Tuesday, January 8, 2013

best gingerbread ever [vegan, gluten free]

I was surprised at how shockingly well this gingerbread came out. It is the best gingerbread cake I have ever eaten. Seriously. I think I'm going to have to make this every year for Christmas. I was a bit skeptical about making a gluten-free-vegan cake. But I didn't want to leave out my vegan-dieted cousin (vegan-dieted? Is that even a term?) And I really wanted to be able to eat it too. Thus, a gluten-free-vegan gingerbread cake was born. And, omigosh. It. Was. Good. It came out nothing like I was expecting. I was fully prepared for this experiment to go awry and end up with a dry, dense, crumbly, tasteless gingerbread. But, no. Oh no. This was the exact opposite. Instead, I ended up with a gloriously moist cake with a perfect texture and consistency. Not too light, not too dense. Perfectly in the middle. It smelled absolutely delicious baking in the oven -- the house smelled exactly like Christmas should with warm cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. I think one of the key elements to this gingerbread cake is the lemon zest -- when you dig into the deliciousness, there's just this hint of lemon that goes so perfectly with the ginger. Oh so good. Just writing about it is making me crave a piece. I think that I'm not going to be able to wait until next Christmas to make some more; I might just have to make another cake like right now.

By the way, did you know that it is thought that gingerbread was invented by the Greeks in 2800 BC? Those Greeks. They were so inventive. However, the original meaning of the word gingerbread was quite different than what we think of today. Okay, etymology lesson of the day: gingerbread comes from the Latin word zingiber (meaning ginger) and the Old French word gingebras. Both of these simply referred to preserved ginger. But you can see how it evolved into gingerbread and the delicious cake we all know and love! All right, lesson over. Onto the recipe!

Best Gingerbread Ever
vegan, gluten free, soy free
recipe from Vegetarian Times, adapted to make gluten free

2½ cups all purpose gluten free flour (I like to use Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup nonhydrogenized vegetable shortening (Spectrum's Organic All Vegetable Shortening is fantastic -- and soy free!)
½ cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup of boiling water

First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Sift the gluten-free  flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and cloves in a large bowl. Then, beat the shortening with either a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until it's all nice and smooth. Slowly add in the brown sugar and lemon zest to the shortening and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then, slowly add the mixture of dry ingredients and beat until smooth. In a glass bowl, mix the molasses and vinegar together. Then, stir in 1 cup of boiling water. Slowly add the molasses mixture into the batter. Once that's all set, pour the batter in the parchment-paper lined pan. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test (toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Let the cake cool a bit, then dig in! This cake is even more delicious with some whipped topping. If you're vegan and not concerned about soy, use some soy whip! Or you're vegan and you are concerned about soy/can't have dairy products or soy, then try some rice whip. Or, if you're not concerned at all with what type of topping you put on this delicious gingerbread cake, go for the Cool Whip. Or Reddi Whip. Whatever floats your boat. A lemon sauce would also be delicious! Dig in and enjoy!


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