How to make old fashioned vegan Gingerbread cake. Now, let’s have a little clarification first. If you have come here looking for Gingerbread People recipes, this is not the page. There might be a page for that come festive time, and if so, I will link to it here. But before you dash off looking for a spicy gingerbread cookie recipe, bookmark this for later. This is an old-fashioned spiced vegan gingerbread cake, moist and a little bit sticky, and will last for ages in the cake tin.
I have always loved the Jamaican Ginger Cake that you can buy in the supermarkets, we used to have it warmed, served with custard, when I was little. My grandad used to have his with tinned pineapple too, rather randomly, but I can imagine that it could actually be really good.
What I don’t remember is it being baked at home, although my paternal grandma (who came from Durham), used to make it, along with Parkin, and pease pudding and all those other stodgy, comforting foods from our history.
So, firstly, gingerbread is not really bread, in much the same way that banana bread isn’t bread, or that ginger nuts don’t contain nuts. In fact, the word gingerbread is a derivative of the old French word, gingebras, which referred to preserved (stem) ginger.
It has entered into almost classical food status over several centuries, and enters our kitchens, and olfactory senses, sometime around Autumn, before reaching it’s yearly peak around Christmas. It then disappears for another year, until the Autumn gingerbread cycle begins once more.
Yes, I have compared the lifecycle of gingerbread to perhaps that of a cicada or some other such natural rarity, so much do I love it. But I am not the only one. Not only are there plenty of British or American recipes gingerbread, we have the French pain d’epices, the German pfefferkuchen, and even the Panamanian yiyinbre. This is without mentioning that virtually every country in Europe also has it’s own version (and of course, each of these versions are the best).
In Grasmere, in the Lake District, there is a tiny but constantly busy Gingerbread Shop, selling their own unique gingerbread recipe. I highly recommend popping in if you are in the Lake District, if you don’t mind queueing and love gingerbread.
My version comes via a couple of sources, Delia Smith’s indispensable Book of Cakes, and Margaret Costa’s equally essential Four Seasons Cookery Books. These are book long out of print, but are full of reliable, delicious and timeless recipes, some of which seem to be forgotten in favour of more exciting things like macarons or brookies.
What I also love about these old fashioned recipes is that they were made with the busy housewife in mind. They are quick to prepare, usually dumping wet ingredients into dry, mixing well, and then baking. Whilst I am not a lazy cook, I am definitely a busy one, and love a recipe that can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.
How do you make Vegan Gingerbread?
- So the recipe that I have amended of course used eggs, as does most traditional baking. Regular readers of my blog will know that I replace egg with either Orgran Egg Replacer or yogurt. I have used the former here because the mixture is already quite wet and sticky, and I don’t want to make it too heavy. I want a light sponge.
- I have replaced the milk with Soya (but please use your own favourite choice of plant-based milk) and Pure spread for the butter element. Again, use your own favourite dairy replacements.
- I have also replaced the treacle/golden syrup (depending on whether you use Delia or Margaret’s recipe) with molasses, as I love the rich flavour.
- Because this gingerbread isn’t overly sweet, I like to add a simple lemon sugar icing, lemon and ginger having a natural affinity. This is optional but I’ve given the recipe below.
Some of my Favourite Things for Vegan Gingerbread
Vegan Gingerbread Cake
- 6" square cake tin, lined (or 7" if you want a shallower cake that but more pieces)
- 170 g Plain Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoon ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Mixed Spice
- pinch Salt
- 60 g Vegan Butter softened
- 60 g Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Molasses
- 2 Orgran Vegan Eggs (2 tbsp powder whisked up with 4 tbsp cold water)
- 170 ml Soy Milk
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
- 110 g Powdered Sugar sieved
- 1 Lemon, juiced (zested first if you want to decorate the cake)
To make the Gingerbread Cake
- Preheat oven to 160c
- Sift together the flour, ginger powder, mixed spice, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl
- In a heatproof mixing jug, warm the molasses, butter and sugar together. I put mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds
- Pour the warmed molasses/butter/sugar mixture into the flour and mix well
- Beat in the vegan egg mixture.
- Gently warm the milk and bicarbonate of soda and beat this into the cake batter
- Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove from tin to a cooling rack.
To make the icing
- Sift the icing sugar into a smallish bowl, then whisk the lemon juice into it until it reaches a thick but spreadable consistency
- Pour over your cooled cake and gently spread with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with lemon zest and candied ginger