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Vegan gingerbread cake is a must-make this holiday season – it’s fluffy, moist, tender, & flavor-packed. Enjoy it warm or chilled with sauce, frosting, or powdered sugar!

completed Vegan Gingerbread Cake slices on a white surface
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Easy Gingerbread Cake Vegan Recipe

With fall and Thanksgiving in the rear mirror and the rest of the holiday season ahead, we’re swapping out our fall-favorite pumpkin spice cake for a super versatile, holiday-ready recipe for vegan gingerbread cake!

In this simple old-fashioned gingerbread cake recipe, sweet yet robust molasses combines with ginger and other warm spices to create a tender, fluffy cake loaded with warm holiday flavors. Plus, the batter comes together in under 10 minutes, and the cake will make your house smell amazing while baking!

Best of all, it’s super versatile. Enjoy it as a gingerbread sheet cake, layered cake, bundt cake, or even cupcakes. Once baked, enjoy the warm or chilled gingerbread cake with vegan cream cheese frosting or other frosting, lemon sauce, a pumpkin spice glaze, vegan whipped cream… it’s up to you! Either way, it’ll be perfect for impressing at any holiday event/gathering!

Love ginger? You might also enjoy these triple ginger cookies, ginger fruit smoothie, or lemon cinnamon ginger tea.

The Ingredients and Substitutions

ingredients for Vegan Gingerbread Cake measured on a white surface

The Wet Ingredients

  • Flax egg: A simple combination of ground flaxseed (or chia seeds) and water makes a simple, binding egg replacement for this vegan gingerbread cake.
  • Dairy-free butter: Use room temperature, unsalted plant-based butter, like Miyoko’s and Earth Balance. If using salted butter, don’t add extra salt to the batter.  
  • Sugar: Since we’re adding separate molasses, you only need regular sugar. A less refined option, like raw cane sugar or coconut sugar will also work.
  • Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla extract (or paste) to avoid an artificial aftertaste. 
  • Molasses: Use dark, unsulphured molasses, which is sweet yet robust rather than blackstrap molasses, which is bitter. This is the key to achieving a classic gingerbread flavor while making a moist gingerbread cake.
  • Water: The water needs to be hot to help thin the molasses and achieve the best cake batter consistency and fluffy texture. For more flavor, use hot coffee or orange juice.

The Dry Ingredients

  • Flour: We used regular all-purpose flour, though you could experiment with using up to 50% whole wheat flour.

To make gluten-free gingerbread cake, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur’s. Just note the cake may be slightly denser and/or drier.

  • Leavening agents: You’ll need baking powder and baking soda for this vegan gingerbread cake recipe.
  • Spices: This gingerbread spice cake uses a fairly typical combination of:
    • Cinnamon
    • Ground ginger
    • Ground cloves
  • Salt: Just a little to balance and enhance the various flavors in the cake.

Optional Gingerbread Cake Toppings

You can also enjoy a slice of gingerbread vegan cake with a scoop of vanilla vanilla ice cream.

Optional Flavor Variations and Add-Ins

Add up to 1 cup of any add-ins below (unless otherwise specified).

  • Nutmeg: For even more warmth – just a pinch.
  • Citrus: Add the zest of a lemon or orange for a bright, citrusy depth.
  • Ginger: Boost the gingery heat with ¼-1 cup of chopped crystallized ginger.
  • Nuts/seeds: Like walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Dried fruit: Like raisins, cranberries, or dates. Soak in rum for a softer, plumper texture.
  • Vegan chocolate chips: Use dairy-free dark, milk, or white chocolate.
  • Apple (or pear): Make a delicious gingerbread apple cake with 1-2 finely chopped, crisp, sweet or tart apples. Pears also work.

How to Make Vegan Gingerbread Cake

  • First, combine the flax meal and water in a small bowl, mix well, and set aside. Then, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Leave the overhang on 2 sides for easier removal.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), use a whisk/ electric mixer to cream the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Then, add the flax mixture and molasses and beat until smooth.

If you have issues getting the molasses to mix smoothly into the batter, you can add the hot water at this point in the recipe. Either way works.

  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all the spices and whisk.
  • Adding ½ a cup at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet ones until fully incorporated, then add the water at the end and mix into a smooth batter.

Be careful not to overwork the batter. Instead, mix it only until the ingredients are incorporated and not any longer. Be gentle when mixing in the water at the end.

