Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Recipe

gluten free chocolate gingerbread
Delicious chocolate gingerbread loaf. Gluten-free yum.

Chocolate Gingerbread, Gluten-Free Goddess Style

In the deep midwinter, I cheer my fragile spirit by baking. I put on Yo Yo Ma and stir cocoa laced batter with a wooden spoon, imagining my fellow gluten-free bakers- all of you- out there- standing in your humble kitchens, beating strange flours and non-traditional ingredients with an odd blend of dread and hope. Crossing fingers and scooping tea bread, cake and muffin batter, rolling cookie dough between nervous palms, praying to the kitchen gods.

By Winter Solstice- I will celebrate my twelfth thirteenth anniversary of living gluten-free. Yep. December 19, 2001 was the day I decided to shun gluten forever. What timing. Right before Christmas. I could have waited until December 26th. Or even the New Year.  But I didn't. 

I couldn't.

As soon as I connected the dots- from my plague of symptoms to their instigator gluten- I couldn't wait to begin my new life. If I had eaten my very last buttery croissant, so be it. If I had unknowingly crunched my last iced sugar cookie, so what. I was done.

Few of us have to make such choices.

Millions of Americans can eat pizza and bagels and Fruit Loops till the cows come home. Donuts and Ding Dongs and frozen pie crusts? No problem. Gluten isn't on their radar, never mind in their daily nomenclature. It's a punch line in a TV sit com. Something chefs and foodies either kvetch about or flirt with, eyeing the growing gluten-free awareness trend as a dietary bandwagon. Or maybe an opportunity to garner a little extra revenue. They're mildly interested, but non-committal. Privately? They're amused. The fad aspect will fade. Eventually.

And those of us with certain genes and blunted villi and itchy wheat-induced rashes will still be here. Living gluten-free. Baking gluten-free. Wheat-free. Day after day. Wrestling with creative ingredients and conjuring kitchen magic for our families, or ourselves, or our newly diagnosed best friend.

We'll survive.

Keeping the faith, one recipe at a time.

slices of gluten free chocolate gingerbread
Slices of dense dark gingerbread, perfect for tea.

On my thirteenth gluten-free anniversary I salute YOU- dear reader. The home cook. The intrepid baker. The mother of a celiac child. The loving parent of an ASD angel. The undiagnosed but obviously sensitive to gluten cake maker. The wheat intolerant cupcake lover. The brother, the sister, the Dad, the grandmother looking for a way to include your celiac loved one in on the festivities, welcoming everyone to your table.

This anniversary recipe is for you.

A rich dark gingerbread infused with cocoa.

This chocolate gingerbread reminds me of pound cake.

Karina's Gluten-Free Chocolate Gingerbread Recipe

Recipe originally published December 2011 by Karina Allrich. 

The taste of this dense and lovely gingerbread smacks delightfully of cocoa and ginger spice. The texture is akin to pound cake. This is a perfect not-too-sweet cake for afternoon tea with your best friend, or an edible sigh-inducing respite from wrapping gifts. Nibble it playing Scrabble by a crackling fire.


1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup cornstarch or potato starch- not potato flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cardamon
2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch ceramic loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper that rises up the long sides of the pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- flours/starches through nutmeg.

Add in the eggs, molasses, coconut oil, non-dairy milk and vanilla extract and beat well, until the batter is smooth. A standing mixer will handle this task best.

Scoop the gingerbread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of the oven for roughly an hour. The top will crack a bit. A cake tester inserted into the center should emerge clean.

Allow the loaf to cool in the pan until it is cooled enough to handle. Gently remove it from the pan (this is where the parchment paper lining comes in handy) and continue to cool on a wire rack.

Slice with a sharp bread knife.

Wrap the loaf well for storing overnight. For longer storage, slice and wrap pieces in foil, bag, and freeze.

Cook time: About 1 hour

Makes one dark and divine gingerbread loaf.

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a slice of delicious gluten free chocolate gingerbread
Chocolate gingerbread is a lovely Midwinter treat.

Karina's Recipe Notes:

The first notation I would like to mention is your choice of loaf pan. When it comes to gluten-free baking, not all loaf pans are created equal. A thin metallic pan just won't do. The outside batter, you see, bakes too rapidly, leaving the center to wallow in gooey, gluten-free stubbornness. If your tea loaves and cakes consistently turn out dampish in the middle- it may be your pan choice. A sturdy ceramic loaf pan heats slowly, evenly, allowing the center of the batter the time it needs to play catch up. Here's the ceramic loaf pan I use.

Another alternative is to try baking tea loaf recipes in mini-loaves. Follow the manufacturer's instruction for baking times.

Now for subbing. If you prefer dairy- use butter and milk. For vegan, use Ener-G Egg Replacer in place of eggs (this particular egg replacer has never let me down; use as instructed on the package).

