Classic Old-fashioned Gingerbread cake that is vegan, oil-free, whole grain and out of this world delicious, moist and full of amazing flavor from cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and molasses.
I’m so happy to have this post up for this Vegan Gingerbread Cake! I was editing my video last night and was sooo sleepy. Next thing I know, I woke up with my head laying flat on the desk, no lie. I literally fell asleep while typing, haha. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. Is that not hilarious or what? But, CAKE is here, so it’s all good.
Meet one of my all-time favorite cakes. I’m a huge spice cake lover and my favorite is gingerbread. The smells and depth of flavor….I can’t get enough. I originally started testing this cake recipe last holiday season. But I never got around to making it exactly perfect or posting in time last year, so here we are. Better late than never, right?
This is my favorite gingerbread cake to date. I used to make one back in the day that was filled with eggs, oil and sugar. Not only is this one healthier by a mile, it is better. That is how unbelievably delicious this cake is.
I admit I’m super picky when it comes to gingerbread cake. I need all the classic gingerbread spices found in old-fashioned gingerbread cake and especially, cloves! Cloves provide that extra deep flavor that specifically make gingerbread taste like that undeniable gingerbread. Classic gingerbread should be slightly dense, without being heavy, but spongy, fluffy soft and incredibly moist. They are notorious for their amazing, moist texture. This is due to the molasses and typically butter/oil content. If you look at classic gingerbread cakes, they always have that perfect flat, moist top. Once I finally nailed the recipe, it was pure glory. And the texture, my friends…I came up with the most perfect flour blend ever for this cake. The texture and crumb of this cake is amazing. It’s firm, slices beautifully, doesn’t fall apart and is perfectly soft.
Classic gingerbread cake is topped with simple powdered sugar or whipped cream. This is so a frosting doesn’t compete with the flavor awesomeness happening underneath.
I created my own Gingerbread Spice to use all season and it is divine in this cake. Not too spicy, but just enough to feel it in your throat and that touch of nutmeg and cloves in every bite. You will literally taste each spice as you are eating a slice.
The biggest surprise of all is that this cake is low-fat! My intention was not in any way to create a low-fat cake, it was just by accident, lol. Through my many trials, it was this blend of ingredients that was magic. There are NO nuts, coconut, oil or butter. All the moisture comes from 2 very important ingredients…applesauce and molasses. Without these, your cake will be dry as a bone. They are both magical in flavor and texture. I know some gingerbread cakes have a ton of molasses in them but I’m not a fan. This cake has the perfect amount for me.
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN GINGERBREAD CAKE?
First, you need to gather the gingerbread cake ingredients::
- spelt flour
- brown rice flour
- baking soda
- Gingerbread spice blend (see below)
- pure maple syrup
- unsweetened applesauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 square pan (I used almuminum) with parchment paper strips going in each direction,
To a large bowl, add the spelt, rice flour, cornstarch, baking soda, spices and salt and whisk very well.
To the same bowl, add the syrup, applesauce, molasses and hot water. Whisk gently in large circles until everything is combined and smooth, making sure to get the flour at the bottom, but DO NOT over-mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top and evenly to the corners. Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes or when a toothpick is completely clean.
Cool the cake completely in the pan before slicing.
This cake is dedicated to my friend Natalie over at Feasting on Fruit because she really loves *moist* cakes! 😉
Vegan Gingerbread Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (192g) spelt flour (*SEE NOTES AT VERY BOTTOM FOR SUBS!*)
- 1/4 cup (40g) brown rice flour
- 2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoons gingerbread spice I used my blend OR see Notes at the bottom of this recipe
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (240g) pure maple syrup, room temp
- 1 cup (240g) unsweetened applesauce, room temp
- 1/4 cup (80g) unsulphured molasses (do not use blackstrap or sub!)
- 2 tablespoons (30g) HOT water
You will need a whisk for this cake to ensure a perfectly smooth batter. A spoon will not incorporate the batter well and will affect the texture. Please know that this cake I tested around 10 times to get it just right, so I cannot stress enough the importance of following the recipe and weighing your ingredients for accuracy. I cannot vouch for results if you sub flours or liquids. The molasses and applesauce are magical for flavor and moisture here and cannot be subbed or the cake will not be moist.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line an 8x8 square pan (I used almuminum) with parchment paper strips going in each direction, cut to fit and with overhang (not bunched in the corners). If you want to make muffins, use 14 parchment liners.
- To a large bowl, add the spelt, rice flour, cornstarch, baking soda, spices and salt and whisk very well.
- Make sure none of your liquids are cold before proceeding, otherwise your batter will not be smooth or mix well. To the same bowl, add the syrup, applesauce, molasses and hot water. Whisk gently in large circles until everything is combined and smooth, making sure to get the flour at the bottom, but DO NOT over-mix. As soon as it's smooth, stop mixing. Over-mixing the batter can make the cake dense and the center SINK. Now, taste that batter and tell me it's not out of this world!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top and evenly to the corners. Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes or when a toothpick is completely clean. Each trial mine was exactly perfect at 25 minutes on the dot. If making muffins, divide the batter between 14 liners, this will yield the perfect size. Bake the muffins closer to 20-22 minutes, being careful not to over-bake.
- Cool the cake completely in the pan for a minimum of 1 hour, no exception. This allows the cake to completely cook through. There is a lot of applesauce and moisture in this cake, so you don't want to cut too soon or it will be wet. Once ready to serve, lift the cake out with the parchment flaps. Use a very sharp knife to cut carefully into slices. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. The cake is so moist that you don't want to do the sugar until right before serving or else it just melts into the cake.
I recommend making my Gingerbread Spice Mix for this cake since I tailor made it for it. You can also keep the blend on hand for making this cake often, pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. Or you can use a store-bought blend, just make sure it is one containing cloves! If you don't want to make my whole blend, then for this recipe, you can just add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (use 1/4 tsp for a milder flavor), 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
To make this with regular white all-purpose flour, sub the spelt and brown rice flours with 1 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour and weigh if possible for best results. You will need 224 grams of the all-purpose flour. Please note that the texture will slightly be more chewy (less soft/tender) because of the higher gluten content than spelt and brown rice flours, but will still be a delicious cake. Be careful to not over-mix the batter. You will reduce the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon (this is your egg). The spelt/rice flour really is the most perfect texture, so getting that would be ideal but the white flour does work well.
To make this gluten-free, sub the spelt flour for superfine GF oat flour (I tested with Bob's Red Mill) and it will be the same weight amount (192g). Since oat flour cakes tend to be more dense, you will decrease the applesauce by 2 tablespoons. All the rest of the ingredients remain the same. Please note that the oat flour version is not as light/fluffy and is more dense, so is ONLY recommended if gluten-free is required. It is still delicious, just not as perfect of a texture as the spelt version.
Nutrition per slice: 115 calories, .4g fat, 1.9g protein, 27.3g carbs, 1.9g fiber, 13.3g sugar, 237mg sodium