This gluten-free gingerbread cake without molasses is an easy and healthy alternative to traditional gingerbread. Baked in a loaf tin, the cake is super moist, flourless and dairy-free with a paleo option. Perfect if you want to bake something to get yourself into a festive mood.
As you will see below, the recipe includes some clever swaps to keep the cake on the healthier side without compromising on taste. At the end of the day, you want your gingerbread cake to be sweet, sticky and spiced with all the Christmas spices.
Healthy gingerbread cake
Developing the recipe for this healthy gingerbread cake wasn’t the easiest feat. I wanted the cake to be gluten-free, lower in sugar and made with as many whole food ingredients as possible. But it still had to be moist, sticky and sweet. It took me multiple attempts, but I’m super happy with the end result.
First, I kept the cake completely flourless, gluten-free and grain-free by using baked potato instead of flour. Potatoes are a good source of potassium and provide starch, so they act as a handy swap for refined flour in this recipe. Using potato instead of flour also stops the cake from drying out and gives it a beautiful moist texture.
Second, I kept the sugar content lower than typical gingerbread cakes by only using one form of sweetener. Gingerbread is usually made with molasses and honey or brown sugar. Instead of this, I just use golden syrup to keep a traditional gingerbread flavor and add just enough to balance out the spices. You can also use maple syrup for a paleo friendly option.
Third, coconut oil replaces butter to keep the gingerbread cake dairy-free. I have no issues with dairy or butter personally, but a lot of people have to avoid dairy. So this dairy-free gingerbread cake recipe is a good option. Instead of a cream cheese frosting or lemon icing, the cake is delicious served with some whipped coconut cream.
What is the difference between gingerbread and ginger cake?
Gingerbread is a broad term used to describe a range of baked goods flavored with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses, honey, treacle or brown sugar. Think gingerbread men, gingerbread cookies, a gingerbread house and gingerbread cake or gingerbread loaf.
Ginger cake usually just means gingerbread in cake or loaf form. A good ginger cake or gingerbread loaf is moist in texture with just the right balance of sweetness and spices. Using baked potato instead of flour in this gluten-free gingerbread cake helps to provide that perfect moist texture.
What are the ingredients of gingerbread?
The main gingerbread ingredients are usually ginger, molasses and honey. Treacle or brown sugar are also often included. For the ginger component, recipes mostly call for ground ginger or ginger powder. Molasses sweetens the gingerbread and also provides a dark brown color. Since molasses has a slightly bitter flavor, honey, treacle or brown sugar are also added to boost the sweetness of the gingerbread.
What can I use instead of molasses?
I use golden syrup instead of molasses in this gingerbread cake recipe. Golden syrup is also known as light treacle and it’s widely available in Australia and the UK. It has a texture similar to honey and makes a great substitute for molasses. To replace the depth of flavor usually provided by molasses, I add a generous amount of spices to the recipe, including ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
Can I use honey instead of golden syrup?
You can certainly use honey instead of golden syrup in this gingerbread recipe. Just keep in mind that honey has quite a strong flavor, so the gingerbread will taste a bit like honey. I have also made this gluten-free ginger cake with maple syrup instead of the golden syrup for a paleo friendly option.
Why was my ginger cake dry?
When a cake turns out dry, it usually means that you added too much flour. If a recipe doesn’t state the amount of flour in grams, it can be very easy to add too much when using cup measures. I wrote a post explaining how this happens and how you can fix it by using a digital food scale.
The good news is that this ginger cake recipe uses baked potato instead of flour, so it’s a lot less likely to dry out. However, I still recommend weighing the baked potato in grams for best results. Food scales are really inexpensive these days and they will help you avoid disappointing baking results.
Ingredients for Gluten Free Gingerbread without Molasses
Red potato: Baked and used instead of flour to keep the cake gluten-free, grain-free and completely flourless. I use red potatoes, which have red skin and yellow flesh.
Golden syrup: To sweeten the cake and provide a classic gingerbread flavor. You can use maple syrup or honey if you prefer.
Coconut oil: Used instead of butter to keep the gingerbread cake dairy-free. We don’t use a lot, so the cake doesn’t taste like coconut.
Vanilla extract: A great addition to any cake. It works really well with the gingerbread spices.
Free-range egg: To bind the cake and hold everything together. I haven’t tested the recipe with an egg substitute, but if you try this I’d love to hear how it goes.
Almond butter: Works with the coconut oil to replace butter. Almond butter gives the cake a darker brown gingerbread color, but you could also use cashew butter or another nut butter if you prefer.
Ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves: These ground spices are my ultimate gingerbread spice mix. Ginger is the key spice, but you can adjust the other spices if you prefer. Mixed spice can be used as an alternative if that’s what you have at home.
Baking powder: To give the cake some lift and to lighten the texture. Make sure your baking powder is within its best before date to ensure that it works properly.
Fine sea salt: Brings out the flavors of the cake. Always essential in my opinion.
More healthy cake recipes
This Gluten Free Apple Cake with Buckwheat Flour is sweetly spiced, nut-free and egg-free.
I also love this Easy Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread, which comes with an amazing maple glaze.
For chocolate cake vibes, this Grain Free Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread is one of my favorite chocolate recipes.
This Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake is a double layer cake that’s also gluten-free and nut-free.
You can find all of my cakes on the Cake Recipes page.
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake Recipe without Molasses
- 18oz / 500g red potatoes (to give 3/4 cup / 180g cooked flesh)
- 1/2 cup / 120ml / 170g golden syrup (see Note 1)
- 1/4 cup / 60ml / 54g coconut oil, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup / 120g almond butter
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1Microwave or bake the potatoes, skin on, until the flesh is soft (see Note 2). Extract 3/4 cup / 180g of the cooked flesh to use in the cake.
2Preheat your oven to 160°C fan-forced / 180°C / 350°F and line a 10 x 20 cm / 4 x 8 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
3Place the cooked potato flesh and remaining cake ingredients into a mixing bowl. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend everything in a food processor.
4Spoon the mixture into the lined tin, spreading it evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5Allow the cake to cool, then transfer to the fridge in an airtight container until ready to eat. Serve on its own or with whipped coconut cream.
Watch how to make it
1. Golden syrup substitutes – You can use maple syrup or honey instead of golden syrup for a paleo friendly option. I talk about why I use golden syrup in the post above.
2. Cooking your potato – Instructions for the microwave and oven methods are below. After cooking, allow the potatoes to cool slightly, then peel off the skin and extract the flesh to measure out for the recipe.
Microwave – Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for about 15 minutes, flipping the potatoes over half way, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the potato slides through easily.
Oven – Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, place on a baking tray and bake in a 180°C fan-forced / 200°C / 400°F oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the potato slides through easily.
3. Storage – Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I say 3 days because this is usually how long cooked potato lasts in the fridge. Alternatively, you can freeze the cake and defrost in the fridge as needed.
Serving size: 1 piece
Energy: 830kJ (198Cal)
Total Fat: 11.5g
Saturated Fat: 5.1g
Total Carbohydrate: 18.7g
Dietary Fibre: 0.6g
Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.