  • Pour the gingerbread batter into the prepared pan, then bake it in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick (or fork) inserted into the middle comes out clean – or with a few moist crumbs.
process s hot of spreading batter in cake pan

If it’s not ready, continue to bake in 5-minute increments until it’s ready.

  • Finally, remove the gingerbread cake from the oven and let it cool in its baking pan on a wire cooling rack until fully cool. Only then, remove it from the pan and optionally top – then slice and enjoy!

Enjoy a slice of gingerbread spice cake alone or with a mug of vegan mexican hot chocolate, homemade chai, or coffee.

FAQs

Can I use a 9×13 pan?

To make a 9×13-inch gingerbread sheet cake, you’ll need to make an extra half batch of batter.

Can I use this recipe to make a gingerbread layer cake?

Yes, to both, though the baking time will vary. For a layered cake, we recommend doubling the batter to make two 9 or 10-inch round cakes. 1 batch should be enough for a 2 or 3-layered 6-inch cake.
You could also use this recipe to make a gingerbread bundt cake.

Can I use it to make cupcakes?

That should be possible. Simply divide the batter into a cupcake tin (filled ¾ full) and bake for about 18-22 minutes.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Measure the flour correctly: To avoid a dense cake. First, fluff it in its bag using a fork, then spoon it into the measuring cup before using the back of a knife to level the top.
  • Spice to taste: Increase/reduce the amount of spices to personal preference.
  • Use fresh spices: Their flavor and quality reduce over time, so make sure they’re fresh; otherwise, you’ll need to adjust the amount.  
  • Don’t substitute the molasses: And make sure to use dark molasses – not light or blackstrap. This is key to the traditional gingerbread cake flavor.
  • Avoid over-mixing the batter: Otherwise, you’ll end up with a dense, rubbery cake. Mix it until ‘just’ combined – a few tiny lumps are fine.
  • Leave it to cool: This cake is fragile straight from the oven. It’s best to leave it to cool before slicing, then optionally reheat if preferred.
completed Vegan Gingerbread Cake slices on a white surface

Storage Instructions

You can store the un-frosted spiced gingerbread cake, loosely covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days or unfrosted or frosted in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Freeze the cake whole or sliced, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept in a Ziplock/Stasher for up to 3 months. Leave it (or a slice) to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Enjoy it chilled or reheat it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.

More Vegan Cake Recipes

Or browse our collection of 35 must-try vegan cake recipes.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Vegan Gingerbread Cake slices on a white surface

Vegan Gingerbread Cake

5 from 21 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Vegan gingerbread cake is a must-make this holiday season – it’s fluffy, moist, tender, & flavor-packed. Enjoy it warm or chilled with sauce, frosting, or powdered sugar!

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons of flax meal
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • ½ cup unsalted plant-based butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of full flavor molasses
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of hot water

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy, this takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flax mixture and molasses, and beat until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
  • Using a ½ cup, add the dry ingredients to the vegan butter mixture, and mix until fully incorporated each time. Repeat the process until you have used up all of the flour mixture. Add the water and mix until a smooth batter is achieved and then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. To test if the cake is done, insert a toothpick or a knife in the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If it doesn't, keep baking in increments of 10 minutes.
  • When ready, remove the cake from the oven and place the baking pan on a cooking rack. Allow it to fully cool before removing it from the pan.

Notes

Optionally, sprinkle some powdered sugar, crumbled ginger cookies, or vegan whip cream for garnish. Pillsbury cream cheese frosting is accidentally vegan and pairs perfectly with this cake. It’s also recommended you stir in some pumpkin spice into the frosting.
  • Measure the flour correctly: To avoid a dense cake. First fluff it in its bag using a fork, then spoon it into the measuring cup before using the back of a knife to level the top.
  • Spice to taste: Increase/reduce the amount of spices to personal preference.
  • Use fresh spices: Their flavor and quality reduce over time, so make sure they’re fresh; otherwise, you’ll need to adjust the amount.  
  • Don’t substitute the molasses: And make sure to use dark molasses – not light or blackstrap. This is key to the traditional gingerbread cake flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 2766kcalCarbohydrates: 474gProtein: 35gFat: 83gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 26gMonounsaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 0.5gSodium: 3470mgPotassium: 3000mgFiber: 14gSugar: 227gVitamin A: 4326IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 711mgIron: 25mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto
5 from 21 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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    1. We at plant-based on a budget haven’t tried out that sub yet, so can’t guarantee the results. Let us know how it turns out if you end up giving it a try!