While searching for an Irish recipe to make for St Patrick's last year I came across several dessert recipes involving Guinness. Last February we made a Chocolate Guinness Cake for a dinner party, so it wasn't the first time we had baked using Guinness. And when I originally found that recipe I stumbled upon a few other recipes that sounded interesting. This was one of them. The other recipe that I really wanted to make was one for Chocolate Guinness Goodness - basically a chocolate pudding recipe with Guinness in it and then fresh Guinness-infused whipped cream on top to mimic a pint of actual Guinness. I don't know if I will actually like the taste of it, but I love the idea. However we decided to make a Guinness Stout Ginger Cake from Gramercy Tavern tonight. Having held onto this recipe for an entire year I was pretty excited to finally have the chance to make it.
Like many gingerbreads, this cake is deep and heavily scented with spices, but not very sweet. Without a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I'm not sure that I would consider this cake to be a dessert. I originally wanted some Haagen-Dazs Five ginger ice cream, but they didn't have any at the store. On second thought, that might have been ginger overload so maybe it's a good thing that we had to substitute Tahitian vanilla gelato. Also according to Alex the spices are almost harsh when you eat the cake by itself. The vanilla gelato helps to tame them a bit. The Guinness and oil kept the cake incredibly moist. They also gave the cake a very fluffy/spongy crumb - almost like devil's food cake, and a wonderful crust on top. This cake would be the perfect dessert for afternoon tea (or coffee) - or the perfect anytime dessert for people who don't like things too sweet. I wish I had read the reviews of the recipe online because if I had, I would have known to pour the batter into two 9x5 loaf pans, rather than just one (the recipe called for just one). Halfway through the baking process I told Alex that I wasn't sure if I liked the burnt/bitter smell of the cake, which we attributed to the molasses. It turns out that the cake basically erupted and overflowed all over the oven. And then the excess batter burnt to a crisp, which meant that when we opened the oven the first thing we saw and smelled was cake cinders. Oops. Next time if I make this recipe, I am either going to use two 9x5 pans, or a large bundt pan so that we avoid the smell of burnt cake and the subsequent cleanup. Also, you need to watch the Guinness-molasses mixture while boiling it because it goes from simmering, to boiling over in a heartbeat. Apparently this recipe is prone to overflowing in all kinds of ways. Luckily Alex was watching ours so he prevented that mess from crusting itself to our stove top.
Recipe after the jump!
Guinness Stout Ginger Cake
The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern
By Claudia Flemming
Available on Epicurious
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh gingerroot
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan (I would recommend the Bundt pan, or two 9x5-inch loaf pans because if you only use one loaf pan it will overflow while baking).
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.