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Gingerbread Cake

This gluten-free cake is pumpkin, spice and everything nice!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I first tried making my English gingerbread (cake, not cookies) recipe gluten-free but I wasn’t happy with how it turned out. Plus, in the UK we use golden syrup (not corn syrup) and black treacle, (like molasses) which are not easily available. Then I thought that my gluten-free pumpkin bread has the same moistness as gingerbread, so let’s try using ginger rather than pumpkin pie spice. I even asked my wheat-eating girlfriend if she thought I was crazy.

But it was a success! No xanthan gum, which gave this cake an even fluffier texture. I’ve increased the amount of ground ginger and crystallized ginger and used my ginger orange dipping sauce for spring rolls as a glaze… Or butter, rum and pecan sauce. I did use orange juice instead of water and added orange zest in the cake, but didn’t really notice the orange. You can also make this recipe into muffins.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake


  • 1/2 of 15 oz can (8oz, 225g ) roughly 1 cup solid pack pumpkin, not pie filling (ingredient list should only be pumpkin). Freeze second half of can in labeled ziploc bag in freezer.
  • 1c + 2 Tbsp sugar (8 oz, 225g)
  • 1/2c (4oz, 112g) melted coconut oil or neutral vegetable oil. I don’t use canola oil.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 c water or orange juice
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1+1/4 c (5+3/4 oz, 160g) my gluten-free flour mix (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) ground ginger, aka ginger powder or perhaps ginger flour
  • 1/4 c (roughly 1 oz, 28g) chopped crystallized ginger. I had tiny mini chips that seemed to ‘dissolve’ in the cake just leaving ginger flavor behind but no noticeable bits to bite on
  • 1/2 c (2 oz, 55g) almond meal
  • 1 tsp ( 5ml) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) gf baking powder, I use Rumford’s labeled gluten-free, non-GMO and aluminum-free
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2c ( 2oz, 55g) chopped pecans or other nuts


  1. Put pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs, water and vanilla in large mixing bowl and beat well for 2 minutes until air bubbles are visible.
  2. Stir all dry ingredients together, then beat in dry ingredients for 2 minutes. Stir in nuts.
  3. Grease and gluten-free flour (I use plain rice flour as cheaper than gluten-free blends) a 10″ (25cm) Bundt pan and bake in 350*F, 170*C oven for about 45-55 minutes.

I prefer using a Bundt pan, the cake looks prettier than in a loaf pan and with the hole in the middle, the cake cooks more evenly with less chance of a raw center. Cake should be well risen, it will be dark brown because of spices, firm at edges, soft to touch and pulling away from sides. I poke at middle of cake with a fork, since I find that most gluten-free cakes need longer cooking than wheat flour cakes.

Remove from oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Cake keeps fresh for quite a few days, freezes and nukes well.  If cake still feels sticky on side nearest to bottom of pan, then put it back in oven for about 10 more minutes.

Orange-Ginger Sauce:

  • 1/3 c sugar
  • ½ c water
  • a 2 inch piece of whole ginger, including peel, cut into small pieces.


  1. Bring water to a boil, simmer until sugar dissolves, add ginger and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered and don’t allow water to boil away.
  2. Cool and refrigerate overnight if you can.
  3. Remove from fridge, warm until runny, strain out ginger and add 2 tablespoons cheap orange marmalade as this normally contains less and smaller pieces of orange peel. You can also peel and chop ginger finely and then leave the cooked ginger in the sauce for more visual appeal as well as extra burst of ginger flavor when you bite on piece of cooked ginger. Your choice. You can also strain out orange marmalade pieces as well. Your Choice.
  4. Soon over warm cake.

Butter-Rum-Pecan Glaze:

  • ¼ c water
  • ¾ c light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c rum
  • 1/2 c chopped, toasted pecans


  1. Put water, butter and sugar in small non stick pan, gently heat to melt butter and sugar and simmer for a few minutes until sauce like.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in rum and pecans.
  3. Spoon over cake.

My Rice-Free Gluten-Free Flour Blend

I substitute this for one cup of gluten-free mix in recipes.

  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ¼ c tapioca starch from Asian market or Goya or Yoki brand in supermarkets.
  • 2 tbsp amaranth or millet flour: Bob’s Red Mill (millet is roughly one third the price of amaranth, is not so nutritious, but is more readily available.)
  • 2 tbsp sorghum flour: Bob’s Red Mill.

Larger quantity:

  • 1 x 14 oz bag potato starch, which is 3+1/2 cups – that’s the size I can buy
  • 1+3/4 c of Tapioca Starch is 7 oz
  • Just under 1 cup of Amaranth or Millet (actually ¾ c plus 2 Tbsps is 4 oz)
  • Just under 1 cup of Sorghum (actually ¾ c plus 2 Tbsps is 4 oz)

 Making about 7 cups total of mix.


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