Made with heirloom grains, molasses, plenty of butter, and two types of ginger, this einkorn gingerbread is a favorite wintertime treat. It's easy to make for newcomers to baking with ancient grains. Just mix the batter, pour, and bake.
A favorite on our winter table, this recipe makes an old-fashioned gingerbread cake. It is deliciously moist and light, with an intense gingery flavor touched by other favorite cold-weather spices.
Einkorn's soft texture and rich flavor make it the perfect foundation for gingerbread, and a pop of candied ginger adds a pleasant surprise.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This einkorn gingerbread recipe is easy to make and rich with ginger and other sweet spices for a deep flavor.
- We use fresh ginger in this recipe, which gives the gingerbread a beautiful, vibrant note.
- Candied ginger amplifies the spicy notes in the recipe while also providing a pop of texture.
- Einkorn is an ancient grain (like nature's original wheat) with a delicious flavor, soft texture, and rich nutritional profile.
- It's easy to make ahead and take to your a winter- or holiday-themed potluck.
What's in it?
- Einkorn wheat is an ancient grain with a rich, complex flavor. It has more beta carotene, vitamins, and minerals than modern wheat and is also richer in protein. It makes excellent quick breads and pastries because of its delicate and soft texture. While it comes at a slightly extra cost, its flavor and nutritional profile more than comprise it.
- Sugar gives the gingerbread cake a little sweetness. Opt for minimally processed sugar, such as rapadura or sucanat, because they retain a high mineral content. They also have a richer and more balanced flavor.
- Ginger gives this treat its flavor. We use two varieties: fresh ginger as well as candied ginger. Grated fresh ginger is rich in aromatic compounds that lend a vibrant flavor to the gingerbread, while candied ginger gives it texture.
- Warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom give gingerbread depth and bring balance to ginger's flavor. You can also substitute spice mix, such as pumpkin spice, for the individual spices.
- Molasses lends both light sweetness and depth of flavor to einkorn gingerbread. Opt for light, unsulphured molasses for the best flavor. It is also a mineral-rich sweetener and is packed with iron, calcium, selenium, and other micronutrients.
- Butter and eggs add richness and support the structure of the cake. If you prefer, melted coconut oil is a good stand-in for butter in this recipe.
- Buttermilk provides the liquid component to the recipe, and it also brings acidity and helps the cake rise.
- Baking soda provides the leavening that makes the cake spring up in the oven, producing a delicate, spongy texture.
Where to Find Einkorn Flour
Einkorn flour is a specialty flour and is widely available at many natural foods stores. Jovial Foods is our favorite brand, and you will likely find the best price on Azure Standard. You can buy it in bulk at great prices.
- Line your pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Even if you grease and flour your baking dish, the gingerbread may stick. Parchment paper is a good fix.
- Use the right type of molasses. Light molasses works best because it is sweeter with a softer flavor. Avoid blackstrap molasses, which tends to taste bitter.
- Einkorn flour is tricky to work with and needs less liquid and fat than regular wheat flour. Don't be alarmed if your batter seems too thick or too sticky, as this is normal for einkorn.
- Since einkorn's gluten structure is weak, you can't overmix the batter. So, you can make it by hand with a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl, or you can toss the ingredients into your stand mixer (or even a high-speed blender), and it'll take even less time.
- Freshly ground spices will give the cake a more intense and richer flavor. Using pre-ground spices is fine, but grinding them fresh releases more essential oils into your baked goods. And that means better, bigger flavor.
- Toss the candied ginger or any other dried fruit you're using in a little flour before folding it into the batter. That way, it won't sink to the bottom of the pan while it cooks.
- Use a cooling rack. Like other cakes, gingerbread will continue to cook once it's out of the oven. A cooling rack helps it cool more evenly and prevents fogginess.
Consider serving einkorn gingerbread during the holiday season, when the fragrant aroma of ginger and spice is welcome. We like to dust the gingerbread with a little powdered sugar, but you can also slather it with a maple-infused cream cheese frosting, too.
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Variations + Substitutions
Use powdered ginger if you don't have fresh. 1 ½ teaspoons is a good starting point.
Add more spices. Allspice, coriander, and nutmeg are also delicious additions to einkorn gingerbread. If you adjust the spices, keep the total amount to about 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons), or their flavor may overpower the cake.
Add dried fruit in addition to the candied ginger. Dried apricots and golden raisins also taste delicious when you fold them into the batter. Keep any additional fruit to about ¼ cup total.
Add nuts to the batter. Walnuts are an excellent companion to ginger and other sweet spices. Folding ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter adds a pleasant texture to the cake.
If you don't have whole, unrefined cane sugar, you can substitute dark brown sugar, maple sugar, or coconut sugar.
Sorghum syrup is a delicious alternative to light molasses in this recipe. You could also substitute ¼ cup maple syrup for the molasses, but you may need to cut down on the amount of sugar in the recipe as maple syrup is much sweeter than molasses.
Use whole grain einkorn flour for a portion of the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Whole grains are delicious and give baked goods depth, but they can also make them dense. I recommend substituting no more than 1 cup of einkorn flour with whole-grain flour.
Want more? Check out our other einkorn recipes.
How do I store it?
You can store the gingerbread in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Can I freeze it?
Yes. Cool the cake completely, and then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer it to a resealable plastic freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Is einkorn gluten-free?
No. Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat, and it has a different gluten structure than regular flour. While its gluten is weaker than conventional wheat, it is still present.
Many people with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance find that they handle einkorn well; however, it is not safe for people with celiac disease.