I am finding coconut oil to be the best butter substitute for baking cakes and muffins and brownies- it gives these gluten-free dairy-free baked goods a rich, lovely texture. If you use another oil, the result may be less rich. We ran out of coconut oil last week and I subbed organic Canola oil in a brownie recipe and it just wasn't the same. It was drier and less fudgy.

And as for flours- I understand some of you cannot use almond meal. I would choose a sweet, medium weight alternative. Perhaps certified gluten-free oat flour or millet flour. Or sorghum flour. Please no white rice flour. It really brings nada to gluten-free recipes.

And as always- use fresh, pungent spices. Not last year's dregs.
For substitutions, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.

PS: We enjoy sugary treats in moderation, don't we darling? Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day.

xox Karina


Marygt said...

This looks decadent!! Do you think you could bake it in an square pan and cut it into squares?

Rebecca said...

Ms. Karina, although I'm not gluten intolerant, I do some cooking for staff lounges at Sci-Fi conventions and some of the staff are gluten intolerant. I've enjoyed what you've been posting and shared with another sci-fi friend who is GI and she's a baker like you and I. So, she was so happy to find you.

The World In A Pot said...

ooh..looks beautiful! never thought of mixing chocolate with gingerbread, sounds and looks lovely.

Angie said...

Two years for me and 1 year 9 months for my daughter being diagnosed celiac. I thought my days of baking were over and I would have to submit to store bought boxed gluten free baked goods. I then found your blog. You have made baking gluten free easy! Everything I have made from your blog has always turned out great. Thank you for all your amazing recipes...and keep them coming:)

Rach said...

Happy Anniversary Karina! This Fall was my 8 year :) you've been a big part of my gluten free life!

Lauren said...

What a delicious way to celebrate 10 years -- thank you for journaling your recipe journey here -- it means to much to all of us! I'm going on 3 years, and it's been so interesting. I'm going to try this out and bring it to the holiday meal we'll be having at my in-law's!

The Vaught's said...

Oh my goodness do I ever love you! You have never let our family down with your gf goodies. Seriously, I have tried several recipes and we LOVE them all. I can't wait to try this one out! You have taught me to be a gluten free, egg free and dairy free baker and I am ever so grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ;)

brenda said...


I just wanted to say "thank you" not only for the amazing recipes but for your beautiful words. I know that every time I read your blog there will be some insight or just joy-filled moment to ponder. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The InTolerant Chef said...

happy healthy anniversary! gingerbread is my daughters favourite cake for her solstice birthday!

sc383 said...


You dear, sweet lady. Thank you so much for your kindness, honesty, and inspiration. I'm approaching 9 years next year. You've kept me motivated to keep trying - in all areas of life :)

Cookin' Canuck said...

Now this is the way to celebrate a momentous occasion. What a lovely gingerbread recipe. By the way, I agree that Yo Yo Ma is a wonderful accompaniment to any baking afternoon.

Kalyn said...

What a beautiful post; I was actually moved to tears when I read it. Congratulations on the 10 years of taking care of your health. xoxo

Jenn M said...

Thank you for such a great blog! I have just recently connected my own dots and this site was my first pick!

Jeanette said...

Love the fine crumb this gingerbread has. Congratulations on 10 years of good health and here's to many more.

claudine said...

FORTY years for me - I only just started blogging about it this year to mark my anniversary :)

Congrats on 10 years of taking good care of yourself Karina!!

Jo said...

This looks like a lovely recipe- chocolate and gingebread, two of my favourite things! I also particularly love your knapkins or wrapping paper beneath the cake! Congratulations on your anniversary.

Becca said...

Chocolate and spice; what a fabulous combination. I have booked marked this recipe to prepare on a grey day when I need a little oomph (and deliciousness to boot).

Your words (and recipes) are always inspiring. Congratulations on ten inspired years of dining sans gluten.

indigoblue said...

I tried this recipe today - to the letter. It was very dry and it seemed like someone forgot to add some sort of sweetener to the recipe - like sugar maybe. Or Agave. At least a little. I am not a big sweet person either, but this tasted like dry cocoa powder with molasses overtones. But not the choclate-y, slightly sweet, gingerbread that I was expecting.

nelda said...

Yum! I just made this and it tastes really good. I didn't have any molasses so I used honey instead. I only used a half cup of brown sugar (by mistake) and left out the xanthan gum. The loaf was cooked within 45 min using my convection oven. Thanks for another great recipe and for your beautiful words.

Monica said...

