Cooking Gluten-Free with Anna

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time for Mormor's Gingerbread Cake

I love everything that contains gingerbread spices; cookies, cakes, quick breads and ice-cream, everything that is loaded with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. And lately, with December fast approaching, I've had the hankering for some good old-fashioned gingerbread. Specifically, my grandmother's mjuka pepparkaka, or bunt cake. I have written down the recipe on the back page of my favorite holiday cookbook, Vinters Goda Ting, The Best of Winter. The cake recipe, one of the few that we still have from my Swedish grandmother, is a treasured memento. My mormor, grandmother, made this cake every year for Julafton, Christmas Eve celebration. It was out of this world, and it had a prominent place on the dessert table, surrounded by plates of cookies, candy, chocolates, apples and clementines.

Mormor's recipe called for lots of heavy cream, sugar (brown and white) and melted butter. She measured these ingredients in a coffee cup that was kept in the baking cupboard; 3 cups of mixed sugars, 3 heavy cream and 1/2 cup of melted butter. There's only one word for the results. OMG. It was totally delicious, light and heavy with spice.

My mom continued with this holiday tradition, and so have I. Except, and this is a big one, it now has to be made gluten-free and converted to American measurements. Yikes. This year, I also wished for a lighter and 'somewhat' healthier cake. I didn't want to end up with the usual gluten-free baking problems; too dense of a cake or too crumbly and dry. How do you skimp on the fat but not texture and flavor? Well, I've found great substitutions for the heavy cream and butter ~ canola oil and apple sauce. Believe it or not, it works and the result is wonderful. The cake is moist and full of spice. Just the way I like it! And if you prefer cupcakes, the recipe can easily be made into 16 delightful cupcakes (another bonus). I recommend frosting them with maple frosting. Bon Appetit ~ Smaklig Måltid!

Mormor's Gingerbread

Makes one cake, or 16 cupcakes with maple frosting


½ cup canola oil

2 large eggs

¾ cup molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup brown rice flour

¾ cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tsp xantham gum

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

1 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

2 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp kosher salt

Crystallized ginger, for decoration, optional

Maple Frosting:

8 oz confectioners’ sugar (1/2 box)

1 egg white

3 tbsp butter, or margarine

2 tsp maple syrup

½ tsp kosher salt

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter a non-stick bunt pan or spray the pan with non-stick canola oil. For cupcakes, line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with 16 paper liners. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the canola oil, eggs, molasses, and vanilla extract until well blended. Add the applesauce and blend on low speed until combined. Whisk together the flours, xantham gum, baking soda, baking powder, ground spices, and salt in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the liquids, beat on low speed until fully incorporated. Pour batter into prepared bunt pan. Or for cupcakes: divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 32-35 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 18-21 minutes. Let the cake or cupcakes cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack for a 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely. For cupcakes; frost with Maple Frosting. Enjoy!

Make Frosting: In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the confectioners’ sugar, egg white, butter, maple syrup, and salt together until smooth and combined, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. For a thinner consistency, add a little more maple syrup.


  1. Jag har också ett favorit recept på mjuk pepparkaka med kaffekopp mått som jag fått av mamma. Bakade till första advent i söndags. Såååå gott.
    Nyfiken på vad xantham gum har för jobb i ditt recept, är det konsistens?



  2. Tack Annelie! Visst är det smarrigt till advent. Xantham Gum håller ihop degen, precis som gluten gör. Det lustiga är att det inte används i Sverige. Där häller man fiber husk i den glutenfriai degen, med samma reslutat. Hjälper med konsistenses. Så resultatet blir mumsigt!