I am not usually a traditionalist… especially about holidays (but this might be a-changing… something about this year…).  However, every year at christmas I do bake up some mean gingerbread; I usually use a classic Joy of Cooking recipe, but because I’ve spent so much time in the kitchen this year I felt confident enough to veganize this great cake.  And indeed! I have created a totally amazing so so so good vegan gingerbread recipe.  I literally giggled a bit to myself when I first tasted it- it really is THAT GOOD!  And the changes make it a wee bit healthier too (well, it is still cake!)- but definitely healthier than store-bought ickies.  I included pureed pumpkin for moisture (I got this idea from babycakes), agave instead of honey, and used a good amount of whole wheat pastry flour, and using flax instead of eggs adds some healthy goodness too.  A note: this recipe is for a gingerbread cake, not little gingerbread people.  But maybe I will work on that too…  And I have included the original recipe if anyone wants to sample that one.

Gingerbread with spiced vanilla frosting (amazing bakery manis version)

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds + 3 tsp water
½ cup molasses
½ cup hot water
1/3 cup oil
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp- 1 tbsp ground ginger
(you decide the spiciness!)
½ tsp seasalt

Heat the oven to 350, and prepare a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and/or oil.

Whisk the ground flaxseeds with the water until it is sticky; let it sit for a minute and then add the oil, sugar, and pumpkin. Mix well, and leave it on the side. In a separate bowl or measuring cup combine the hot water and the molasses. In a larger bowl mix the flours, baking soda, seasalt, spices and toss well. Combine the oil/sugar/pumpkin/flax mixture with the molasses/water, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined, then pour it into your prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

spiced vanilla frosting (adapted from coconut heaven cupcakes in VwaV)

¼ cup vegan margarine at room temperature
¼ cup coconut milk

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice

Whip the margarine until it is fluffy then add the coconut milk, vanilla bean paste and spices; then add powdered sugar about in half cup intervals. Mix well until all the sugar is dissolved. This is a rather melty frosting, so if you want it to be more stable then refrigerate it before using and keep the cake cool before serving… otherwise all the frosting will run off the top of the cake.

Classic Gingerbread (from The Joy of Cooking)
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2½ cups ap flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ cup molasses
½ cup honey
1 cup hot water
½ tsp grated orange rind (optional)

Heat the oven to 350, and prepare a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and/or oil.
Melt the butter and let it cool; add sugar and the egg and beat well.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt and set aside.
Mix together the molasses, honey and hot water (and optional orange rind).
Add sifted and liquid ingredients until blended well. Bake for 1 hour.

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