A moist, dense, and rich homemade gluten-free spice cake that is filled with comforting fall spices. It’s quick and easy to make and doesn’t require a mixer.
The cake is great by itself, with a dusting of sugar, or with a creamy dairy-free frosting. It’s going to be your new favorite winter and holiday cake. Perfect for cold weather days and elegant enough to be served as a Christmas dessert.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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To be fair some might call this a molasses cake. And others will swear it is a gingerbread cake. It certainly is more "spicy" than your average spice cake recipe.
I think this cake recipe is where the Venn diagram of those three cakes intersect. It the perfect cake to make when you can't decide between a spice cake, molasses cake, and a gingerbread cake.
This cake may be rich and intensely flavored but there are no hidden surprises when it comes to the ingredients.
- Gluten-free flour blend- Any blend will do as the base of this cake is fairly basic. I prefer making my own blend from the Americas Test Kitchen cookbook or using Pillsbury's all-purpose blend for baking. If you are baking this cake for someone else and don't normally bake gluten-free, I suggest buying a blend like Pillsbury or Bob's Red Mill that already includes the xanthan gum.
- Xanthan gum- Must be added to all gluten-free baked goods to mimic the structure of gluten.
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Spices -We use all ground dried spices in this cake including ginger, cinnamon, and clove.
- Kosher Salt
- Blackstrap molasses- This is going to be a more bitter version of molasses, making the cake less sweet overall. If you want a sweeter less exotic cake, try old-fashion molasses. It is delicious either way!
- Coconut sugar- I typically always bake with coconut sugar not just for its lower glycemic index but also for its earthy flavor. Any granulated sugar works in this recipe. A 1:1 ratio.
- Dairy-free butter- We use vegan butter from Earth Balance but any dairy-free butter will work. Not dairy-free? Regular unsalted butter can be used in this recipe.
- Eggs- To make this recipe vegan substitute flax eggs by combining one tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water. This is for one flax egg so you will need to double for this recipe.
- Almond milk- Any unsweetened non-dairy milk. Regular milk works in this recipe.
- Vanilla extract- Or use vanilla powder or vanillas paste.
- Garnishes- All garnishes are optional. I prefer powdered sugar and our candied orange slices but without the chocolate. Other options include whipped cream, dairy-free cream cheese or buttermilk frosting, ice cream, or even a dark chocolate drizzle.
This spice cake is a basic gluten free cake recipe. Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, combine and rest. But with a twist. We are going warm our wet ingredients to dissolve the sugar in the molasses.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 F degrees and lightly grease a springform pan. You can use a regular cake pan if you don't have spring form, just be careful when turning it out.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Place a medium-sized saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the molasses and sugar, whisking constantly until sugar has melted. Whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat.
Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into the warm mixture. Whisking constantly. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the dry ingredients.
Whisk until no lumps remain. The batter will be thick. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes to hydrate the flours.
Pour the batter into the springform pan and evenly spread. Bake until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Garnish just before serving with powdered sugar and a candied orange slice.
🎂 Spice Cake Tips
- This cake comes together quickly, pre-measure all your ingredients before starting.
- Let your ingredients, especially your eggs come to room temperature.
- Don't skip resting the batter. Gluten-free cakes benefit from rehydrating the flours before cooking.
- Cook 5 minutes after the clean toothpick test for a crumble texture.
- Allow the cake to completely cool in the pan. This could take a couple of hours.
- For an extra gingery cake, add 1/3 cup diced candied ginger to the batter.
🍰 How to Store Your Cake
This cake is gluten and free and dairy-free. As long as it is not frosted the cake can be kept at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Cover with cake cloche or loosely cover with plastic wrap.
🧁 Related Recipes
Looking for more delicious gluten-free desserts? Here are a few of our favorite dessert recipes!
Gluten-Free Spice Cake
- Springform pan
- Large mixing bowl
- 3 cups gluten-free flour blend
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum omit if your flour already has
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground clove
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses*
- 1 cup coconut sugar or sub white
- 12 tbsp vegan or regular butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened sub regular milk or any dairy-free variety
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- powdered sugar optional garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly butter a springform pan.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place a medium-sized saucepan over low to medium heat. Add molasses and sugar. Whisk constantly until sugar has melted. Whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat.
- Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into the warm mixture. Whisking constantly.
- Slowly pour the warm mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk until no lumps remain. The batter will be thick. Rest the batter 15 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and evenly spread. Bake until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.
- The cake can be kept at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Cover with cake cloche or loosely cover with plastic wrap.
- *If you generally find blackstrap molasses too bitter use regular old fashioned molasses. It will make for a sweeter cake.