*This post may contain affiliate links. For full disclosure visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.
This is the best vegan ginger cake ever! It’s an easy single-layer cake with fresh ginger topped with caramel buttercream frosting. It’s so fluffy and soft yet rich and moist with a warm and cosy flavour of ginger. It’s perfect as a dessert for tea, and on festive occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Ginger is such a versatile spice you can enjoy in many things – I love using them both in cooking and baking. This is the first official ginger recipe I publish for TCB, and it’s one of the best recipes I’ve ever baked. It’s a ginger cake!
This cake is made with freshly ground ginger to bring out the ginger flavour and is topped with caramel buttercream, which goes perfect with the flavour of the cake. Unlike gingerbread cake recipes, this fresh ginger cake is made without treacle(molasses), yet the texture is so moist and rich thanks to brown sugar, maple syrup, and applesauce. This recipe is easy to make too and you only need simple ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard and fridge!
Recipe overview – why you’ll love this vegan ginger cake recipe
- Level: Easy – it’s a simple single-layer cake!
- Taste: Fresh ginger and caramel
- Texture: Fluffy and moist
- Diet: Plant-based, dairy-free, eggless, nut-free, and can be gluten-free
- Time: 60 mins
- Occasion: Home parties, holiday seasons, and birthdays
Main ingredients and substitutions
Brown sugar: Brown sugar is one of the key ingredients to making the cake soft and moist in texture. You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, either one works great! You can also use other sugars like caster sugar or granulated sugar too, the texture might become less moist but still would taste lovely.
Maple syrup: I love using maple syrup as a sweetener in my autumn recipes! Maple syrup also creates a soft and moist texture in baked goods as well as adding a warm and lovely maple syrup flavour. You can also use other syrups of your choice too such as agave, dates, golden syrup, corn syrup etc.
Fresh ginger: I used fresh ginger for this ginger cake and it turned out perfect!
Applesauce: I used my homemade applesauce but you can use store-bought one too. Applesauce creates a soft and moist texture. You can also substitute for a mashed banana if you don’t have applesauce.
Soy milk: You can use other plant milk of your choice too if you prefer, such as almond, rice, oat, etc.
Vegetable oil: I used vegetable oil to create a moist and rich texture in the cake. You can use grapeseed oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc. You may use melted vegan butter too, it should work fine!
Caramel sauce: I used my homemade caramel sauce but you can use store-bought vegan caramel sauce too.
*I use bone char-free sugars for all of my recipes. I cover the topic in my article Vegan Baking 101. Go to the “Is sugar vegan?” section to learn more!
Recommended equipment for this recipe
Square/rectangular tin: I used my 20cm (8in) square cake tin for this cake recipe. You can use a round one too if you want as long as the dimension is the same.
Grater: Use it to grate the ginger.
Parchment paper: Line your cake tin with parchment paper to make the removal process easier.
*The ingredient list and measurement for this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom.
How to make vegan ginger cake
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients
Preheat the oven to 180°C(350°F).
It’s super simple and easy to make this ginger cake recipe! The first thing to do is mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug or a bowl. Mix the soy milk, vegetable oil, maple syrup, applesauce, and ground ginger together with a whisk until it’s well combined and smooth. Set aside.
Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients and make batter
The next step is mixing the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, corn flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, baking powder, and baking soda with a whisk until well combined and there are no lumps of flour left.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix them with a large wooden spoon or silicon spatula until just combined. No overmixing! Overmixing can form too much gluten in the batter and it can cause the cake to become dense, touch and not fluffy.
Step 3: Bake
Pour the batter into a lined square cake tine and smooth out the top evenly. Bake in the oven for 40 mins until an inserted toothpick in the middle comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5-10 mins until done.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down until it’s not too hot to touch. Carefully remove the cake from the tin, transfer it onto a cooling rack, and let it cool completely.
Step 4: Make the caramel buttercream frosting
While the cake is cooling down, let’s make the caramel buttercream frosting! It’s super easy like the cake too. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the vegan butter until fluffy and creamy, for about 3-5 mins. Add the caramel and beat further until they are incorporated well. Then add one cup of icing sugar at a time and beat until it’s creamy and fluffy. Easy, isn’t it?
Step 5: Assemble
Place the caramel buttercream frosting on the ginger cake and spread it evenly. Drizzle some more caramel on top. Slice and enjoy!
Serving tips and ideas
- Top the cake with your favourite nuts and seeds! I think pecans will be wonderful with the cake.
- Sprinkle some candied ginger for more ginger flavour!
- If you are not feeling buttercream frosting, a simple icing sugar dust on top would be great too.
Expert tips and tricks
Adjust the amount of fresh ginger to your liking
I used 1 tablespoon of freshly ground ginger and thought the ginger flavour was amazing. But my boyfriend thought it could use more ginger so if you want add another tablespoon of ground ginger!
Mix the batter gently
Overmixing the batter causes the gluten to form too much, which leads to a tough, too dense, and not fluffy texture in the cake. This cake has a slightly dense but moist yet soft and fluffy texture and to achieve that do not overmix the batter. If you see little lumps of flour left in the batter, that’s ok! It’ll all incorporate later.
- Try the cake with my other buttercream recipes like coconut buttercream frosting!
- You can add some pecans or walnuts to the batter, it’ll add a nice crunchy texture!
- Or maybe some vegan chocolate chips in the cake, that would make a lovely ginger chocolate chip cake!
How to store
- Refrigerating: You can store the cake in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Carefully wrap the whole cake on a plate tightly with clingfilm or place sliced cakes in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature before serving.
- Freezing: The cake freezes well too if you want to make it in advance for an event. Carefully wrap the cake with clingfilm as a whole or put sliced pieces in a freezer-friendly airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When serving, thaw completely at room temperature or carefully microwave at 5-10 sec intervals until it’s soft again.
Q and A
Can I use brown sugar instead of maple syrup?
I haven’t tried replacing maple syrup with brown sugar, but because the consistency of them is so different, I don’t think it’ll work in this recipe. You can use other liquid sweeteners of your choice though!
Can I make this recipe in a loaf tin?
I think a loaf tin would work. I would bake it for 50-60 mins in the oven and do a toothpick test at the 40,50, and 60 mins marks. The top of cakes tends to get burnt in a loaf tin so cover the top with a sheet of tin foil halfway, around 30-40 mins in, this should prevent the top from being burnt!
Want to master the basics of vegan baking?
Check out Vegan Baking 101 – the beginner’s guide to vegan baking for you to become an excellent vegan baker and familiar with the basics of vegan baking, ingredients, and techniques with useful tips!
You will LOVE this easy vegan ginger cake because it is:
- easy to make
- full of ginger flavour
- perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other festive occasions
- warm and cosy
Want more recipes like this?
Try my other delicious cake and dessert recipes you might enjoy!
Please leave a comment and rate this recipe with 5 stars in the comment section below if you like the recipe! Let me know and tag me @thechestnutbakery on Instagram too. Thank you for making my recipe, friends!