Gluten-Free Gingerbread: a holiday must-have

There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread wafting through the hallways during the holiday season.

We’re big fans of all things gingerbread here – we’ve done an array of recipes, including cookies, bread, scones and even whoopie pies – but our gingerbread cake has to be one of our favorites. It’s tender, moist, and delicate, with just the right amount of spice.

But here’s the problem. We didn’t have a gluten-free version. Until now, that is!

We took our classic recipe and with only a few small tweaks, we were able to recreate our own version of gluten-free gingerbread that tastes just like the traditional version. It’s got that mellow spice, dark caramel flavors from the molasses, and the texture is still light and tender. Now all of our bakers can enjoy a slice of this delicious holiday favorite!

To start this recipe we’ll preheat the oven to 350ºF, as well as grease and flour a 9″ square pan.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread via @kingarthurflour

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:

2 cups King Arthur Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg

Set the bowl aside.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread via @kingarthurflour

Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in a heatproof measuring cup. Once melted, add 3/4 cup molasses and pour this mixture into the dry ingredients.

Stir together to moisten the batter, then add 1/4 cup of water and mix to fully combine.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread via @kingarthurflour

In a separate small bowl, beat together:

1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

Add the milk-egg mixture to the batter and stir to fully combine. The batter should be smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serve the gingerbread warm with confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream!

Gluten-Free Gingerbread via @kingarthurflour

Please bake and review our Gluten-Free Gingerbread recipe.

Print just the recipe.

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She's been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

    1. Alyssa Rimmer, post author

      Hi Sherry,

      You can try making your own buttermilk by using non-dairy milk + 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Mix the mix and lemon juice together and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then you can just use it as you would buttermilk.

      One thing to note is that we have not tested the recipe this way and your bake time might be slightly different. We would love to hear how it turns out, so please stop back and let us know!

      Thanks,
      Alyssa

    2. J. Dunn

      You can try orange juice as a dairy-free substitute for buttermilk. The acidity is similar, and the sugar contents are similar enough to affect browning in the same way. Orange juice will add an orange flavor, of course, but that might be nice in this recipe.

    3. Bonny

      Non-dairy milk plus a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar…. I sub all ‘buttermilk’ with this, and it works beautifully.

    4. Lori

      A good sub for butter would be melted palm shortening, such as Spectrum brand. It’s a healthy fat as opposed to common shortenings like Crisco. You could also use melted coconut oil but the coconut flavor might dominate. A high oleic expeller pressed oil might work, as well, but I think the solid fat gently melted would be best. To get the flavor of butter, you could add a bit of butter flavoring–not ‘natural’, but hey–this is a holiday treat!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Carla, instead of trying to modify this recipe, check out the GF gingerbread cookie recipe we have already tried and tested! Here is the link; http://bit.ly/1Na3zfg. I hope this helps! Bryanna@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could try vegetable shortening or coconut oil for the butter. And flax seed meal hydrated with water for the egg. For every large egg, blend 1 T. of flax meal with 3 T. of water. Allow to thicken for about 5 minutes before using. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  1. Nathaniel Christian

    You should explain, you grease and flour the 9 in pan do it with gluten free-flour, flouring a greased pan with regular wheat flour would make this recipe non gluten-free.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, please do flour with gluten-free flour if you are trying to make this a gluten-free baked good! We will specifically call for this flour in the future. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unfortunately, our baking mix contains baking powder. Our recipe only uses baking soda for leavening, so you will likely get a very different texture in your final baked good. You may certainly try it though by leaving out the soda, xanthan gum and cut the salt in half. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Leola, we do have a few wonderful gingerbread recipes that are not gluten-free. You might like our Hot and Sweet Gingerbread recipe or this recipe for Gingerbread which can be made with white whole wheat flour. Xanthan gum is a stabilizer necessary in gluten-free baking to help give structure to these baked goods. Barb@KAF

  2. Jennifer

    I work at the local renaissance faire and am in charge of supplying the Queen’s Feast table with food. The actress who plays the queen is gluten intolerant. The first time I made her this, she asked me to save what she didn’t have time to eat and she ate it later on her break. She also requested that it come back again. Several others had it as well and it is now considered one of my signature “yummy desserts”. Thank you, King Arthur, for these wonderful recipes! This celiac and her gluten-intolerant friends are very grateful. 🙂

