Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread

Is it a pumpkin cake, or pumpkin bread? Does it matter when it's this delicious?

Squares of Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread on a glass cake stand

Serious Eats / Elizabeth Barbone

Why This Recipe Works

  • A mix of molasses, golden syrup, and granulated sugar adds a caramel-like flavor without making the bread too sweet.
  • A full tablespoon of ground ginger makes the bread spicy in a way most pumpkin-spice desserts aren't.
  • Using oil instead of butter gives the bread a moist, tender crumb and adds the benefit of being dairy-free for those who need to avoid dairy.

Right now, sharing a recipe that uses pumpkin feels ridiculous because pumpkin's everywhere. Who wants more pumpkin? Not me. Unless it's this bread. Then I'll totally turn a blind eye to the fact that pumpkin's moment passed about ten minutes ago.

The recipe combines two classic fall quick breads: pumpkin and gingerbread. It grabs the ginger and molasses from a classic gingerbread and adds just enough pumpkin for moistness without adding too much pumpkin flavor. Think of it as a really spicy variation of your favorite pumpkin bread.

Thanks to all the spices and three different types of sugars, the ingredient list for the recipe is long; however, the method isn't. While the oven preheats, whisk together dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and whisk until a batter forms. That's it. The recipe is dairy-free, so you don't even need to worry about softening a stick of butter before making it.

Like most sweet quick breads, this one blurs the line between bread and cake. So I'll leave it up to you to decide whether this recipe makes a cake or a bread. In our house, if I frost it, then it's cake. If I don't, well, then it's a bread. Either way, this bread/cake is yet another tasty way to enjoy pumpkin. Maybe just don't serve it with a pumpkin-spice latte. Because that? That's too much pumpkin.

October 2014

Recipe Details

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread

Active 20 mins
Total 60 mins
Serves 12 servings

Is it a pumpkin cake, or pumpkin bread? Does it matter when it's this delicious?


  • Gluten-free non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) white rice flour
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 13 by-9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Whisk together white rice flour, sugar, sorghum flour, cornstarch, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, eggs, oil, molasses, and golden syrup. Mix until ingredients are thoroughly combined and a smooth batter forms (use medium speed on a handheld mixer or medium-low speed on a stand mixer. If mixing by hand, use a balloon whisk and mix for 2 minutes). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula while mixing.

  3. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool before slicing. Store bread wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 3 to 5 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Special Equipment

Stand mixer or whisk


If you don't have golden syrup (a cane syrup) in your pantry, you can replace it with molasses, bringing the total molasses in the recipe to 3/4 cup.