This vegan gingerbread loaf cake is a must for your holiday bake list. Full of festive flavors, it's moist and flavorsome and tastes like Christmas in a cake! It's also completely eggless and dairy-free, making it suitable for lots of dietary requirements.
I recommend topping this holiday gingerbread loaf with vanilla cream cheese frosting and homemade vegan gingerbread cookies. I've also included options for an iced gingerbread loaf if that's your preference.
What to expect from this recipe
- Deliciously moist, soft, and full of flavor
- No eggs and no dairy
- Festive gingerbread flavor
- Easy to make
- Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee
- Soya milk: I like to use soya milk but you can opt for any plant-based milk of your choice here. This becomes the base of the vegan “buttermilk” when mixed with apple cider vinegar.
- Apple puree: As well as adding a touch of sweetness to the recipe, apple sauce helps this bread loaf stay moist after baking – and for several days afterward!
- Molasses: For that authentic gingerbread flavor. It also deepens the flavor and compliments the spices in the cake.
- Olive oil: The oil adds moisture and helps the loaf cake feel fluffy and springy to the touch. You can sub this with another neutral-tasting oil if you'd prefer.
- Plain flour: Regular plain flour works great for this cake loaf. You can, however, substitute a third of the flour for wholemeal if you would like to add some fiber to the loaf.
- Soft brown sugar: Due to the higher moisture content of soft brown sugar, it helps to keep this a super moist gingerbread loaf.
- Baking powder and baking soda: The raising agents for the cake, helping it to rise and become airy and fluffy.
- Spices: To achieve its gingerbread flavor, the recipe calls for ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. You can go for less or more spice depending on your personal taste.
- Vanilla extract: Smooth fragrant vanilla helps to balance out those warming spices.
- Sea salt: I always add a pinch of salt to desserts whether baked or raw. Salt helps to bring out the individual flavors of ingredients as well as marry them together and intensify the sweetness.
You'll also need vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, a vanilla pod, and icing sugar if you're topping this gingerbread loaf with cream cheese frosting.
How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)
This vegan gingerbread loaf is quick and easy to put together. You'll start by mixing the other wet ingredients with the vegan buttermilk (in this case the apple puree, molasses, olive oil, and vanilla).
Now in a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, soft brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, gingerbread spices, and salt).
Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold through. Be careful not to over-mix, a few pockets of the flour are fine.
Lastly, add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake. You can go ahead and prepare the vegan cream cheese frosting while you wait for your cake!
You can check your gingerbread loaf is readily by inserting a toothpick into the center, it should come out clean. If you're unsure whether your cake needs more time, check out the kitchn's 5 ways to tell when your cake is done.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack. It's important to make sure your cake is completely cooled before frosting as you could end up with a melty mess!
Store this cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Remove it from the fridge an hour or two before serving to bring it to room temperature. If you're planning on eating this cake in one day (I don't blame you!) then there is no need to refrigerate it.
Getting your equipment and ingredients ready before starting on any recipe is a good way to get you set up for success. I personally make a note to count and double-check the ingredients so that I'm less likely to leave something out, we've all been there, right?
So start with the basics, preheat your oven, line your loaf tin with parchment paper and get your ingredients measured out and organized.
How to make vegan buttermilk
The acidity of vegan buttermilk does a number of things such as helping the cake to rise, adding a tangy flavor, and also helping to tenderize the gluten in the flour. To make it, simply mix the plant-based milk with an acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and allow the mixture to sit and "turn". The added fluffiness from vegan buttermilk helps to make the best vegan gingerbread loaf recipe.
What icing goes with ginger cake?
This cake will go well with orange, lemon, or whiskey sugar glaze.
- Orange glaze: Make a gingerbread orange loaf by drizzling orange glaze over the cake.
- Whiskey: It is a festive recipe after all! Whiskey compliments the gingerbread flavor of this cake. If you're avoiding alcohol but would like to keep the glaze, you can swap it out for plant-based milk or lemon juice.
- Lemon glaze: Fresh lemon zest adds a zingy twist to your vegan gingerbread loaf.
How to make a glaze for gingerbread loaf
To make an orange glaze simply add 1.5 cups icing sugar, 5 tablespoons orange juice, and half a teaspoon orange zest to a bowl and whisk until smooth. You can switch up the flavor of the glaze by swapping out the liquid (orange juice) with another liquid such as brandy, plant-based milk, or fresh lemon juice.
- Raisins: Juicy raisins or sultanas make a wonderful addition to this loaf. They add sweetness, moisture, and flavor.
- Dried cranberries: You can also add some dried cranberries to the gingerbread cake batter for an additional festive twist.
More vegan gingerbread recipes
Don't forget to check out these 25+ vegan Christmas dessert recipes to get all your baking plans sorted this festive season!
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
- ½ cup (118 ml) soy milk, or other plant-based milk
- 2 teaspoons (9.86 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup (63 g) apple puree
- 3.5 oz (100 g) molasses
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (220 g) plain flour, sieved
- ½ cup (110 g) soft brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon (6 g) baking powder, sieved
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground ginger, sieved
- 1 ½ teaspoons (3 g) ground cinnamon, sieved
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g) ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (1.5 g) sea salt
- ½ batch vegan vanilla cream cheese frosting, optional
- ¼ batch vegan gingerbread cookies , (using mini gingerbread cutters), optional
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Line an 8" loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside. To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a jug, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the apple puree, molasses, olive oil, and vanilla to the jug of vegan buttermilk and whisk to combine.
- To a large separate bowl, add the flour, soft brown sugar to a separate bowl and whisk to make sure everything is evenly mixed., baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold them together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Be careful not to over-mix, a few pockets of the flour are fine.
- Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 mins. After 40 minutes, check the cake is ready by inserting a knife or toothpick into it, which should come out clean. If the toothpick has cake residue on it, bake for another 5-10 minutes as needed.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegan cream cheese frosting.
- Once the cake has cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on top with an offset spatula. Add more or less depending on your taste. Slice and serve.
- Nutritional information is based on gingerbread loaf without frosting.
- Orange glaze: Whisk 1.5 cups icing sugar, 5 tablespoons orange juice and half a teaspoon orange zest to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Whiskey: Whisk 1.5 cups icing sugar, 5 tablespoons whiskey, and half a teaspoon of orange zest into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Lemon glaze: Whisk 1.5 cups icing sugar, 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of lemon zest into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Juicy raisins or sultanas make a wonderful addition to this loaf. They add sweetness, moisture, and flavor.
- You can also add some dried cranberries to the gingerbread cake batter for an additional festive twist.
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*This recipe was originally published on November 11th, 2020. The recipe has since been improved and updated.