This gluten-free, grain-free, vegan gingerbread loaf is moist and flavorful with a soft, cake-like texture. It’s sweetened with blackstrap molasses and warmly spiced with ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This cake is the perfect nutritious addition to a Christmas dessert table, especially if you’re accommodating guests with various dietary requirements.
Main ingredients and substitutions
Blackstrap molasses gives this cake its deep, robust flavor and rich, dark color. In a pinch you could substitute maple syrup or honey, but it definitely won’t have a traditional gingerbread flavor in that case. In addition to being intensely flavorful, blackstrap molasses is also quite nutrient-rich.
Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves combine to give this cake its warm, Christmassy flavor. Alternatively you can substitute 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead of those spices.
One somewhat unexpected ingredient in this loaf cake is chickpea flour. It works perfectly to give this cake a soft, moist texture. Chickpea flour is a nutritious grain-free, gluten-free flour that works beautifully in baked treats. It’s easy to find and purchase online if you have trouble finding it at your local grocery store.
I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil as the fat in this cake but you can substitute avocado oil or melted coconut oil if you prefer.
Unsweetened applesauce adds body and moistness to this cake. Either store bought or homemade is fine as long as it doesn’t contain any added sugar. Alternatively, you can substitute pumpkin purée or mashed banana.
How to make it
This vegan gingerbread cake is quick and easy to make. Start by preheating the oven, then grab a large mixing bowl. Add the unsweetened applesauce, blackstrap molasses, olive oil, salt, vinegar (or lemon juice), and spices, then mix well.
Next you’ll add the chickpea flour and baking soda, then mix until combined.
Transfer the batter to a parchment paper lined medium sized loaf pan (my pan is 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches).
Bake for 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf looks clean upon removal. Then let the cake cool before removing from the pan and serving.
Storage and freezing
Store this cake in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze it for up to six months.
Giving this as a gift
This gingerbread is the perfect homemade gift for Christmas. For a pretty presentation, place the loaf in a large cellophane bag and tie it with a ribbon. You can include a gift tag as well. Or for a more rustic presentation, wrap the loaf in parchment paper and tie it up with twine.
To add an extra layer of texture and flavor to this vegan gingerbread loaf, stir in 1/2 cup each of chopped pecans and/or raisins into the batter.
More gluten-free Christmas recipes to try
- This gluten-free fruit cake is made with nutritious ingredients but tastes like a total treat.
- These chocolate coated dates are the perfect addition to a holiday sweet table.
- These gingerbread cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers.
- These oven roasted radishes are a festive, colorful side dish for the holidays.
Vegan Gingerbread Loaf (Gluten-Free)
- 2 1/2 cups chickpea flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar (or substitute lemon juice)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the unsweetened applesauce, extra virgin olive oil, blackstrap molasses, vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cloves, and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl, then mix well.
- Add the chickpea flour and baking soda, then mix until combined.
- Transfer the batter to a medium sized loaf pan lined with parchment paper (my pan is 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches).
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf looks clean upon removal.
- Let cool before removing from the pan and serving.
- Store this vegan gingerbread loaf in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze it for up to six months.
- Optional additions include 1/2 cup each of raisins and/or chopped pecans.