Vegan Sticky Ginger Cake
These bouncy squares of sticky ginger cake are packed full of flavour without the need for any milk, butter or eggs. Get the recipe below.
After my foray into veganism earlier this year I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen trying to perfect vegan baking methods. Milk, butter and eggs are pretty standard ingredients in cakes which makes turning my usual cake recipes vegan a little tricky. Sure there are plenty of cows milk substitutes out there and lots of dairy free spreads, but eggs are a little harder to replace.
I’d also thought that yogurt and buttermilk would also be difficult to replace but since I’ve discovered that you can turn plant milks into buttermilk its opened up a whole new world of vegan baking recipes – this sticky ginger cake is one of them.
To make vegan buttermilk you simply add vinegar or lemon juice to your chosen plant milk and let it sit for a few minutes until it has curdled. Some plant milks do curdle better than others (soy is particularly good) but I’ve done it with almond and hemp milk too. In this cake I replaced regular butter with a non-dairy spread rather than vegetable oil just because it gives a richer flavour.
Eggs are often used in cake recipes to add air bubbles giving it a light, bouncy texture. This recipe uses bicarbonate soda which reacts with the vegan buttermilk to help the cake rise. Just one tip – do NOT open the oven too soon. If you let the temperature of the oven drop, so will the centre of your cake!
If you want to find out more about vegan baking, check out my big vegan baking guide which walks you through every substitute you could need from butter to milk and even cream and yogurt.
Sweet and spicy
Now that we’ve got the technical part of the cake covered lets talk about the flavour! There are 3 heaped teaspoons of ground ginger in this recipe. As much as I love fresh root ginger and crystalised stem ginger I wanted to bake a cake that used ingredients you didn’t need to make a special trip to the shops for. It also uses mixed spice and cinnamon to provide extra warmth.
To balance out the heat of the spices I’ve used not one but three types of sugar. In the sponge you’ll find treacle and dark muscovado sugar. It gives a really deep sweetness making this sticky ginger cake perfect with a cup of coffee or a glug of custard. To finish it off I dust each square with a little icing sugar.
The high sugar content does mean that the cake can catch quite easily so make sure you don’t turn the oven up too high. If you do find the edges are a little caramelised you can always trim these off – they are what I call chef’s perks! It also means that the cake stays quite sticky and moist. No one likes a dry piece of cake and there’s certainly no risk of that here.
Sticky Ginger Cake
- 350 grams plain flour
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 lemon zest only
- 250 ml plant milk e.g. soy, almond or hemp
- 0.5 lemon juice only
- 225 grams dairy-free spread
- 225 grams treacle
- 225 grams dark muscavado sugar
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar for dusting
- Line a 9″ square cake tin with grease proof paper and pre-heat your oven to 150C/300F or gas mark 2.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate soda, ground spices and lemon zest.
- In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the plant milk and lemon juice. Place to one side and let it curdle.
- In the meantime, gently heat the dairy-free spread, treacle and dark muscavado sugar.
- Once the sugars and dairy-free spread have melted together, take off the heat and place to one side to cool slightly.
- Pour the cooled sugar/dairy-free spread mixture and the curdled plant milk into the dry ingredients and whisk.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 – 45 minutes.
- The cake is done once it is springy to the touch or when a skewer placed in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Turn the cake out on to a cooling rack and carefully peel off any grease proof paper.
- Allow to cool before cutting into squares and dusting with the icing sugar.
What if I need to scale this cake up (or down)?
Whether you find yourself with the wrong sized cake tins, or more guests than expected, sometimes you need to adjust a recipe. With the help of my hand guide, find out how to scale any cake recipe both up and down.