A festive, heavily spiced, deeply dark, slightly sticky & delicious Vegan Gingerbread Cake, smothered in rivers of orange glaze!
Get your festive pants on because Vegan Gingerbread Cake is happening! We're talking a gorgeous, buttery, heavily spiced, deeply dark, slightly sticky and delicious cake with inappropriately huge rivers of orange frosting drizzle.
It's 100% as warming, fragrant and festive as a good vegan gingerbread cake should be. The sweet, subtle citrus hit from the glaze is such an amazing contrast to the spicy warmth of the gingerbread and works so well.
Here's the rundown on what's going on in this vegan bundt cake recipe and why:
- All-purpose flour – It's sturdy and works really well, giving the perfect dense but not too dense texture. I don’t recommend switching it for any other flour.
- Baking powder – Adds lift and airy fluffiness
- Baking Soda – The combination of baking soda and molasses creates a chemical reaction and makes bubbles and fizz. It is used as a replacement for the leavening usually provided by eggs and helps the cake rise well and become fluffier.
- Vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper & salt – Flavour, flavour, flavour! This is a very richly flavoured and festive cake. The black pepper might seem odd but it adds a lovely spicy, subtle heat. Don't skip it!
- Dark Brown Sugar – The kind that's dark and slightly sticky/clumpy in the bag. Important for moisture, depth of flavour and colour.
- Molasses - Absolutely essential in gingerbread. Go for dark molasses, usually labelled "unsulphured", sometimes labelled "robust". Blackstrap molasses is ok too. Do not reduce the amount. It is a lot but it is necessary for flavour, structure and moistness. I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses.
- Vegan Butter- Adds flavour and moisture. I highly recommend you don't use anything else instead. Oil gives nowhere near as good a result. However, if you need to make the cake oil-free, natural, no additive almond or cashew butter will provide an ok, but slightly heavier result.
- Apple Sauce - We are packing the moisture into this cake. Good gingerbread cake should be moist and slightly sticky. This helps keep it that way for days and days after it's baked.
- Hot Water - Important for moisture and for dissolving the thick molasses
It might seem like there is a lot of moisture in here all of the wet ingredients guarantee a super moist bundt cake.
How To Make Vegan Gingerbread Cake
Here's how to make the cake:
- Grease the pan absolutely thoroughly. It's important to be very generous because this is a sticky cake. Be especially careful to get in all the nooks and crannies if using a bundt pan.
- Mix the molasses with boiling water. Stir until it is completely dissolved. Add the vanilla too.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk them up.
- Add the butter and sugar to another bowl (or a stand mixer) and beat them really well together until light and fluffy. It needs a good 5 minutes. Then add the apple sauce and beat again.
- Add the wet and the dry ingredients to the butter mixture gradually, alternating between the two and beating between additions until just combined. Don't over-mix.
- Spoon into the bundt pan and bake.
- And the important thing, when it's done, leave it in the pan until it's completely cool. This is really important!
- Once it's cool, remove it from the pan, make the frosting and glaze the cake. See my tips for how to glaze neatly below.
For decoration, you can't beat some fresh cranberries and fresh rosemary sprigs. They look so festive!
Although I don't recommend changing a lot, because baking is a science and the smallest thing can affect the outcome of the cake, this cake would be really good with additions such as candied ginger or chocolate chips. It's also really good made plain with no frosting then served with vegan custard or frosted with vegan cream cheese frosting.
For different pan sizes see the FAQs.
Tips For Storing
This cake stays perfectly moist for days and days. We have enjoyed it up to a week after it was baked. Just be sure to keep it well wrapped or in an airtight container. The flavour just keeps getting better and better! It's best to store it at room temperature as it can dry out in the fridge. We want it to stay soft and moist.
To freeze let the Vegan Gingerbread Cake cool completely in the pan, then remove and wrap very well. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight and then glaze or dust with powdered sugar before serving.
