1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
8 oz full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl or dish, whisk the molasses and hot water together.
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 1 minute until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the hot water/molasses, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Avoid overmixing. Batter will be thin. Whisk out any big lumps.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for around 35 minutes or until the cake is baked through. All ovens are different and your cake could take a little more or less time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean with only a couple moist (not wet) crumbs, it is done. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. The cake must be completely cool before frosting.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until creamy and no lumps remain- about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds then increase to high speed until everything is completely combined and the frosting is creamy. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Spread on top of cake. Spread around the sides if you have extra frosting.
Slice, serve, enjoy! Leftover frosted cake keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better after a day or two