Gingerbread Spice Cake

Before I say anything else, let me tell you that this recipe is deceptively named. Ironic, isn’t it? It is not really “cake,” which in my mind requires butter, a lot more sugar, frosting if it’s worth my while and definitely not vegetables and fruit. This is more of a bread than a cake and as such, it would be perfect for breakfast given its lightly sweet, spicy flavor. I will also add that I am not a fan of disguising fruits and vegetables and presenting them as anything other than what they are! Nevertheless, I happily stumbled across this recipe in a book I’ve had for years and never cooked from once. The result was moist and full of flavor. Perhaps I should consult this book more often.

Gingerbread Spice Cake

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup 2 small zucchini, pureed (see tips below)
  • 1/2 cup 2 medium carrot, pureed (see tips below)
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • Confectioner’s sugar optional


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a loaf pan by coating it liberally with cooking spray.
  • Mix the flours, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, applesauce and egg. Whisk until well-blended. Add the zucchini, carrot, yogurt, molasses, vanilla, and orange zest to the sugar mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and distribute evenly. Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake 5 minutes in the pan, then invert and allow to cool fully on a wire cooling rack. Dust lightly with confectioners sugar, if desired. Store tightly wrapped.


Quick Tips:
1. Do not let the pureed vegetables deter you from trying this recipe! It’s incredibly easy to do and you can use any leftovers later. If you have a young baby, you can kill two birds with one stone since pureed vegetables are also known as baby food.
2. To prepare the zucchini, roughly chop (skin on) and place in a saucepan with about an inch of water. You want to keep the water to a minimum in order to preserve the vitamins. Heat over medium, bring to a boil and cover. After about 5 minutes, test the zucchini with a fork. It should be very tender. Allow to cool slightly, then puree zucchini with remaining water until smooth in a food processor. You will need 1 cup for this recipe. If you have leftovers, freeze it for later. For the carrot, follow the same method but cook for slightly longer. Be sure to test before you taken them off the stove.
3. If you don’t want to bother with carrot puree, canned pumpkin would be a reasonable stand in. I’ve not yet tried this, but I’m quite confident that the result would be similar based on my prior experiences baking with canned pumpkin.
4. The original recipe called for broccoli puree where I’ve used zucchini. If you try this, let me know how it goes.
*Ms. Seinfeld’s original recipe calls for cloves, but I couldn’t find them in my spice rack so I skipped this ingredient. I thought the cake came out with terrific flavors without, but if you have it you may as well use it. Of course I found the cloves right after the cake went in the oven. Figures.
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