This vegan ginger cake is wonderfully fluffy, moist and packed with cozy 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:
Brown or coconut sugar for depth of flavor.
Dairy-free milk. I prefer using flavorsome dairy-free milks in cake recipes, such as soy milk or oat milk, as they improve the texture of the final cake. Also, if you add the optional vinegar, it reacts with the dairy-free milk and naturally creates vegan buttermilk which creates a more tender cake.
Dark molasses (known as treacle in Australia and the UK). As this cake is eggless, I added a little more molasses to help bind the ingredients. If you don't have molasses, you can use maple syrup, golden syrup or any other liquid sweetener and your ginger cake will have a lighter flavor.
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 a lot of flavor without being overpowering.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tips for preparing the vegan ginger cake
Some ginger cake recipes ask for boiling water as this helps soften the molasses and improves the flavor. Instead of doing that, I recommend just 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
First, I recommend letting the cake completely cool before you remove it from the pan, rather than on a wire rack. As the cake is quite flat and thin, it might bend or crumble when you remove it.
I topped my cake with a simple vanilla buttercream and shredded coconut. For the neatest slices, I recommend spreading the buttercream on the cake, cutting the cake then topping each slice with coconut. If you cut the cake when the coconut is on top, strands of coconut sometimes dig into the soft cake and ruins the edges!
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 lightly spiced but for an extra ginger kick, I'd recommend adding an extra tablespoon of ground ginger. If you have access to ginger juice, use it instead of some of the dairy-free milk in the recipe!
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 stove top 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 mixing 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. Allow the cake to cool 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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