This vegan ginger cake is wonderfully fluffy, moist and packed with warm spices. The cake comes together in one bowl and is perfect for Christmas and the holidays!
Ingredients you'll need
You'll need a few basic ingredients including:
The full list of ingredient quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Dark molasses (known as treacle in Australia and the UK). I used a little more molasses for flavor and to help bind the ingredients (it acts as a partial egg replacer). Alternatively, you can use maple syrup, golden syrup or any other liquid sweetener (your ginger cake will have a lighter flavor).
Dairy-free milk. I prefer using a high protein milk such as soy milk as it makes the cake more tender (however, any milk will work). The optional vinegar interacts with the milk to make vegan buttermilk which makes the cake even fluffier.
Baking soda, rather than baking powder, for extra lift. This also replaces some of the rising functions of eggs.
Lots of spices. I added two whole tablespoons of ground cinnamon and ginger which gives the cake lots of gingerbread flavor without being overpowering.
Tips for preparing the vegan ginger cake
Some ginger cake recipes ask for hot water as this helps soften the molasses and improves the flavor. Instead of doing that, I recommend warming up your molasses! You can do that on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To prepare the cake batter, combine all your wet ingredients (including the sugar) in a large mixing bowl. It's easier to mix the wet ingredients first because the molasses can be quite sticky.
Add all your dry ingredients and mix until combined. Just make sure there are no lumps of flour! The final batter should look runny, but feel sticky and thick when stirring.
Simply pour the batter into your cake pan and bake for around 20 minutes.
Tips for decorating the cake
I recommend letting the vegan ginger cake cool completely before you remove it from the pan. The cake is delicate when it's warm so it might break if you remove it before cooling.
For the neatest slices, I topped my cake with buttercream, cut it into slices then topped each slice with coconut. When you cut into the cake with the coconut, the coconut can dig into the soft cake and make the edges messy.
Alternatively, you can top your vegan ginger cake with:
- Vegan cream cheese frosting, such as from my sweet potato cake recipe
- Dusting of powdered sugar
- Simple maple icing. Mix together 1 cup (100g) of powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Add a dash of milk for runnier icing or more sugar for thicker icing.
- Simple vanilla glaze. Mix together 1 cup (100g) of powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of dairy-free milk and a dash of vanilla extract.
Customizing the cake
Yes! The cake will bake well in an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan. However, the baking time will vary. I haven't tested this recipe in a loaf pan.
If you'd like to make a layer cake, I recommend following my recipe for my vegan gingerbread cake.
This cake is well-spiced but for an extra ginger kick, add an extra tablespoon of ground ginger or some freshly grated ginger. Or replace some of the non-dairy milk with ginger juice!
Yes! This vegan ginger cake is packed with flavor but you can also add:
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Orange juice instead of dairy-free milk
- Chopped walnuts and pecans
Also, for a healthier ginger cake, you may use whole wheat or spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour.
More vegan Christmas desserts
Vegan Ginger Cake
- ½ cup (120g) dark molasses, or dark treacle in the UK/Australia (not blackstrap molasses)
- 1 cup (250g) dairy-free milk
- ½ cup (120g) packed brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- ½ cup (120g) neutral flavored oil
- 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (340°F). Line or grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper.
To make the cake:
- Warm up the molasses on the stovetop over low heat for a few minutes or in the microwave for 30 seconds or until it's very runny.
- Add all the wet ingredients (and the sugar) to a large bowl and mix until combined. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into your cake tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. Place the cake tin on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the tin.
To make the buttercream frosting and decorate:
- Add the sugar, butter and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk to beat until light and fluffy. If your frosting is still very soft, add more sugar or corn starch and mix until combined.
- When the cake has fully cooled, spread the frosting on the cake. Slice the cake then generously top the frosting with coconut, pressing some of it in so it sticks. Serve and enjoy!
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- For a gluten-free ginger cake, I recommend using a high quality 1:1 gluten free flour such as Bob Red Mills. Alternatively, use 1 ½ cups (150g) almond flour and 1 ½ cups (160g) gluten-free all-purpose flour.
This recipe was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2021.
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