Try this Colonial Williamsburg ginger cakes recipe! Ginger cakes – or gingerbread cookies, compliments of The Tasting Table and adopted from Raleigh Tavern Bakery, are a Williamsburg tradition. Besides being wonderfully fragrant – enough to make your house smell great for days – they were also young Thomas Jefferson’s favorite cookie.

According to the official Colonial Williamsburg website, traditional ginger cakes should be a “cross between a ginger snap and a soft cookie.”


2½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
½ cup molasses
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and spices.

3. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until well incorporated.

4. In a small saucepan, warm the molasses and cream over low heat so that they blend together, stirring often. Add the molasses and cream mixture to the butter mixture and mix into a dough.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut into the desired shape and place on the baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, until firm on the edges and slightly soft in the centers.

6. Let cool slightly, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Yield: Twenty 2-inch cookies.

Colonial Williamsburg ginger cakes recipe reprint from Tasting Table.

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