Vegan Gingerbread Cake is a delicious holiday dessert that is ready in about 30 minutes. This perfectly spiced cake is topped with buttercream frosting and Christmas sprinkles for a festive treat. Bring it to your holiday gatherings or enjoy a slice of cake as an evening dessert.
When the holiday season comes around my family gets excited for gingerbread cookies. The kids love to decorate them and everyone loves to eat them.
This Christmas I decided to turn those gingerbread cookies into a cake.
I made a few changes to my pumpkin cake recipe to come up with this one. After a few tests, it was a success!
The cake was delicious!
It had the right amount of ginger spice, warm cinnamon, and rich molasses giving it the perfect gingerbread cookie taste.
And instead of icing, I topped my cake with buttercream frosting and festive sprinkles. Let’s just say it didn’t last 24 hours in this house.
For a healthier frosting, try my vegan cashew frosting. It has only 6 ingredients and is easy to make.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutes
The 12 ingredients below (plus frosting) are all you need to make this vegan gingerbread cake.
All-purpose flour – Use any all-purpose flour for the best results. A 1:1 gluten-free baking flour can be used as an alternative.
Brown sugar – I used light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar will work as well. You can also use coconut sugar, cane sugar, or any granulated sugar.
Unsulphured molasses – Be sure to use an unsulphured molasses. Grandma’s Original is a great choice and what I use, but any unsulphured molasses will work. Do not use blackstrap molasses.
Plant milk – The milk should be warmed up to help the molasses mix in. I used almond milk but you can use any unsweetened non-dairy milk you have on hand–oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, etc.
Coconut oil – I use refined coconut oil to keep the flavor neutral. If you don’t mind a hint of coconut feel free to use unrefined. Otherwise, any neutral vegetable oil will work.
Baking powder and baking soda – These leavening agents help the gingerbread cake to rise.
Salt – Any salt you have on hand will do. I used Himalayan pink salt.
Ground ginger – The ground ginger gives this cake its classic zesty spiced flavor. I don’t recommend replacing it.
Ground cinnamon – This warm spice gives the cake another burst of holiday flavor.
All-spice – I went with all-spice because it’s what I had in the cupboard. If you have cloves or nutmeg you can use one of those instead.
Vanilla extract – I went with pure vanilla extract to help enhance the spiced flavors of the cake. Almond extract is another great option. If you don’t have either, simply leave it out.
Frosting ingredients – The frosting is optional. For it you'll need vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and plant milk are needed for the frosting.
How to Make Vegan Gingerbread Cake
This vegan gingerbread cake is easy to make!
Start by gathering your ingredients so they're in close reach. Then, follow the steps below to bring this Christmas dessert recipe together.
Mix the Dry Ingredients
Step 1: Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl.
Step 2: Use a spoon or a whisk to mix them. The ingredients should be well combined, like above.
Mix the Wet Ingredients
Step 3: Now, warm the milk on the stovetop or in the microwave. It should be warm to the touch, but not hot.
Add the molasses to the milk and whisk them together until the molasses has dissolved into the milk. You should have a dark liquid like the above image.
Step 4: Whisk in the remaining wet ingredients.
Mix the Batter
Step 5: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry. Use a silicone spatula to scrape all of the liquid out of the bowl.
Step 6: Now, use your spatula, or a whisk, to fold/mix everything until the ingredients are combined. Don’t over-mix the batter or the cake texture will be tough and dense instead of soft and moist.
Tip: I like to use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together. It keeps the batter from being over-mixed creating the best cake texture. See the recipe card for instructions on how to fold the ingredients.
Bake the cake
Step 7: Transfer the batter to a prepared baking dish. You can grease your dish or line it with parchment paper.
I used this (affiliate link) 7x11-inch baking pan, but a 9x9-inch square pan can be used instead.
Step 8: Bake at 350ºF for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Frost the Cake
Step 9: To frost your cake, allow it to fully cool first. Add the frosting to the top of the cake.
Step 10: Use a spatula or knife to evenly spread it across the top of the cake.
Serving and Storage
To serve: Enjoy this vegan gingerbread cake frosted and topped with holiday sprinkles.
For an alternative to sprinkles, top the frosting with toasted coconut shreds, chopped nuts, candied ginger, or cranberries.
