I don’t know about you, but just the words “pear gingerbread cake” make me salivate a bit (especially knowing that this is a gluten free gingerbread cake). In real life, it’s just as good as you imagine it. Not so bad for a recipe stemming from an epic flop, eh?
Let me back up a minute and explain. As I mentioned a while ago, a friend gave me some beautiful Asian pears from his family’s tree. Needless to say, I ignored every warning on the internet about how canning low-acid fruit will kill you, and made a pear vanilla jam from them. Don’t worry, I’m keeping it in the fridge. (Recipe via Marisa at Food in Jars.)
My pears were pretty tart, so I added an extra cup of sugar, and they took almost an hour to cook down from their former crispness. When they were soft and mashed, I stupidly looked at what was obviously jam already, and dumped in my pectin and more sugar. (Because…the recipe said to?) The result was gluey and oversweetened, and I have almost three pints of the stuff.
But when life gives you inedible jam, make cake, right? It just so happens that pectin helps gluten-free things hold together. This gluten free gingerbread cake is dense and moist, without a whiff of apology for being gluten- and dairy-free. You can even sub the eggs with a vegan egg replacer if you let it rest overnight before cutting in.
This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. I love their bow-tied host, and everything they make actually works. ATK blocks their recipes behind a paywall, but I accessed this one via a different site.
Please, please make this cake during the holidays this year.You’re going to need a minute to sit down with something hot and caffeinated, so why not enjoy some cake, too? Molasses, spices, and coffee are a heavenly trio.
- 1/2 c. (85g) brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 c. (240g) gluten-free flours (I used buckwheat, brown rice, and tapioca starch)
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1/2 c. (115g) almond milk
- 1/2 c. (150g) molasses
- 1/2 c. (150g) pear preserves
- 1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 c. (80g) vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten, or equivalent egg replacer
- Oil an 8"x8" pan (glass is preferable) or line with parchment, and set aside. Whisk dry ingredients (brown sugar through xanthan gum)
- Put almond milk, molasses, pear preserves, and ginger in a glass bowl or measuring cup, and microwave on high for 90 seconds. (Alternately, heat on the stove until very hot.) Stir in baking soda, and pour into a mixing bowl before it overflows like a science fair volcano. Allow to cool for two minutes.
- Add molasses mixture to dry ingredients, pour in oil and eggs, and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35-40 minutes, until cake tests done. Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.
- If you use a vegan egg replacer in place of the two eggs, let the cake sit for a day before eating. It will be a little gummy on day one, but the texture improves markedly with a day's patience.