Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake

A loaf of gluten-free gingerbread cake with icing, sliced.

5 from 2 reviews

A scrumptious holiday confection, this gluten-free gingerbread cake with icing is a must-make recipe! It can easily be adapted to an egg-free and vegan version using the instructions in the notes (we tested the no egg cake for proven success). As written, the recipe can be made with or without dairy. No one will notice the difference between this allergen-friendly recipe and the traditional version!


Units Scale

Dairy-Free Buttermilk

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk or dairy-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Dry Ingredients

Gingerbread Spices

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon ground cloves

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 eggs (see notes for no egg recipe)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) neutral flavored oil (avocado, sunflower, or canola oil)
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dark molasses*
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water


  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter or dairy-free butter softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) solid coconut cream, or 2 ounces of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130 grams) powdered sugar


Gingerbread Cake

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line a metal loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Dairy-free buttermilk: Combine dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Stir together and set aside.
  3. Thin the molasses: Combine molasses and hot water in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Stir until well-mixed and set aside to cool.
  4. Dry ingredients: Add all dry ingredients and gingerbread spices to a large mixing bowl and whisk together thoroughly to combine.
  5. Wet ingredients: Add all wet ingredients dairy-free buttermilk, and the molasses-water mixture to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together thoroughly to combine. Make sure the molasses has cooled to lukewarm before adding to the mixture so it does not cook the egg.
  6. Make the batter: Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk or stir until just combined. There should be no dry pockets of flour, but there will be small blueberry or pea-sized flour lumps, when mixed to the desired consistency.
  7. Bake: Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and bake on a middle oven rack for about 60 minutes. You will want to start checking it at just past 50 minutes. The gingerbread cake is finished when a toothpick inserted at a diagonal into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a dry crumb.
  8. Cool: Place the cake in pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then gently remove the cake from the pan using the parchment paper and allow to cool completely on the rack before icing.

Icing (optional)

  1. Butter: Add dairy-free butter to a medium mixing bowl. Beat on low speed using an electric mixer with whisk attachment until smooth.
  2. Wet ingredients: Add the coconut cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until well mixed, creamy, and smooth.
  3. Sugar: Add half of the powdered sugar and mix at low speed. Then add the rest of the sugar and beat until smooth. If needed, add dairy-free milk in small amounts to thin. Refrigerate briefly to thicken or add more powdered sugar in small amounts.


A kitchen scale makes this whole process easier with less mess and a more predictable result. If you haven't invested in one yet, they're quite easy to use and I recommend this affordable kitchen scale.

I definitely recommend using a metal loaf pan for this recipe. When baking in a glass pan, the loaf was still wet in the middle and did not rise as well.

*Molasses: Most importantly, do not use blackstrap molasses. This type of dark sticky molasses is used for more savory dishes, like barbecue sauce. For best taste, you want to use a molasses labeled "dark", "robust", or unsulphured. I used Grandma's brand unsulphured molasses for my recipe trials. Wholesome brand has an excellent dark sticky organic molasses.

Storage: Gluten-Free Gingerbread cake can be stored on the counter at room temperature for up to two days. You will want to wrap it in beeswax or plastic wrap once it cools, or place it in an airtight container. In the refrigerator, this recipe will last for 5-7 days in an airtight container. Or store this quick bread in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter when ready to serve and eat.

How to use aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) in place of eggs:

  1. Use a strainer to strain a can of chickpeas or white beans and collect the aquafaba in a small mixing bowl. You need 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, or 90 ml) of aquafaba for this recipe.
  2. Whip the aquafaba until uniformly foamy using an electric mixer, preferably with whisk attachment. This should take anywhere from 30 seconds to about a minute for the 1-loaf quantity.
  3. Replace eggs with aquafaba when the recipe calls for it, and follow the instructions as written. That's it!

Make it with dairy (vs dairy-free): If making this recipe with cow's milk, you will still want to include the vinegar for best taste and texture, though it's not completely necessary. If using buttermilk, do not include the apple cider vinegar and instead replace it with a tablespoon of buttermilk. Using buttermilk will make the cake a little bit heavier. 

Keywords: gingerbread loaf cake, gluten-free gingerbread cake, easy gingerbread cake, gingerbread cake with icing, gingerbread cake without eggs