A spicy, rich cake perfect for the holidays! This vegan and gluten free chocolate chunk ginger cake features ground ginger, cinnamon, and molasses for great gingerbread flavour.
Once late November hits, we’re craving gingerbread and other spiced baked treats! Holiday dessert baking goes into full effect in our kitchens. This easy chocolate chunk ginger cake is the ideal holiday bake for this time of year.
Imagine a gingerbread cake spiced to perfection with cinnamon and ginger, and loaded with chocolate chunks. A simple and sweet vanilla bean glaze coats the top. Bonus – it’s vegan and gluten-free, too!
You may be seeing family and friends this year, or want a sweet treat to bake and leave on a doorstep as a food gift (our favourite!). If you’re not sure of someone’s dietary needs or preferences, this is a great option. It’s so good that no one will know it’s missing gluten, eggs, and dairy.
This ginger cake is:
- Gooey, sweet, and indulgent
- Easy to make
- Loaded with chocolate pieces
- Aromatic and full of flavor
- Gluten-free and vegan-friendly (of course)!
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
Preheat the oven, then grease and line a loaf tin. Whisk the almond milk, ground flax, and apple cider vinegar. This creates a kind of buttermilk and flax egg combo.
In a large bowl, mix the gluten-free flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, and sea salt to combine.
Make a well in the centre and add the milk mixture, and the other remaining ingredients, apart from the chocolate chunks. Mix to combine, then stir in the chocolate to incorporate.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, then bake for about 45 minutes, or until it passes a toothpick test. Cool the cake completely before adding the icing.
To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla until completely smooth. Pour over the cooled cake, cut into squares, and serve.
Tips and Notes
Originally, a homemade blend of all purpose gluten-free flour was used in this recipe, which comes from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in 5 by Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. A great book for any GF baker you know!
However, any all purpose gluten-free flour blend will work here. Just be sure your particular brand contains psyllium husk, xanthan gum or guar gum. We’ve had success with both Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-free Baking Flour.
About Vegan Chocolate
Chocolate is made from cacao beans. While cacao beans are naturally vegan friendly, most conventional chocolate is not, and includes dairy in some form. As such, look for a chocolate brand that has the “V” symbol on the package.
It’s worth noting that a lot of of dark chocolate is unintentionally vegan friendly, however, check the ingredients to make sure. Many won’t be labeled as vegan but are in any case, especially the very dark chocolates (70% plus).
Some brands that carry vegan-friendly chocolate include Green & Blacks, Divine Treasures Chocolate, and Enjoy Life Brand (not sponsored).
Use any spices you like here. A spice mix will work well (like lebkuchen or gingerbread spice) in place of the cinnamon and ginger if you prefer. Nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves are all nice additions.
If you can’t get molasses, date syrup or dark honey are good substitutions. A darker maple syrup can be used too, which will result in a lighter tasting cake.
We use olive oil in this cake, but melted coconut oil can be used in its place if you prefer. The end texture of the cooled cake is slightly denser when using coconut oil. You can also use melted butter if dairy isn’t an issue.
There’s a good chance that an equal amount of white flour can be used instead of the GF blend, but we haven’t tried it. Since it’s a 1:1 mix it should hypothetically work the other way, too.
More Holiday Recipes
Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cake
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Loaf pan
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Wire rack
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond, or soy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 ¼ cups gluten-free all purpose flour*
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup fancy molasses
- ¼ cup coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease a loaf pan. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper and then lightly grease the parchment. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the almond milk, ground flax, and apple cider vinegar. The mixture should be foamy. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a larger bowl, sift the gluten-free all purpose flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
- Add the flax and milk mixture, coconut oil, applesauce, molasses, maple sugar, vanilla, and chocolate chunks. Combine just until the mixture comes together.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake is baked once it is deeply golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the loaf pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the glaze
- Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla together until completely smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.
- Spoon and spread over the room temperature cake. Enjoy!
This post was first published on November 19, 2014. The text has been most recently updated as of November 2020.