If you’re craving something better than Starbucks, this vegan gingerbread loaf cake is the ABSOLUTE BEST! It’s a simple quick bread, made with rich molasses and warm spices, then topped off with a cinnamon-sugar drizzle!
This spiced cake is very soft, and full of flavor! Without the need for eggs or dairy products, it’s easy to whip up with ingredients you have in your pantry. Make this luscious dessert a part of your holiday celebrations.
You’ll be surprised that you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make this irresistible cakes. Did I mention how super soft and super tender it is! Once it’s baking in your oven your whole house will be transformed to a feeling of calm and holiday loveliness.
You’ll be waiting for it when it comes out of the oven to curl up with a hot cup of tea (or coffee)and a nice and warm slice.
It’s a cozy and comforting cake with all the delightful spices. And if you’re a novice baker, this is the recipe for you! It could truly come together all in one bowl and with a wooden spoon. You could even combine the whole recipe together in a food processor to make it easier.
My love for gingerbread goes way back to this gorgeous gingerbread cake with lemon hard sauce (from Martha Stewart and not vegan). And also this beauty that is similar to this cake, but not exactly the same: vegan black sticky gingerbread
It just needs to become a nice and smooth batter. It doesn’t matter if you make it a loaf or a square shape. You could even make it in a muffin tin (just have to adjust baking time if you change the baking tin size).
This easy sticky cake has just the right amount of spices and is perfect when it’s still warm out of the oven. But it even gets stickier and more tender (if there’s any left!) over the next few days after you bake it! Since it disappears so quickly, you’ll have to bake two!
You could serve it plain (without the glaze), but the simple to make cinnamon-sugar drizzle makes it even more special for the holidays!
Why you’ll love this soft Vegan Gingerbread Cake
- So easy to make: Since it’s an easy loaf cake recipe, you don’t have to be an expert baker or even need a mixer to make this gingerbread cake.
- Super soft: This vegan cake is surprisingly fluffy, so moist and light.
- Simple ingredients: You probably have most of the ingredients on hand to whip up this delicious vegan cake. Just the recipe when you have to make a cake at the last minute!
- Tastes better than the Starbucks gingerbread loaf!
- Total cozy holiday cake: The cake is filled with all the warming holiday spices, and your house will smell dreamy while it’s baking!
- Oil free + lower sugar: Made with simple pantry ingredients, this loaf cake is oil free (instead we use apple sauce) and lower sugar.
Ingredients (full printable recipe is below):
- Flour: make it with all-purpose flour (or sub with gluten-free 1:1 baking flour)
- Coconut sugar: I love baking with coconut sugar (it does not taste like coconut). It gives the cake a lovely mild caramel like flavor. You could even use brown sugar, if you prefer or if that’s what you have on hand.
- Spices: I like to use a little bit more than just ground ginger. You’ll also need cinnamon, allspice, and a pinch of nutmeg
- Baking powder + baking soda: Best to use combo of these leavening agents.
- Molasses: Be sure to use regular molasses, not the blackstrap variety. Blackstrap molasses is very healthy but isn’t ideal for baking (better for savory dishes). I use unsulphured organic molasses by Wholesome Sweets.
- Dairy free milk: Unsweetened coconut milk works great, as well as unsweetened oat or unsweetened almond milk (I used almond).
- Unsweetened applesauce: A simple pantry ingredient (I always have a jar on hand)as it adds so much moisture to baking recipes (vegan or not vegan).
How to make a copycat Starbucks gingerbread loaf
The full instructions for how to make this vegan ginger loaf cake are found down below in the recipe card. However, let’s go over the basics here:
- Gather all your ingredients together.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.
- Place all the wet ingredients in another bowl and stir them together to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 portions. Be sure to stir well to combine after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
- Pour out the cake batter into the prepped loaf pan and bake.
If you’re making the cinnamon-sugar drizzle, you could make that in a flash while the cake is cooling down.
It only takes a few minutes to stir together.
Drizzle on top and enjoy!
Expert Tips for Making the best vegan gingerbread loaf bread
- Prep your loaf pan by lining with parchment paper and spray the paper with baking spray. If you leave some extra parchment paper on the sides, it’s easy to use those flaps to lift the cake right of the pan (after you let it cool down a bit, so it won’t break when you lift it out).
