Rich chocolate and warm spices earn this moist and flavorful chocolate gluten free gingerbread cake a place of honor at your holiday table.
This cake is a riff on our traditional gluten free gingerbread cake. With all due respect to the original, though, this lightly spiced, rich and incredibly moist cake is way better. And it’s not super rich at all.
Don’t worry about the slightly longer than normal list of ingredients! This cake is a snap to put together and all it takes is one bowl, especially if you use a digital kitchen scale to measure out the right amounts of honey, maple syrup, and molasses.
The perfect blend of all purpose gluten free flour and cornstarch keeps this cake from being dense even though it’s moist and rich. I never serve this cake with any sort of frosting, since it has so much flavor and plenty of sweetness on its own.
For extra flair, serve it at your holiday table on small plates, and dust each plated piece separately with confectioners’ sugar. The dusting isn’t for sweetness, but rather for presentation, so of course, it’s optional.
When it comes to the holiday season, we often know in advance what sort of meal and sides we plan to serve. There’s something incredibly comforting for family and friends to know that they can enjoy the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and creamed spinach they look forward to all year.
The holidays also bring an ease for the cook, even if you know you’ll be cooking for days. You know that your tried and true recipes (or mine, if you’re new to being gluten free!) will carry the day.
When it comes to dessert, there have to be cookies for Christmas, and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Squashes like pumpkin mixed with all of the warm spices of the season, like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, make everything feel festive.
I like to bring something related but still somewhat unexpected to the holidays every year, too. This chocolate gluten free gingerbread cake hits all the right notes. Packed with ground cinnamon and ginger, it makes the whole house smell special.
The honey, molasses and maple syrup also bring incredible tenderness and depth of flavor, too. This is the sort of cake that’s so tender, the crumbs stick together and try to form more cake. It’s like they know. I hope you’ll give it a chance to round out your holiday table.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I’ve specifically indicated otherwise, I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions. Here are my best-educated guesses, though, to help those of you who have other dietary restrictions and still want to make this incredibly moist and rich holiday cake.
Dairy-free: I used to make this recipe with a mixture of unsalted butter and oil, but over the years I’ve swapped out the butter for oil and found that I liked the cake even better. That means that, as long as you use dairy-free melted chocolate, the cake is naturally dairy-free. Win!
Egg-free: Since this cake recipe only calls for one egg, I feel pretty good about recommending a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water mixed and allowed to gel) as a substitution. but you’ll have to experiment!
Corn-free: In place of cornstarch, I bet you could use potato starch or arrowroot. If you’re using an all purpose gluten free flour that is already quite high in starch, like Cup4Cup or my mock Cup4Cup, eliminate the cornstarch and use more all purpose gluten free flour in its place.
Click Play ▶️ And Watch Me Make This Chocolate GF Gingerbread Cake
See how incredibly easy it is to mix the dry ingredients, add the wet and beat with a mixer or just a big spoon, and pop it into the oven. Then, get started on making your new signature dessert!
Chocolate Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake
2 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (72 g) cornstarch
1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (42 g) unsulphured molasses
6 tablespoons (126 g) pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons (84 g) honey
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) warm water
8 tablespoons (112 g) neutral oil (I used sunflower oil)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)
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 chopped chocolate and microwave for 45 seconds at a time at 60% power, stirring in between intervals, until melted and smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool briefly.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the molasses, maple syrup, honey, egg, melted chocolate, water and oil, and beat with either a mixer or a large spoon until well-combined.The batter will be smooth, and thickly pourable. 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 it to cool in the 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.
Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe simplified and made naturally dairy-free, photos and video and most text new.