If you read my earlier post, you know I am baking my way through the American Cake cookbook. If I can make a good vegan version, I’ll post it on the blog. If I fail, well, I will still talk about the history and how badly I failed. XD But I have good news- this cake was successful!

First lets talk about the history of this cake. Before getting the American Cake book I never knew how American molasses is. Sure it is used in European recipes, but it is used more often in the American colonies since it was so cheap. White sugar was reserved for the upper classes and special occasions. So most Americans bought molasses to sweeten their baked goods.

But there is another aspect of Americaness to molasses. Many Quaker residences boycotted sugar. The sugar industry relied on slave labor, and conditions were considerably worse than slaves in the thirteen colonies. Most slaves were literally worked to death (while in the United States we cruelly let our slaves live long enough to have children and enslave them.) This sugar boycott makes me think about how vegans boycott animal products, and sometimes products that have unethical standards, like chocolate and palm oil. I love learning about historical activism!

In that spirit I TRIED to make the cake palm oil free, but the a lot of the flavor depended on butter. So if you want to be like the colonial quakers, you can try out some palm oil free margarine (which in the states mean Miyoko’s Cultured Butter.) If anyone tries using their own homemade vegan butter, please tell me how the recipe turned out!

Now as usually I can never just make a recipe. No, I had to make this recipes “healthier.” How? Simply using blackstrap molasses instead of regular molasses. You may have heard that blackstrap molasses is much more pungent and it has more vitamins in it. In fact, there is a good amount of calcium in blackstrap. How does this happen? Pretty much molasses is the by product of refined sugar after being boiled a second time. Blackstrap molasses is the result from the third boiling. That means less sugar, and more nutritional goodies.

Although I wouldn’t say this is the most healthy snack, it definitely is helping you out nutritionally. One slice (an eighth of a cake) has almost half of calcium in your daily requirements and almost all of the copper you need! If you want to make it even MORE healthful you could use part whole wheat flour or sub with whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour. I used all purpose unbleached flour.

Spiced Blackstrap Cake
Serves 8
based off colonial American gingerbread cake made vegan
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 2 tbsp flax seed (ground)
  2. 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 cup boiling water
  5. 1 cup blackstrap molasses
  6. 1/2 cup vegan butter (room temperature)
  7. 1/2 cup vegan white sugar
  8. 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  9. 1 1/2 ground ginger
  10. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  11. 1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice
  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease/oil a 9x9 cake pan. Start boiling water.
  2. 2 Mix your ground flax seed with 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water (3/8 cup) Stir and let set.
  3. 3 Once your water boils mix your baking soda with 1 cup boiling water. Make sure baking soda is dissolved and set aside.
  4. 4 Mix together your flax "egg" with rest of the molasses, vegan butter, white sugar, flour, and spices. Mix till just blended. Pour in the hot water mixture and stir to combine.
  5. 5 Pour the batter in the prepared tin. Place into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until cake springs back up when touched.
  6. 6 Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into 8 slices and serve with cocowhip or cashew cream.
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