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Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

I’m taking a break from holiday cookie baking for, like, a minute while I work out some last-minute kinks in how best to wrap all of my holiday cookie gifts. (Are you gifting cookies? Here‘s where I find my boxes.) So consider this chocolate gingerbread cake to be an intermission during gluten-free Christmas cookie-baking event.* It’s a riff on this traditional gluten-free gingerbread cake, but with all due respect to the traditional, it’s way better—without being super rich or anything.

*Oh oh and then I also have a GF Bûche de Noël to share with you later this week. Fancy punctuation optional (I copied & pasted from google). And fancy ingredients need not apply.

This cake is a snap to put together, and gluten-free cake flour keeps it from being dense even though it’s moist and rich (but not too too rich). For extra flair, serve it at your holiday table on small plates, and dust each plated piece separately with confectioners’ sugar. Kapow!

The top doesn’t even crack. It’s just super balanced, unlike some people I know. Okay, unlike me.

Tomorrow, more cookies. That’s what happens after an intermission. There’s more. We’re in the home stretch, so limber up. Oh, and not for nothing, but this cake freezes perfectamundo.

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 servings


6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 ¼ cups (315 g) gluten-free cake flour (254 g high-quality all purpose gluten free flour + 56 g cornstarch)*

1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it

½ cup (40 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Rodelle brand)

1 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar

½ cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons (42 g) unsulphured molasses

6 tablespoons (126 g) pure maple syrup

4 tablespoons (84 g) honey

1 extra-large egg (60 g without shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons (28 g) vegetable oil

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)

*In place of 2 1/4 cups gluten-free cake flour, you can use the same amount, by weight, high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour. Your cake will simply be a bit heavier.


  • Preheat your oven to 325° F. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan, line it with unbleached parchment paper, and set it aside.

  • In a small, microwave safe bowl, place the butter and chopped chocolate, and microwave for 45 seconds at a time at 60% power, stirring in between intervals, until melted and smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool briefly.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the molasses, maple syrup, honey, egg and water, mixing well after each addition. Add the oil, and the melted chocolate and butter mixture, and blend well. The batter will be smooth, and thickly pourable (see the photo). Pour into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles from within the batter.

  • Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with, at most, a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan until firm (about 10 minutes). Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cake is cool, dust with the optional powdered sugar, slice and serve.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! Take the stress out of gluten-free cooking and baking, and support the blog that supports you!

If you liked this recipe, you'll love my new book!

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring [Second Edition]:

125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap

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Comments are closed.

  • December 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    […] glutenfreeonashoestring.com via Mary on […]

  • Mariana_muniz
    December 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Sounds amazing! I’m totally in love with your blog. I’m from Brazil and down here we don’t have much GF options/ingredients. But it happens that EVERY single recipe I’ve done turned out great! Congrats!
    And yes, I’ve just ordered your books so that you can go on doing this great job!

  • December 18, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Sounds Gorgeous! Am so making this. My hubby LOVES anything gingercakish :)

  • December 18, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Sounds Gorgeous! Am so making this! My hubby LOVES gingercake in any form :)

  • Yanica
    December 18, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Ooohhh, this would be awesome topped with maple whipped cream too!!

  • Kelly Elardo
    December 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I know that the cake would be more dense if one does not use cake flour. But do I remember you giving an option to add corn starch to regular gf flour one time? Can we do this here? just curious. 

    • gfshoestring
      December 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Hi, Kelly,
      If you look in the ingredients list, I explain how to make cake flour by adding cornstarch to all purpose gluten-free flour. So, yes. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Kelly Elardo
      December 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Looking in the ingredients list!? Why didn’t I think of that?!! see you’re not the only one not always together.  thank you!!!!

    • Kelly Elardo
      December 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

       BTW not sure if I”m allowed to name product names but I used a dairy free “butter” and it was perfect. 

  • kclark
    December 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Working from home today (sick) and I have ALL the ingredients.  I love gingerbread and then you add chocolate? Ahhh, can’t wait for the kids to see this when they get home from school! 

  • December 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    This looks SO yummy! I am making some dinners for a family whose mom is going through treatment for breast cancer and I wanted to do something seasonal and fun but easy and quick.  And lo and behold, Nicole to the rescue!  And even though they aren’t GFree, your recipes are so yummy that I don’t have to worry about them not liking it.  WOOT!  And thank you SO much for the cake flour instructions; GF cake flour is as uncommon as a TRex around here so knowing how to do it at home is a huge bonus.

    Thanks again!

    • gfshoestring
      December 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      This is definitely season fun easy & quick, Brenda! It is nice to be able to bake GF food good enough that no one knows the difference. That’s the way it should be. Speedy recovery to that mom and her family. 
      xoxo Nicole

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