Ugly Christmas Sweater Apple Gingerbread

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

This gingerbread almost didn’t happen. I made it so many times and it kept failing on me, and I was about to give up. Aw heck. But this final result made it all worth it — moist and spicy and sweet. Soft, toothsome. It’s a gingerbread dream.

I’d found a little bag of mini cookie cutters at the flea market and I bought them on a whim with no real plans for them. There was a gingerdude somewhere in there too, but I lost him. I’m sure he’ll turn up when I’m looking for something else. Still — Apatosaurus cookie cutter. 🐪

yes, i realize that is a camel emoji, but i’m pretty sure there’s no dino emoji. so squint and pretend the camel is a dinosaur.

This gingerbread is so very easy. It starts with a basic homemade apple sauce, and then you just throw in some molasses and ginger and other sweet things. I realized after I put it in the oven that I hadn’t put any oil in (which the other recipes did have).  So no extra oil, yay! But it does have quite a bit of added sugar. Legal addictive substances, yay!

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

Speaking of substances, this was also supposed to have rum in it, but I went through all of the rum on the trial runs of this. Part of the rum went into the apple gingerbread, and part of the rum went me. Rum can soothe many a kitchen disaster, but it can also cause them.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

While I’m on the topic of booze, I  just realized it’s legal to sell diluted spirits here. Whhhhattt! That’s no fun. If I’m spending the money on it, I want whatever percentage it left the distillery at. I’m already a cheap date (two drinks and I’m done) so I don’t think it’s a lot of ask for, right? Now I have to be a label hawk on my booze too. Who’s idea was this? Probably some tax driven thing or what not.

I guess this cake is like a good spiced rum, even though it ended up not having any rum in it. It’s full flavored, deep and dark and satisfying. It’s just the thing to bring to your ugly sweater party.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

Ugly Christmas Sweater Apple Gingerbread


  • 6 apples
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tsp
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (I used Rodelle)
  • 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill GF flour in the blue bag
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Chop up 4 1/2 of the apples. Place in a pot over medium heat, with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Snap the cinnamon stick in half and put in in there as well. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and puree till smooth.
  2. While the apples are cooking, carefully cut the remaining 1 1/2 apples into thin slices. Use mini cookie cutters to get shapes out of the slices. Place the shapes in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350
  4. You should have ended up with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce, maybe a little more. You won't end up using all of the sauce.
  5. Combine two cups of the apple sauce, the vanilla, the molasses, the brown sugar, and the ginger.
  6. Combine the flour, salt, baking power, and baking soda.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
  8. Pour batter into a lined pan. Pat the apple cutouts dry, and then arrange on top of the batter. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of the apple pieces
  9. Bake for 45-48 minutes. I baked it for 48, and it came out super moist.
  10. Combine 4 tsp of the apple sauce with 3 tsp brown sugar. Brush over top as a glaze. This step is optional.
  11. Enjoy!

Although I mention two brand names in this recipe, this is not sponsored content. I did receive a free box of Rodelle goodies as part of a giveaway.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

2 thoughts on “Ugly Christmas Sweater Apple Gingerbread

  1. And, aren’t there TWO camel emojis? Like, can’t they get rid of one and add a dino? I totally love this cake Annie, and I love that you named it an ugly sweater gingerbread. Also the rum in the cake sounds good, but rum in a drink just sounds better, so I think if you had to choose that was the right call.

    1. I know! I also want there to be a falafel emoji, even though it would just look like a little brown ball. I need more rum in my drink after this week.

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