You can also skip the frosting and serve this cake plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or topped with a dollop of coconut whip or non-dairy ice cream.
To store: Cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Frosted cakes are fine on the counter, but if you prefer you can keep them in the refrigerator.
To freeze: Chill the unfrosted cake on a baking sheet in the freezer until solid. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in an airtight freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Defrost on the counter at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Molasses: Use an unsulphured molasses such as Grandma’s Original. Do NOT use blackstrap molasses.
- Don’t Overmix the batter: First, let’s talk about what over-mixing is. It’s when the batter is mixed too much which activates the gluten and creates a gummy, tough texture cake.
This can be avoided by folding the cake ingredients together with a silicone spatula. For this method, scoop the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and bring them to the top. Repeat and turn the bowl as needed. Fold just enough times to bring the batter together with no dry flour patches. It can be a slow start, but the ingredients will begin to come together. If you're more of a visual person you can check out this video on how to fold ingredients together.
- Ginger: I used 1 and ¾ teaspoons of ginger for a mildly spiced cake. If you like a stronger ginger flavor use up to 2 teaspoons.
More Vegan Christmas Desserts
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1 and ¾ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed (see notes for substitutions)
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses, such as Grandma’s Original (not blackstrap)
- ¾ cup plant milk, warm
- ⅓ cup refined coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vegan butter stick
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons plant milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Then grease a 7x11-inch baking pan (or 9x9-inch) and line it with parchment paper to easily remove the cake.
- Dry ingredients: In a large bowl sift the flour, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Set aside.
- Wet ingredients: Heat the plant milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or in the microwave) until warmed to the touch, not hot.
- Add the molasses to the milk and whisk them together until the molasses has dissolved into the milk and both are a thin liquid. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Mix: Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrape all of the liquid out of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Using your spatula, gently fold the ingredients together to create a batter with no patches of dry flour. You can also use a whisk for this step.
To fold the ingredients: I like to use my silicone spatula for this step. It keeps the batter from being over-mixed for the best cake texture. For this method, scoop the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and bring them to the top. Repeat and turn the bowl as needed. Fold just enough times to bring the batter together with no patches of dry flour. It can be a slow start to mix, but the ingredients will begin to come together. Or, check out this video on how to fold ingredients.
- Bake: Transfer the batter to your prepared baking dish. Bake at 350ºF for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with no wet batter.
Allow the cake to fully cool before frosting.
For the Frosting
- Add the butter to a bowl. Use a hand mixer or the back of a sturdy spoon to cream the butter until it is soft without any lumps.
- Add ½ cup of powdered sugar to the butter and cream together. Now mix in the remaining powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.
- Pour in the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of non-dairy milk, mix. Then slowly mix in enough non-dairy milk to make the frosting workable. If it is too thin add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick add more milk.
- To frost the cake: Place a few spoonfuls of frosting on the cake. Use as much or as little frosting as you’d like. You can always use leftovers to top this lemon loaf or some festive sugar cookies.
- Evenly spread the frosting out across the cake with a spatula or the back of a knife.
- Top with Christmas sprinkles, chopped nuts, toasted coconut shreds, candied ginger, or your favorite cake topping.
For a healthier frosting try my vegan cashew frosting.
- Without frosting: If you want to skip the frosting, you can leave the cake plain or top it with coconut whip, dairy-free ice cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Molasses: Use an unsulphured molasses such as Grandma’s Original. Do not use blackstrap molasses.
- Brown sugar substitutes: Coconut sugar can be used as a replacement. Also, any granulated sugar or cane sugar will work. If using one of these options, I suggest powdering it in a blender, Nutri-bullet, or equivalent for a softer cake texture. However, this step is not necessary.
- Ginger: I used 1 and ¾ teaspoons of ginger for a mildly spiced cake. If you like a stronger ginger flavor use 2 teaspoons.
- Orange frosting: To make orange frosting, replace the milk with orange juice and the vanilla extract is optional.
- Cinnamon frosting: To make cinnamon frosting, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, or to taste, along with the powdered sugar. You may need a bit more milk to bring the frosting together.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 296mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 4g
**Nutritional info is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients I used and for convenience and as a courtesy only.**
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