    Reply
  3. SHARON

    Can this recipe be used in one of the holiday cake molds( i.e. NordicWare Hansel & Gretel house cake pan) and if so, is one recipe enough?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This recipe as written is baked in a 9″ square pan. Most shaped pans should be filled no more than 3/4 full for best results – sadly, we can’t find info on the Hansel and Gretel house pan you cited, so we’re hoping you saved the instructions or recipe to also act as your guide. Happy GF Baking! Irene@KAF

  4. M Weber

    I have another brand of all purpose gf flour. It does not contain baking powder. Do you have a recommendation on how much baking powder to add? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This recipe calls for our Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose flour, which also does not have baking powder in it, so you don’t need to add baking powder. Baking soda is the leavening agent in this recipe. Barb@KAF

  5. Gwen

    I made this just as the recipe says and it was AMAZING!!! My husband loved it too. It turned out beautiful; even better the next day. I will be making it again & again. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  6. cecilia Stein

    I made this yesterday. I need to follow gluten free, but my husband and my friend don’t, and they loved it. (I did, too.) Excellent recipe. I used Saco buttermilk powder. I added the 4 T powder with the dry ingredients, and added the cup of water required for the powder along with the molasses. This is in addition to the water called for in the recipe.
    Thanks so much. I was really craving a good gingerbread cake. (Served with homemade lemon sauce.)

    Reply
  7. Linda Olson

    I know you suggest serving this warm, but can you make a day ahead? Do the flavors develop like regular gingerbread. I want to make this ahead for Christmas Eve and just carefully reheat.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Linda, you sure can make this a day head of time and serve at room temperature if you prefer. We like to enjoy a slice that is warm next to a cup of hot cocoa, but it will be delicious either way! Enjoy and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  8. Beth

    I use powder Buttermilk as a sub. for liquid Buttermilk I mix it with powder milk also on the Xanthan says to add 1/4 teaspoon of it to your powder milk,

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for gingerbread uses two tablespoons of ground ginger, plus one tablespoon of fresh grated ginger in an 8-inch square pan. I love my gingerbread extra spicy, but I’m newly diagnosed with celiac and need to follow this recipe. Can I up the amount of ginger significantly/add in some fresh ginger? Or will this somehow ruin everything?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Make the recipe as written the first test drive out – then you’ll be able to experience the taste and texture of the recipe. The next test drive of the recipe is where you can make additions, deletions or other tweaks to match your flavor preferences. It may be best to sneak up on those tablespoon amounts gradually by starting with teaspoons of fresh and ground ginger. Enjoy the tasting journey keeping careful notes of your changes. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kat, I think you could use oil instead of butter, but you might want to aim for a mild-flavored oil, so you don’t disturb the ginger taste! Bryanna@KAF

  10. Christy

    I am gluten and dairy free and subbed Smart Balance dairy free butter for the butter and used a cup of almond/coconut milk with vinegar like the other comments suggested. Yummy! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll make it again for sure.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Katherine, the batch size is a little small for a standard 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan as written. You could either choose to make a very shallow Bundt using the recipe as is or umultiply everything by 1.5 to get a more full cake. Hope this helps and happy baking!Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Valerie, it should be about right in size. Just take care to only fill the pan to within about 1 1/4″ of the top rim; and use any leftover batter to make cupcakes. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  11. Chris

    Hey – I’m trying my own gingerbread recipe (made for years with regular flour) with gf flour – why the buttermilk? Is that to compensate for gf flour dryness? I’m trying my second batch (first didn’t rise at a 1-1 ratio) with 1/2 t more baking soda and an additional egg white. Also more beating. We’ll see…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Chris, the leavener in this recipe is baking soda, which will react with molasses (because it’s acidic). Buttermilk is used instead of regular milk because it’s also acidic. It also adds a pleasant tang to this sweet treat. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  12. LB

    Good lord!! I just made this with the alterations you gave for using King Arthur GF Baking Mix instead of King Arthur GF Flour. It is absolutely the best thing EVER!!! I can not recommend it enough. It is moist, yet fluffy, and the taste is divine!!! Wow wow WOW I am super excited!! So many gluten free baked items are just gross. This is one of the best things I’ve made since being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. Thank you!!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so happy we could help make your gf baking a little tastier, LB! Consider it our holiday gift to you! Mollie@KAF

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