This is dark and sticky and chewy and heavy and spicy and a zillion other adjectives that end in y that are so overused, they border on hackneyed, but you know what? It is not this cake’s fault. It can’t help being awesome, and fragrant (our living room smells like Christmas), attention-grabbing (nobody puts it in the corner) and totally respecting of your busy schedule (because it tastes even better on days two and three than it did out of the oven).
It took me 32 years to make gingerbread but I got lucky on the first try with this one. It doesn’t hurt that this is from one of the only chefs I break my no-fawning-over-chefs-rule for: Claudia Fleming, back when she was at Gramercy Tavern, one of the only restaurants I break my no-restaurant-worshiping rule over. (These days, she’s at the North Fork Table & Inn, making delicious breakfast scones among other things.) Things just seem to taste better when she baked them first.
I hope that whereever you are, your break is both merry and bright and filled with homemade deliciousness, the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Album, argyle sweaters, egg nog, lasagne and gingerbread houses, or you know, Chinese and a movie. Whatever your version of a perfect Christmas is, I hope you get it.
Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread
[New note, Christmas 2015: This cake gets an update as a Gingerbread Layer Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream and Sugared Cranberries — check it out.]
Just to note, this is no Starbucks gingerbread loaf. It is not mild or docile in any way; this is for that family member who loves old-school, intense gingerbread cakes and complains that they don’t make them like they use to. Or, it’s for people like me, who didn’t even know she liked gingerbread before trying it.
The only snafu I ran into with this recipe is that the cake sunk a bit. Since it was in a bundt pan (flipped upside-down for serving) no one will be the wiser, but I suspect if the problem is anything like the sinking honey cake, there might be too much baking powder in it. You’ll only want to consider dialing it back a pinch if you are subdividing it into a pan that you won’t serve upside down.
Speaking of, I have successfully divided bundt pan recipes into two full-sized loaves before, but haven’t tested it with this recipe yet. If you do, let us know.
1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 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
Accompaniment: Unsweetened whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. (She is not kidding about this. I used a nonstick pan with a butter/flour spray and still lost a chunk of cake. I will be more generous next time.)
Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into bundt pan 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 50 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.
Do ahead: This gingerbread is better if made a day ahead. It will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature. I am sure it will keep well-wrapped in the freezer even longer.
591 comments on gramercy tavern’s gingerbread
I love gingerbread. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah and everything else! I have long considered your blog to a gift…one that keeps on giving – without guilt! xo, Nan
Can I cupcakes instead of the bundt pan? I know, the cooking time would be shorter, but my son eats pastries inly if they look like cupcakes and have frosting on top 😂.
Thank you so much for all your amazing recipes!
You can make them as cupcakes but definitely keep in mind that they will want to stick to the papers.
PS: it works great in a well buttered and floured springform pan!
wow this looks incredible! i love spicy cakes and cookies but i’ll have to finish my gingerbread and molasses spice cookies before i try out this cake! i’ll get to munching…..
Mmmm… I love gingerbread except that most people make it too mild. This is going on my To Try list!
Definitely going to be making this in the next few days. It sounds fabulous. Merry Christmas Deb!
I must try this – I love spicy, intense flavors!
Thank you, Deb! I was looking all through all my cookbooks and combing the web for a good (read: intense and spicy) gingerbread recipe a few weeks ago, but not much came up. Since we don’t have stout on hand, could regular beer substitute?
Hi Laurie! I think Regular Beer would ruin this Recipe. Guinness has a special flavor to it that regular beer does not. Some stores sell beer by the bottle, so you wouldn’t have to buy a whole six pack. You will love this recipe!
I like the idea of using Guinness. I’ve used it in a chocolate cake, and the bitterness compliments the chocolate very well.
My recipe uses far less sugar: 1/2 c. instead of 2 c. Perhaps this needs the sugar to balance the spiciness?
This is a great recipe, I make it every year. Merry Christmas!
Never heard of oatmeal stout – where do I find that? Cake looks gorgeous – very very holiday-ish feeling! Happy Happy.
Baking as I write.
Nobody does Christmas like the Muppets, that’s for sure.
I must try this. I never thought to put stout in gingerbread but now that I see it here it seems perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Do you think I could substitute a gluten free flour in this recipe? It sounds absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try it at Christmas 🎄❤️
Samantha, I have made this with gluten free flour and it worked well; we even made many, many pans worth as a gluten free dessert for my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary party. It was a big hit!
Sorry this is so late but in case you haven’t tried it yet: Go for it!
