Gingerbread Loaf Cake

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So if some of you are wondering if I only deem homemade candy and chocolate appropriate for the holidays, let me change things up for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas. I am seriously in love with gingerbread. Peppermint is all fun and delicious but it gets a little boring. mainly because it’s EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. Peppermint is like the popular girl of Christmas: totally cute and light and fun. White and Red colors! A minty freshness mixed with chocolate! Everyone loves me! Now, gingerbread is the late 20s/early 30s career lady we all aspire to be. She’s cool without being too cool, but always timeless and classy. Obviously delicious, but not overly sweet. Some people don’t like her, but she honestly doesn’t give a f*ck. There’s a cool factor with gingerbread and get on this flavor train because you won’t regret it.

This gingerbread cake is the best. Seriously. It comes from the genius of Claudia Fleming, formerly of the Gramercy Tavern, one of the most iconic restaurants in New York City. I have yet to go and experience it because it’s most definitely for grown ups and if you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of not quite there. I love gingerbread because it isn’t overly sweet but still hearty, delicious, and spicy. If you haven’t realized by now, I’m a huge fan of cooking with alcohol. Now, if you’re worried that the alcohol taste will effect the finished product, fear not. The Guinness adds a robust texture and heartiness without getting you drunk. I will say that this recipe is very finicky. Please, please, follow all directions very carefully. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly to prevent the cake from sinking in the middle, which has happened nearly every other time I’ve made this. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder but I decided to reduce it to 3/4 tsp which was actually perfect. My first batch was rising like a pro and then it sank down in the last five minutes. It was very sad. But this one, perfect. Perfect looking, perfect tasting. Just perfect. I’ve added my own baking notes below, which you can see in italics, to help you along the way. If you’re ready to graduate from cute holiday candy to robust, sophisticated cake, this is the one to do it. No better gingerbread will ever consume your belly.

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Gingerbread Cake
adapted from Gourmet  | February 2000
by Claudia Fleming | Gramercy Tavern, New York, NY

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
  • 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan (I used mini loaf pans) and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
  • Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Make sure you watch this as it has a tendency to boil over and then you are left with a sticky mess on your stove. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a medium sized, separate bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Too much air in this batter can cause our cake/loaf to sink in the middle, and nobody wants that.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 45 minutes. Depending on what kind of pan you use, make sure to watch the oven. My mini loafs took about 45 minutes. But I also made mini cakes and those took 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
  • Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

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