In a large bowl, sift or vigorously whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed, or in a bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add brown and white sugars and beat until smooth.
Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in molasses. Add egg and continue beating on low until combined.
Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir a few strokes by hand to ensure all flour is incorporated.
Turn out dough on to a floured surface and, using floured hands, form into a large smooth mound. Divide the mound into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper to 1/4 inch thick. Using gingerbread cookie cutters 3 to 5 inches tall, cut out cookies.
Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheets using an offset spatula. Repeat with remaining disks of dough. Gather all scraps, re-roll, and cut out additional cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with royal icing (recipe follows).