Thank you again for another wonderful recipe. You not only express your divinity in the kitchen, but you reference the seasonal times in such a sweet,reminding way...thank you for your blog.

linda said...

you hit such a buried nerve with me, buried because i hate to see what a struggle it is...this baking, trying and failing and failing and trying again even with the fails because once in awhile i try and get it right, then cooking weird veggies i've never heard of in ways i don't feel like learning[now vegan and nightshade-free too], and at the same time, hope everyone is happy, feels loved and treasured and cared for in all the familiar tears roll down my cheeks i salute you as my cheerleader, the one i come to when i am tearing out my hair, the one who is always coming up with something to tide me over to the next one, the next moment of uncertainty, of anger, of sadness, of relief i finally know why...thank you again, sweet lady. you hit every spot just right.xx

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes. xox

Indigoblue- There is sweetener in the recipe- a cup of brown sugar and a half cup unsulphured molasses. I agree it's not overly sweet- more like a gingery dark chocolate taste- not sweet like a brownie.


Emily said...

I just made this and I loved it! The spice is perfect and it has just enough sweetness. I made it in little tea loaf pans but maybe Santa will get me a ceramic baker for Christmas!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Congratulations on ten years of reclaiming your life, health and happiness! xo

Kimberley Leanne said...

I made this in a 9 inch cake pan and it was absolutely perfect! SO moist and flavorful! I should add I also made it with coconut milk and without eggs - I used the egg replacer. I also added 2 tbsp of applesauce just for a bit more binding....mmmmmm heavenly!
Thank you once again Karina - and congratulations on 10're an inspiration!! :)

Cynthia Lynn said...

Thank you Karina, I'm looking forward to making this wonderful bread on Saturday!

I usually mix brown and white rice flours 50/50 as this mixture gives a nice, light texture, and I'll use tapioca starch instead of potato starch. I'm really happy to see all the almond meal in this recipe! I use it in EVERY gluten-free baking recipe, whether it's called for or not ... imparts moisture and flavor. Also, I've been making fresh almond milk with soaked blanched almonds ... amazing!

johnandlauraselph said...

so happy to have found your blog. I was just diagnosed this week, Dec 20 so like you I am having to make some holiday choices. Unfortunately I have been a juvenille diabetic for 20 years so this is even more of a diet restriction. My first goal is to learn how to make bread and hopefully continue from there! said...

It is Christmas morning and my family is digging into cinnamon buns, but I'm not lonesome. Oh no, I have this amazing Chocolate Gingerbread for my Christmas morning treat!!! The pan does make a huge difference, I used a super-heavy ceramic loaf pan and my Ener-G egg replacer - this is divine! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes and ongoing advice for successful GF baking. I recommend your blog often to my friends and family. Merry Christmas!

GlutenFreeEmily said...

I just made this for Xmas eve, and it was fabulous! So moist too! It was the first time I had used coconut oil and I was glad I did. Thanks for a great recipe~

tansy said...

looking forward to trying this recipe out!

by the way, where did you get that adorable tissue paper?!

doug said...

Hi Karina, I just made this cake/loaf, or as my son calls it "Chocolate Toast" for the second time last night and I found out that I had fun out of Almond Meal... So I added Coconut flour in it's place. It worked great, but I had to add 12 more tablespoons of milk for a total of 16 tbs of soy milk. The ceramic pan and my oven thermometer have led me back to baking! Finally broke down and bought an oven thermometer, my oven is 5 years old and only 30 degrees F off. I now bake my cakes at 380 on my oven and they bake beautifully. Happy New Year!

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you, Everyone! I'm glad this tickled your fancy (and so many of you have made it- reporting back over on Facebook). I'm thrilled.

Tansy- I found this cute tissue paper at World Market/Cost Plus. I've found some fun props and utensils there. Napkins, too.

Joli said...

This was so absolutely fabulous!!! I made once with and once without dairy (butter/milk). My friends and family ate it so fast i'm on my 3rd loaf in 2 weeks! None of them are gluten free but they adored this, as did I of course :) Thanks!

s@bd said...

Just made this last night - threw in some candied ginger chunks and some cocoa nibs ... Out of this world delicious!

Anonymous said...

I made this for a party where 4 of us are celiacs and it went down a treat even with the non celiacs. Thankyou

murmursofmyheart said...

Thank you, thank you! Can't wait to try this!
Big xxx's and oooo's to you!

Unknown said...

It looks great, I was just wondering what to replace almond flour with and you have answered my question. I have to watch lactose so will have to investigate if cocoa powder has milk/lactose in it.

Anonymous said...

This is utterly divine.

StephanieClairmontRD said...

Hey Karina,

I'm writing about this recipe today on my blog and sending a link back to this post. My husband and I really love this recipe and are happy to share it and your website with my clients and followers!

Stephanie Clairmont, RD

Shahana Begum said...

Hi Karina,

I love your recipes. I am not found of molasses. Can I substitue something else?


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