This gluten-free Gingerbread Cake is made with a winning combination of almond flour and tapioca flour. Sweetened with coconut sugar, it's a simple moist gingerbread snack cake flavoured with warm spices and hints of orange. Top it with vanilla orange frosting, with cream cheese frosting or simply add a light dusting of confectioner's sugar. It's delicious every way!
❤️ Why you'll love this gingerbread cake recipe
- It's a simple gluten-free gingerbread snack cake recipe, baked in an 8 x 8 pan. No electric mixer needed!
- You can serve it in small 1-inch squares and add to a holiday cookie assortment, or you can cut larger squares and serve it as a dessert cake with a fork.
- Top it with vanilla orange frosting, or simply add a light dusting of confectioner's sugar. It's delicious either way!
- It slices beautifully without crumbling.
This combination of almond flour and tapioca flour works beautifully for gluten-free and grain-free coffee cakes and muffin recipes. I've used it many times, for example, in this Grain-Free Banana Cake with Maple Walnut Streusel and these Gluten-free Sunshine Muffins.
Before we get to the full recipe for this oh-so-delicious gingerbread snack cake, here are a few notes about some of the ingredients.
almond flour: This recipe uses blanched, finely ground almond flour.
tapioca flour: Sometimes called tapioca starch, the two are the same thing.
coconut sugar: a sugar alternative, made from the sap of coconut palms. Coconut sugar may cause a slightly lower rise in blood sugar than table sugar. You can easily substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar.
molasses: provides both sweetness and that gingerbread flavour we love! I avoid blackstrap molasses in this recipe as it overpowers the flavour in this recipe. You can use either fancy molasses or cooking molasses. Both are lighter in flavour making this a kid-friendly gingerbread recipe!
orange zest and juice: remember to zest the orange before you juice it. So much easier!
gingerbread spices: I mix up my own gingerbread spice mix so that I have it on hand for other healthy gingerbread recipes. I've listed the spices you'll need below.
You'll find complete instructions in the recipe card below. This is an easy gingerbread cake recipe. You won't need an electric mixer for the cake portion of this recipe.
- After preheating your oven and preparing your baking pan, whisk the dry ingredients (the two flours, baking soda, salt and spices) together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (the room temperature eggs, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, molasses, coconut oil or butter, and vanilla.)
- Combine the two by adding the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon until completely combined with no traces of flour remaining.
- Use a spatula to transfer the cake batter to the baking pan. Smooth it evenly to the edges of the pan and transfer it to the oven to bake.
Make sure your eggs are at room temperature before combining with the other ingredients. Forgotten to take them out of the fridge? No problem! Put them in warm water for about a minute or so.
To make slicing a frosted cake easier, chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes or so first.
❓Frequently Asked Questions
It's frustrating, isn't it? You think you've followed the recipe exactly, and then . . . your cake either falls while still in the oven or when you take it out.
Here's a checklist for reasons why your cake may have sunk in the middle and how you can prevent your cake from falling:
Underbaking is a common cause. Check for the signs listed in the recipe (for example, "a cake tester comes out clean" or "a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs attached." You can pop it back in the oven for a few minutes to continue baking.
Baking in an oven that's too cold or too hot. The best way to prevent this problem is to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer.
Using too much, or too little leavening agent. Baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable. While it seems logical that adding more leavener would help a cake to rise, the opposite can happen. The cake will rise too quickly and then suddenly fall.
Using the wrong size cake pan. While an 8-inch square pan doesn't seem to be that much smaller than a 9-inch square pan, it's actually about 25% smaller in volume. It may rise and dome, but then fall if the center is still too wet. If the recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, for example, and you only have an 8-inch pan, save some of the batter and cook it in a ramekin or a muffin tin.
And if your cake does fall, use the advice I received from a 7-year-old a while ago. "Just put some icing on it and smooth it out!"
You can make your own gingerbread spice mix and have it handy to make this cake or gingerbread cut-out cookies, gingerbread spiced granola, a healthy chia gingerbread smoothie, or even gingerbread spiced nuts!
Here's the recipe for gingerbread spice mix: Combine 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cloves and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Store in a small jar.
🥶 How to store and freeze
This moist gingerbread cake stores and freezes beautifully, making it a good recipe to make in advance! Store freshly baked cake on the counter for up to 3 days, and in the fridge after that.
You can freeze this cake both frosted or unfrosted in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
🔁 Possible substitutions
I don't recommend making any substitutions for the flour in this gluten-free recipe. This combination of almond flour and tapioca flour works well for muffins, loaves and coffee cakes.
Feel free to use either coconut sugar or brown sugar. I've tested this recipe with both and they're equally delicious. If you use coconut sugar, the cake will be a little darker in colour.
You can add ½ cup of golden raisins or sultana raisins to the batter before baking if you like.
You can simply dust the cooled cake lightly with confectioner's (powdered) sugar instead of frosting it. This cake is very moist and it doesn't need icing. That said, it's incredibly delicious with a thin layer of vanilla orange frosting!
And if you prefer cream cheese frosting, you'll find my recipe for it in Almond Flour Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Enjoy every bite!
Love gingerbread flavours? Check these 6 Easy Gingerbread Recipes for more inspiration!
🗒 More gluten-free cake recipes
When you make this recipe, please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you! Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox!
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large eggs at room temperature,
- ½ cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- ¼ cup fancy molasses, or cooking molasses
- ¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut oil, or butter melted and cooled
Vanilla Orange Frosting
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoons orange zest
- 2- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a little hanging over the sides so you can remove the cake easily once it has baked.
- In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the room temperature eggs, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, molasses, melted coconut oil (or butter) and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined 8-inch square baking pan. Use a spatula to smooth it evenly to the edges of the pan.
- Bake at 350°F. for 25 - 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Slide the parchment paper out from underneath the cake. Cool completely before frosting or dusting with confectioner's sugar.
Vanilla Orange Frosting
- Beat room temperature softened butter with confectioner's sugar, adding half a cup at a time. Add the orange zest and vanilla, then add the orange juice, a tablespoon at a time until you've reached the desired consistency.
- Frost the cake, once it has completely cooled.