppercorn and it is soaked with bourbon syrup and sprinkled with orange-glazed.

Gingerbread Cake

Hi friends and welcome back to the Baker’s Book Club, and boy am I excited about this one. This book was the first “Baking Novel” I ever read and to be truthful it’s not really about baking. This one is all about food.

Delicious! By Ruth Reichl

Gingerbread Cake

Imagine you left your loving family and a thriving baking business in California to presume your dream job in NYC at the most iconic food magazine only to be the last member standing after the sudden shut down of the publication. Well, that’s what happened to Billie.

Billie Breslin traveled far from her home to take a job at the iconic magazine in New-York Delicious!.

When the publication suddenly shuts down, Billie is offered a new job: to stay behind and uphold the magazine hotlines for complaints and recipe inquires.

The book carries the readers to the colorful food world of downtown New-York as Billie juggles a part-time job in a lively food shop in little Italy and her time in the Magazine’s library where she discovers corresponding letters of a 12 years old who wrote to the legendary Chef Beard during World War II.

If you are a food lover and you own a yearly subscription to about every food magazine this one is for you!.

Firstly, the book gives a sneak pick of behind the scene of food magazines. But for the most part, the book is nothing but a beautiful homage to the glory of food and the power it has of bringing people together.

Gingerbread Cake

Now, Let’s Talk About This Gingerbread Cake

Like I mentioned before, this book is not really about baking, but this Gingerbread cake is the star of the show. Since childhood, the cake was a source of both comfort and passion for Billie and her first introduction to the world of baking and food.

Unlike a traditional Gingerbread cake that is molasses-based, this cake uses none. Even more so, the cake calls for freshly grated ginger, fresh orange zest, and different spices including peppercorn.

I love how the unexpected ingredients come together in perfect harmony and together create a delicious, tender, and warm cake.

Gingerbread Cake

What Ingredients Are In This Gingerbread Cake:

Billie's Gingerbread Cake
  • Fresh Ginger, yes the cake calls for freshly grated ginger, and I do not recommend using ground ginger instead.
  • Fresh Orange Zest
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Ground peppercorn
  • Clove
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • AP Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Eggs
  • Egg yolk
  • Sour cream

Making the cake:

Firstly, we need to prepare the ingredients, starting by grating the ginger (I used 2 large pieces of ginger) and orange zest. Next sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices, and mix the eggs, egg yolk, and sour cream together.

The book recipe calls for grinding 1 peppercorn, 1 whole clove, 1 whole cardamom and 1 cinnamon stick, then measuring 1/4 tsp of each. I used store bought spices but you can decide which way to go.

Now we will mix the cake, starting by beating the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then add the ginger and orange zest. The last step is to add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream mixture (starting and ending with the flour mixture). Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake.

Pans To Use:

Even though the recipe calls for 6 cups bundt pan, I baked this cake using a regular sized bundt pan. (but the cake is no so tall.) Also, you can use loaf pan and mini bundt pas but please make sure not to fill the cavities/pan over 3/4 full.

Soaking and Glazing the cake:

Below is a recipe for a bourbon soak and an orange glaze. You can follow the bowl instruction and also soak the cake with simple orange syrup. (bring to a boil, 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup orange juice.)

Gingerbread Cake

Storing the Cake:

At room temperature covered for up to 3 days.


Also, one more thing…

Don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram if you bake this recipe. Would love to see your creations!

Here are some more cookie recipes you might enjoy:

Lastly, did you like this recipe and find it inspiring? Save THIS PIN to your Baking or Cake boards.

Gingerbread Cake

Billie’s Gingerbread Cake

Sweet and spicy gingerbread cake soaked in rum syrup

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword gingerbread, gingerbread cake, Ruth Reichl
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 6″ bundt pan
Author Ruth Reichl



  • 1/4 tsp Ground Peppercorn
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Clove
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 Cups AP Flour (240 g / 8 oz)
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Stick Unsalted butter, soft (170 g / 6 oz)
  • 1 Cup Sugar (200 g / 7 oz)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Large Yolk
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Ginger root grated
  • 2 tsp zest of 2-3 oranges


  • 1/2 Cup Bourbon
  • 1 1/2 TBS Sugar


  • 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (80 g / 3 oz)
  • 5 tsp Orange juice



  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 6" bundt pan or 12 mini bundt pans.

  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

  3. Mix the sour cream, eggs, and egg yolk, set aside.

  4. In a bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  5. Add the grated ginger and orange zest to the butter mixture and beat until combined.

  6. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream mixture in three additions starting and ending with the flour mixture.

  7. Scoop the batter into the greased pan(s) (if using mini pans, make sure not to fill it over 3/4) and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool while you make the soak.


  1. Bring the bourbon and sugar to simmer and let simmer for 4 minutes.

  2. Brush the syrup on the cake and give few minutes to soak in.

  3. Remove the cake from the oven and brush the remaining of the syrup.


  1. Once the cake has completely cooled, mix the sugar and orange juice until smooth and use a spoon to drizzle on the cake.

Dee Signature
Spread the love

6 Comments on " Billie’s Gingerbread Cake "

  1. Dikla

    I checked another recipe because I wasn’t sure if you meant 1 1/2 T of sugar for the soak (your recipe says 1 1.2) and I noticed that recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Did you leave this out of your recipe for a reason?

    1. Dikla

      The 1/2 TBS was a typo and yes the recipe does call for baking soda, thank you for pointing this out.

  2. Dikla

    Hello Dee, I am wondering when using the 12” Bundt pans how much time these little cakes will take to bake?
    Love your recipes!

    Thank you,

    1. Dikla

      Thank you Diane, the little cakes take about 20-25 minutes. Time varies from oven to oven, best way to know if they are done is by inserting a toothpick at the center of the cake, if it comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs it is ready.

  3. Dikla

    Do you think this recipe would work as baked donuts?

    1. Dikla

      Yes, that should be fine. I would do a bake test one full 1/2 and one full 3/4.

Leave me your lovely thoughts

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.