- Loaf pan size makes a difference in baking time. I always use a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan (23×13 cm), keep in mind in case yours is a smaller loaf pan, 8×4-inch, your cake may need about 5 minutes or so of more baking time.
- Metal baking loaf pan is preferred to glass loaf pan. I love to use my glass loaf pan for when I bake a meatloaf, but for loaf cakes, metal is must better and results in a more evenly baked cake.
- Be sure to use unsulphured molasses and not blackstrap molasses (I discuss more on that above).
- Freshly grated nutmeg is superior to the ground. There is a massive flavor difference in any thing you make with freshly grated nutmeg. It makes my pumpkin bread superior and it does the same flavor difference in this ginger cake!
- Important to measure flour correctly by fluffing it up in the container. Spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup (do NOT pack it in)and use a butter knife to level it off.
- Keep an eye on the cake at about 45 minutes, check on it for doneness. Every oven is different. Stick a toothpick in the center and if it comes out pretty dry (a few crumbs is ok), then it is done. If it come out with very wet cake crumbs on it, leave cake in oven for another 5-10 minutes. Tent with foil paper in case the top of cake is browning too much.
Can I make this vegan cake totally gluten-free?
Yes, simply sub the all-purpose flour with an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur’s). I have even made it using 1/2 GF flour and 1/2 almond flour.
Can I substitute the coconut sugar with brown sugar?
Yes, brown sugar is a great 1:1 substitute for coconut sugar (and vice-versa).
How to store this vegan loaf bread?
Any leftovers can be stored wrapped tightly on the counter for up to 2 days. After that, any leftovers are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator (for up to 5 days).
Can this easy ginger loaf cake be frozen?
Yes, it sure can! Allow the cake to completely cool down. Once it’s cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap and also foil paper. Best to slice the whole cake and wrap individual slices and place them in zipped lock freezer bag. Defrost overnight on the counter to enjoy the next day.
The main difference between gingerbread and ginger cake is the type of dough used. Gingerbread is made with a denser, spicier dough that often contains molasses or dark brown sugar. This type of dough results in a more dense, chewy texture and flavor. Ginger cakes are usually made with lighter, finer-textured cake dough that may include butter, eggs, and baking soda. This type of dough results in a lighter, more cake-like texture and flavor.
It could be due to too much liquid, not enough flour, inadequate baking time, or an oven that isn’t hot enough. To prevent this from happening, make sure your ingredients are measured accurately and your oven is heated to the appropriate temperature before baking. Additionally, you can use a toothpick to test the center of the loaf for doneness before taking it out of the oven. If the toothpick comes out clean, then it is done baking and should not sink in the middle.
To prevent dry gingerbread, make sure your ingredients are measured accurately and that you bake the gingerbread for the right amount of time. Additionally, try not to open the oven door too often while baking as this can result in a loss of heat and cause the bread to dry out
Some other easy quick loaf recipes:
Vegan Gingerbread Loaf Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg I used freshly grated for optimal flavor
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce room temperature
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup molasses not Blackstrap
- 1 cup dairy-free milk room temperature (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- Glaze Optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons liquid of choice water, plant-based milk, cranberry juice, orange juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Prep a 9 x 5 loaf pan by greasing with coconut oil (or whatever oil you like) or line with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or use margarine, and flour the parchment paper) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, sea salt, and spices.
- In another bowl, add the sugar, applesauce, molasses, and dairy-free milk. Stir together to combine well.
- Start adding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring side and bottom of bowl, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, with each addition to combine.
- Stir until there are no clumps of dry ingredients visible; careful not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Add the cake batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 mins. After 40 minutes, check the cake is ready by toothpick into it, which should come out clean. If the toothpick has lots of sticky 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 to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon sugar glaze (glaze is optional).
- To make the glaze: In a small mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of dairy free milk (or whatever liquid you’re using) at a time to the powdered sugar. Stir until a cohesive glaze forms. If the glaze is too thin: add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time. If it’s too thick, add more dairy-free milk (or whatever liquid you’re using) 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before drizzling with glaze. Enjoy!
Dried cranberries: You can also add some dried cranberries (or fresh, if you have any on hand) to the gingerbread cake batter for gorgeous holiday color.