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Easy Gingerbread Cake (Lightened-Up & Gluten Free!)

This rich, moist gluten free gingerbread cake is fragrant with cinnamon and molasses, with a kick from fresh ginger. It has far less sugar and oil than most recipes, but you’d never know that it’s a healthier gingerbread cake! An optional 2-ingredient Maple Cream Cheese Frosting takes the cake over the top (you’ll need a half batch of the frosting). For even more flavor and texture, top the cake with chopped Maple Pecans (yes, please!). For a spectacular finale to a special occasion dinner, you can even transform the cake (without the frosting) into this Gingerbread Trifle. The texture and flavor of the cake improve with time, so I prefer to make it the day before.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ginger cake recipe, gingerbread cake recipe, gluten free gingerbread recipe
Servings: 9 people

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or oil for pan

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup (148g) gluten free flour (see Tips below) OR 1 cup (136g) regular all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (110g) almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • teaspoon fine sea salt

Wet ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil such as grapeseed or safflower
  • 3 tablespoons (30g) coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger optional, see notes below
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For serving (optional)

  • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting ½ batch, recipe link in header
  • Maple Pecans chopped, recipe link in header

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C) with a rack in the middle. Spray an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray or rub it with oil. Line the pan crosswise with a piece of parchment paper (this will make it easy to remove the cake after it’s baked).

Whisk the dry ingredients

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to break up any clumps of almond flour.

Beat the wet ingredients and combine

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Bake

  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edges then carefully remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely on the rack.

Serve

  • If you’re topping the cake with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, dollop it over the top then swirl it into an even layer. Sprinkle with the Maple Pecans, if using.

Notes

Do Ahead: This cake gets even better with time, so go ahead and make it the day before! Cover the cake (it can be frosted or unfrosted) or transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator (it will keep for up to 4 days).
Tips:
  • Measure in this recipe. If you’re not gluten free you can use regular all-purpose flour instead.
  • The almond flour gives the cake a tender, rich texture. 
  • For a dairy-free gingerbread cake use an unsweetened nut, soy or oat milk.
  • A hint of freshly grated ginger gives the cake a lovely kick, but for a milder flavor you can omit it (it will taste more like a spice cake). 
  • A two-ingredient Maple Cream Cheese Frosting takes this gluten-free gingerbread cake to the next level. 
  • For even more flavor and texture, sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped Maple Pecans (swoon)!
  • Transform this cake into a spectacular Gingerbread Trifle!