Dark Moist Spice Cake

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake is the ultimate fall dessert. #vegan #cake #dessert #vegandessertYour kitchen will fill with a divine spicy scent, reminiscent of gingerbread, when you bake this Dark Moist Spice Cake.

Dark Moist Spice Cake

After almost an entire week of temperatures in the high 90s, with humidity to match, these last few days have been rainy and chilly, and frankly a shock. Of couse, rain is not the very powerful hurricane that is expected to hit the Carolinas. The scope of this hurricane is frightening and I hope assistance is in place.

Given this weather, I found myself craving food made with warming spices, and I remembered the Dark Moist Spice Cake from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally.  This is rather plain but very flavorful cake I’ve not made in ages.

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake

Sorghum Molasses

If you have the book (and I hope you do), you’ll find a few changes in the following recipe. Why’d I do that with another tried and true recipe? Well, in my freezer was white and whole spelt flours and I wanted to use them, and I spied the last of the New York City farmers market sorghum molasses in my pantry. I don’t like the taste of molasses from cane, except in very small quantities, but I can eat sorghum molasses right off a spoon.

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake batter in the pan


Spelt is ancient wheat and while it is definitely wheat, a number of wheat sensitive people seem able to tolerate it. I have found that spelt needs a bit more water so I added an extra tablespoon of plant milk (I used almond milk) and found the batter was quite thin but it baked up into a moist and delicious layer.

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake close up in pan

Make this Dark Moist Spice Cake and your kitchen will be filled with a lovely spicy scent, reminiscent of gingerbread. I prefer this as a single layer, served with roasted diced apple, or even chopped raw apples and without a sauce, but a dollop of Maple Tofu Cream, add some ginger powder to the cream if you like. Vanilla Pastry Cream would be divine as would a scoop of non-dairy vanilla or caramel ice cream.

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake cooling

Dark Moist Spice Cake Notes:

  • Instead of whole spelt flour, use whole-wheat pastry flour and sub all-purpose flour for the white spelt. You will find the batter thicker.
  • The liquid ingredients are listed in a particular order so that the thick sweeteners will slip out of the measuring cup.
  • I roasted some sliced apples in the teeniest bit of rice syrup until they were tender. Since I had some blackberries in the fridge and technically it is still summer, they went on the plate too.

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake

Fran Costigan's vegan Dark Moist Spice Cake

Dark Moist Spice Cake

Fran Costigan
Your kitchen will fill with a divine spicy scent, reminiscent of gingerbread, when you bake this Dark Moist Spice Cake. Note: The cake is so moist that the bottom may be a bit sticky. I sprinkle a small amount of organic cane sugar on the serving plate. The bite of crunch is nice.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8 x 8-inch cake (8 servings)


  • 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/ 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons neutral flavored vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sorghum molasses, or use molasses but not blackstrap
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade A dark
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla pure extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat 350 degrees. Oil an 8-inch round cake pan, or use a square. The square cake will be closer to 3/4 inch than 1 inch. Line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.
  • Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Measure both of the flours, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, to the strainer and use a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to aerate.
  • Whisk the oil, molasses, maple syrup, plant milk, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until emulsified. Pour into the dry mixture and whisk until you have a smooth, active batter. It will be thin.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rotate to level the batter. Bang the pan on the counter to pop some of the air bubbles.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is well risen, its sides have pulled away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist, not sticky crumbs. 
  • Cool the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cake and the inside of the pan. Invert onto a rack. Remove the pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert the layer again topside up on a rack. Cool completely.
  • To serve, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with roasted apples or other fruit, Vanilla Pastry Cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Adapted from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, (Book Publishing Company 2006 by Fran Costigan)
Keyword spice cake, vegan cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    • Hi Lillian,
      Pears sound like a good match for this cake, but as I haven’t added any fruit to the batter, I cannot be certain. I do believe it is thick enough. I’d dice the pears not larger than medium, and make sure they are dry, and add them to the top of the unbaked batter. Let us know how it goes.

  • Hi Fran, here in Australia I haven’t come across soughum molasses (but I will have a better look when next in a big town). Is there anything ‘healthy’ other than molasses (which I don’t like the flavour of either!) that I could sub for it?
    PS…have just bought your Vegan Chocolate book and it is divine and have already made the Graham crackers and the ‘Chocolate torte to live for’…….both yummy as!!! Thank-you for your delicious work! 🙂

    • Hi Ro,
      I’m so glad you like Vegan Chocolate book. Do use molasses; just not blackstrap. This is a spice cake. I used molasses in the original recipe


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