Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell
Hands-on Time
45 Mins
Total Time
9 Hours 5 Mins
10 to 12 servings

Lynn's cake blew us away. "It tastes like all the wonderful flavors that come tumbling from a stocking: milk chocolate Santas, gingerbread men, and buttery toffee candy," said one starry-eyed staffer.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare Ginger Whipped Cream as directed in Step 1 of recipe (through chilling).

Step 2

Microwave chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.

Step 3

Beat brown sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Step 4

Sift together flour and next 5 ingredients. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir together hot water and next 2 ingredients. (Mixture will foam.) Gradually stir molasses mixture and vanilla into chocolate mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.

Step 5

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Step 6

Meanwhile, prepare Silky Ganache. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with half of ganache; sprinkle with 1/2 cup toffee bits. Top with second cake layer; spread with remaining ganache, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toffee bits. Top with remaining cake layer. Cover and chill 2 to 8 hours.

Step 7

Finish preparing Ginger Whipped Cream as directed in Step 2 of recipe. Spread top and sides of cake with whipped cream just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Chef's Notes

The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.

Ratings & Reviews

Cindy's Review

December 12, 2016
I made this cake this following the recipe exactly. The ganache ran out (with the toffee on top of it) and down the side when I put the 3rd layer on. The whipped cream frosting covered up the mess but . . . . When I make the cake again, I will chill the cake in between layers adding the layers to prevent this. Did anyone else have this problem?The cake tasted amazing and everyone raved about it!

harthad's Review

January 17, 2013
Made this cake for Christmas. It was a hit, but I really wish I had read the reviews that mention lining the cake pans with parchment paper! The cake is extremely sticky (and also so delicious that you could just eat it plain). One modification: I added unflavored gelatin to the whipped cream frosting to keep it from separating. If I were to make the cake again, I think I would not use packaged toffee chips. I would buy some actual toffee and smash it up; the difference in flavor would be worth it.

Surfergirl42's Review

December 29, 2012

EmilyB456's Review

December 16, 2012
This is a moist, yummy cake. I never thought the flavors would go together, and when I told my in-laws this is what I was bringing for our Christmas dinner, their usual response was, "oh..." But it works! And well! This cake sticks like crazy to the bottom of the pan, so I'd definitely recommend lining pans with parchment paper so you don't end up having to make this recipe twice like I did. The ganache and toffee bits are delicious with the cake, and the ginger whipped cream is the perfect frosting. I made the cake a week ahead of time and froze it, then assembled it a day ahead and frosted it the day of the party, and that worked quite well. It would have been five stars if it wasn't such a pain to put together, and if it didn't stick so much! Flavor is five stars, though. And Southern Living, what is with all the separate pages for one recipe? I'd like the whipped cream and ganace recipes on THIS page, WITH the cake, thank you.

LeQuetta's Review

December 11, 2012
I made this cake last year and it was really tasteful, however i would like to try a different icing this year any suggestions?

ASimpleMother's Review

January 04, 2012
I made this cake for our Christmas Eve Celebration and it received great reviews. Although there are several steps to the cake, it is really easy to make. Instead of making the snowflake gingerbread cookies, I decorated gingersnaps, the cranberries and mint for decoration.

xpuhas's Review

January 01, 2012

bakedbyrachel's Review

December 27, 2011

Deb393's Review

December 24, 2011
This cake was so much fun to make. It does require reading all recipes thoroughly and planning ahead but for me, that's part of the fun! The result was a beautiful holiday cake that my family has requested for next year - and for birthdays, etc. I am glad I used the parchment paper. The whipped cream was delightful and the star of the cake. The next time I make this cake I will use less of the silky ganache and toffee bits because I want the gingerbread to be more prominent. I think I could get by with just half of the ganache recipe. Definitely worth the effort and worth five stars!

Honeebee2's Review

December 13, 2011
At first I thought, no way all of these flavors would work together. I do not mind admitting I was wrong. Fabulous! Wish I had lined the pans with parchment paper for easier removal, mine broke apart but was easy to put together while warm. Plus we got to scrape the pan for a pre-taste. The ginger whipped cream made it! The chocolate ganche with the toffee - oh my gosh! I made the cake Sunday night and kept it in the fridge. Monday night made the chocolate ganache and put the cake together, stored it in the fridge (made it easy to put the whipped cream on it). Made the ginger whipped cream and as directed chilled it over night. Frosted the cake this morning and my roommate took it to his office. They loved it, already demanding another cake. Thank you!