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This gingerbread loaf is soft, spiced to perfection, and drizzled with an irresistible cream cheese icing. It’s also dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, and naturally vegan! This is the one ginger-spiced recipe you’ll want to have on your Christmas tables this year.
The History of Gingerbread
The history of gingerbread dates back several centuries and is said to have been brought to Europe by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis. It gained popularity when it reached Sweden in the 1400s, and gingerbread cake was often used to ease indigestion. Gingerbread biscuits were sold as a medicinal cure to monasteries and pharmacies. It quickly spread throughout Europe, with a small town in Shropshire, England, claiming to be the home of gingerbread.
Eventually, European settlers brought gingerbread to America shortly after European colonization, and was first documented in the first printed American cookbook, ‘American Cookery’ in the late 1700s.
Today, gingerbread is used in many recipes, including loaf cakes, cookies, ginger snaps, and more, and is most popular during the Christmas holiday season.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Oil: We use sunflower oil to add moisture and softness to our gingerbread cake, but any neutral oil should do the trick.
- Molasses: This is a thick, dark syrup made during the sugar-making process. We like to use unsulphured molasses and recommend you do the same. Avoid blackstrap molasses for this recipe as well – it is too bitter. We like to use Grandma’s Original Molasses
- Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed meal acts as the egg replacer and helps bind the batter together, providing it structure.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: When this acid reacts with the baking soda, it helps the loaf rise and makes it nice and fluffy.
- Vanilla extract: The sweet vanilla complements the other spices and molasses in this gingerbread loaf!
- Flour: We use all-purpose flour for this recipe. We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free or whole wheat flour, but if you are looking for a wheat-free gingerbread loaf, try our Vegan & Gluten-Free Gingerbread Loaf recipe.
- Sugar: You’ll need light brown sugar for the loaf cake and powdered sugar to make the dairy-free cream cheese icing. To ensure that the sugar you are using is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, we recommend using an organic variety.
- Baking Powder and Soda: You’ll need baking powder and baking soda for this recipe. The powder will raise the loaf, and then soda will alkalize the batter, encouraging it to brown to perfection!
- Spices: To create the perfect gingerbread flavor, we’ve combined ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. If you find one, you could also use a pre-mixed gingerbread spice mix.
- Cream Cheese: Our favorite dairy-free cream cheese to use in cream cheese frosting recipes in by Kite Hill. It’s made from almonds, so if you are allergic to nuts, opt for a nut-free brand such as Tofutti. This can change the consistency of the frosting, but it will still taste delicious!
- Vegan Butter: Any dairy-free stick butter will do the trick. We like to use either Country Crock Plant Butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks. We don’t recommend using a buttery spread from a tub as it’s too soft.
- Lemon Juice: Brightens up the flavor of the cream cheese icing!
- Almond Milk: We used our homemade vegan almond milk to help loosen the icing to our desired consistency. If you are allergic to nuts, use unsweetened oat milk or soy milk.
How to Make this Homemade Gingerbread Loaf
- Prepare your loaf pan. We like to lightly grease the pan, but you can also line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and lightly grease the sides of the pan.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, add the sunflower oil, molasses, flaxseed meal, apple cider vinegar, hot water, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and allspice.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones until a cake batter forms. Some lumps are okay!
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Spread smooth and even.
- Bake. Bake the gingerbread loaf for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick runs clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes. Remove the gingerbread loaf from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes in the loaf pan.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vegan cream cheese, softened vegan butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and almond milk as needed.
- Drizzle with icing! Drizzle the loaf with icing and any desired toppings, then slice and serve.
Gingerbread is slightly spicy, warm, and robust in flavor. It’s typically called “spiced bread” for a reason! If you love the flavor of ginger in recipes such as our Carrot Ginger Smoothie or Ginger Miso Dressing, we think you’ll like the flavor of this gingerbread cake.
Gingerbread and ginger cake are very similar in taste and spices but differ in their origin. Gingerbread has roots in Europe, whereas ginger cake is a very popular Jamaican recipe, using treacle in place of the molasses we commonly use in the United States.
A slice of gingerbread loaf is decadent enough to enjoy with a glass of almond milk or cold brew coffee. Still, you can’t go wrong with serving this loaf alongside a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream or additional toppings such as candied pecans, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, holiday sprinkles or dried citrus!
Leftover gingerbread loaf will store best covered tightly at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To freeze, allow the loaf to cool completely at room temperature, then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and store it uncut in the freezer. Thaw the gingerbread loaf in the refrigerator overnight, then place it on the countertop to come to room temperature. Drizzle with cream cheese icing and desired toppings right before serving.
More Holiday-Inspired Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- Date-Sweetened Vegan Gingerbread Loaf
- Healthy Gingerbread Smoothie
- Pecan Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
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