The batter will fit into:
a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (see the FAQ below for details)
1 (9 x 13 inch) pan
2 (9 inch) round cake pans
1 (9 inch) tube pan
1 (10 inch) spring form pan
Obviously, the baking times will change for all of these and I haven't been able to test the recipe in all of them to tell you exactly but:
In a 9 x 13 inch pan, start checking after 30 mins
In 2 x 9 inch cake pans start checking after about 23 mins
In a 9 inch tube pan start checking after about 35 - 40 mins
In a 10 inch spring form start checking after about 60 minutes
To check, use the toothpick test. Stick it into the centre and when you pull it out, if cooked, you should just see some moist crumbs sticking to it. If you poke the top gently with your finger it should bounce back and the cake should be just starting to come away from the sides of the pan.
I have tested this cake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. You will need to reduce the ingredients as listed below. Follow exactly the same directions as for a bundt cake but first grease the pan then line it with baking parchment and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until it's coming away from the edges of the pan slightly and a skewer/toothpick inserted come sout mostly clean but with some sticky crumbs on.
½ a cup and 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (160 mls boiling water)
⅔ cup and 1 tablespoons (175ml) unsulphured molasses
1¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ½ tablespoons (80 g) vegan butter
⅓ cup (67 g) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of unsweetened applesauce
2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour (plain flour in the UK)
¾ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda in the UK)
1 and a heaping ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
1 and a heaping ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
1 and a heaping ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
2 - 4 tablespoons orange juice
When we alternate the dry and liquid ingredients, in 3 or 4 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, stirring just a little after each addition, but only until just combined, we reduce the chances of over-mixing and curdling.
This eggless Gingerbread Cake is a great make-ahead cake because it actually gets better with time. Those gorgeous spices continue to work their magic way after it comes out of the oven. It stays perfectly moist even 5 or 6 days after baking.
For best flavour and texture I recommend using vegan butter, but this cake can be made oil-free by using cashew or almond butter as the fat instead of butter. Use the same volume of drippy nut butter as butter. The cake will be denser but that's not necessarily a bad thing with a ginger cake. You will still need to grease the pan very well though.
More Cake Recipes
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Vegan Gingerbread CakeAuthor:
- 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
- 1 cup (240 ml) unsulphured molasses , dark molasses, sometimes labelled "unsulphured" or "robust". Use black treacle in the UK
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 grams) vegan butter , plus a little more for greasing the pan
- ½ cup (100 grams) dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsweetened applesauce , (in the UK cook a couple of apples down with 2 tbsp water until soft then blend to make applesauce)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all purpose flour , (plain flour in the UK)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda , (bicarbonate of soda in the UK)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ heaping teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the glaze
- 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
- about 5 - 8 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Optional decorative items
- fresh cranberries
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- Adjust an oven shelf to the lower third of the oven, then preheat to 350 °F (175 °C). Grease a 9 to 10 inch Bundt Pan with plenty of vegan butter. (see recipe notes for other pan options)
- Put the boiling water in a jug or small bowl, and add the molasses. Stir really well until it has dissolved completely in the water. Add the vanilla to it, stir quickly again, then set aside.
- Beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. It needs at least 5 minutes of beating. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed. Then add the applesauce and beat again to combine.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Give them a quick whisk to combine them.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three or four additions alternating with the hot water/molasses and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Avoid over-mixing. Try to start with the dry ingredients and end with the dry. If doing it by hand, do the same and mix in between additions.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and get it straight into the oven without hanging around. Bake for about 47 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with just a few sticky crumbs on it but no obviously wet batter and the cake is just starting to come away slightly from the sides and bounces back when pressed gently with a finger. This is a large cake and oven times will vary so don't be alarmed if it's not ready at 47-50 minutes. Just keep checking every 5 minutes or so.
- It is very important to let the cake cool completely in the tin. Do not remove it until it has cooled. Once the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and place on a serving plate or cake stand.
- Make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Add the orange juice very gradually 1 tablespoon at a time to the powdered sugar, giving it a really good stir between each addition. You won't need much orange juice at all. Way less than you think you will when you start. Suddenly it will all dissolve and become a lovely thick, just pourable glaze. You need it to be as thick as possible, while still being just pourable. It should be so thick that it pours slowly. If you accidentally add a little too much orange juice, just add a little more powdered sugar to thicken it up again.
- Pour the glaze over the cake.
- Once the frosting has firmed up a little (it only takes a few minutes) you can decorate the cake.