Leah Vanderveldt is a wellness writer and recipe developer based in Brooklyn. She’s the author of the cookbooks The New Nourishing and The New Porridge and loves learning and writing about food, travel, body image, meditation, tarot, and much more. She’s the former Food Editor of mindbodygreen.com and is certified in Culinary Nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute. You can find her cooking up vegetable-centric meals and exploring wellness in ways that are affordable, fun, and a little woo-woo over on her blog, The Nourish Exchange and Instagram @leah.vander.
A note from the chef: A wholesome cake recipe for a holiday season usually filled with refined flours and sugars. This gluten-free gingerbread cake is lightly sweetened with iron-rich molasses and coconut sugar and comes together with warm holiday spices and plant-based ingredients like almond milk, coconut oil, and flax seeds.
For a dairy-free frosting made with natural sweetener, I combined a strained coconut yogurt with maple syrup. It’s similar to a cream cheese frosting, but without all the, well, cream cheese.
- 2 cups plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Egg substitute Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 6 tablespoon of water
- 1 ½ cup brown rice flour or almond flour
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pomegranate seeds (optional)
Start the frosting first: Line a fine mesh strainer with a 2 paper towels and place over a bowl so it comfortably sits above the bottom of the bowl. Add the yogurt to the prepared strainer and place in the fridge. Let set for 2 hours or overnight, if you can.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Cover the inside of a square or round cake pan (I used an 8x8-inch square pan) with a thin layer of coconut oil and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl mix together ground flax seeds and water and set aside to let stand (this creates the gel-like consistency that helps as a binder).
In another large mixing bowl, combine all your dry ingredients and mix together with a fork or a whisk. In the medium bowl that has your flax eggs in it, add your wet ingredients and mix together with a fork or whisk until well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Mix together with a rubber spatula until well combined with minimal clumps. This is a slightly thicker mixture than a typical cake mixture, but don’t worry.
Pour this batter into the prepared cake pan. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes until firm and a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle. Let cake cool completely before removing from the cake tin.
Just before you’re ready to serve it, combine the strained coconut yogurt and maple syrup (starting with 3 tablespoons and tasting it, adding more as needed) in other mixing bowl and whip together with an electric mixer or whisk until fluffy.
Top the cake with the frosting just before you’re ready to serve and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if using.