Shoshana, what GF flour do you prefer for baking this? I’m having a time finding “the one” that doesn’t have a strange taste.
I made this with Cup for Cup gluten free flour and it turned out really well
My day was indeed filled with John Denver and the Muppets! I love gingerbread, so I’ll have to try this.
Oh dear, I have been looking for the perfect gingerbread recipe for a long time, but I avoid all alcohol for religious reasons (and I’m nearly 8 months into the process of making one of those things with the roly thighs…). Any ideas on getting away without the stout?
try ginger beer
If I just gaze at the picture I can live vicariously. Without actually consuming the calories. Though I’d love to.
You could probably use strong coffee instead of the beer
Hi Deb, this is a different recipe than I use, but I thought I would offer this tip: I always consider baking it as a bundt cake but always go back to a regular flat baking dish/pan (8×8 or 9×12 depending)–my favorite thing about gingerbread is that the top, after it’s cooled for a bit, gets CRISPY. after a bit more cooling it goes back to soft and moist but man, that crispy thing, when the cake is still a little warm, is my favorite part. Also, when I was a kid we ate it with a) salted butter and/or b) sweetened whipped cream. yum.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Deb! Your blog is, in a word, awesome. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into sharing your baking life. Do you think you might have a few spare moments to write a cook book (like all those other bloggers) in ’09?
My serious gingerbread hit this year was Dorie Greenspan’s Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread, with a fudgy chocolate icing to die for. I made it for my cousin’s Christmas eve dinner, along with lemon charlotte russe, your grasshopper brownies (less cream worked out well in the ganaches, btw), World Peace cookies and other assorted wonders from the holiday cookie collection. But I digress. If gingerbread is your thing and you can see it being combined with chocolate, you really need to try Dorie’s recipe. My cousin wouldn’t give me any of the leftovers to take home. Fortunately, I anticipated this, pre-cut the squares small and then didn’t bring all of it over to her house anyway…
hah, i made the exact same thing for Christmas dessert! I will probably post it on my blog later tonight or tomorrow. I split it into two 8 x 8 brownie pans because I wanted to have small squares instead of larger bundt slices. I cooked them for 35 minutes and they came out perfectly.
Oh how wonderful — you DID make it! I absolutely loved this cake — totally kick-ass! :)
Saw it, baked it, and ate it in less than 3 hours. There’s not much leftover to find out if it will taste better tomorrow. Next time I’ll add some fresh ginger for an extra kick. Didn’t have the stout so I substituted Corona beer. (Instead of alcohol, maybe Coca Cola would work?)
Actually, when I made the honey cake, it didn’t sink at all, but the baking powder in Australia may be different. This looks great, but I was just wondering, what is the difference between dark molasses, treacle and golden syrup? I’ve had success substituting them for each other in the past, but do you know if it is suitable at all?
I made a deeply rich and flavorful gingerbread this year also and it was dark, sultry, mysterious and oh so delicious. Our recipes might have been twins except for the stout. I kinda like that idea but then I would have to drink the rest of the bottle and…..oh wait, why is this a problem???
Did you use something in place of the stout? Or just left it out??
Crysrowe…Don’t leave out the Guinness! It is the best part of this Recipe!
here I sit on Christmas night, ready for bed, and wondering if I could send my husband out, already in his pajamas, for some stout so I can make this tonight for tomorrow’s breakfast! Guess not. Bummer.
I LOVE this Recipe! I made it with Guinness last Christmas. This Christmas I wanted to make it in tiny Bundt Pans for my neighbors. Does anyone remember how far the Batter filled the Regular Bundt Pan? Thanks!
Ah ha! finally a recipe I tried before you did! Deb, you are right, this is definately a gingerbread that is intensely flavored from the molassas with a bite from the Ginness and big ginger. My biggest gripe about most other gingerbread recipes was how springy they were; the texture. This one is more like a cake, a nice moist and sticky, spicy cake; more the texture I was looking for. A little too intense for my taste, but I’m glad I made it and would not refuse a piece if offered. Butter Pecan Ice Cream smoothed the way very nicely for me!
This sounds great. I recently made a gingerbread from Bon Appetit (the one for the gingerbread trifle in December’s issue) with Guiness that sounds similar and was fantastic. I’ll file this for next year.
I have had this on my to-make list for years.. thanks for being the advance scout!
Ooh that is one delicious gingerbread you have there! Can still make it for New Year’s Eve! Happy Holidays!
i like this recipe. the cake looks awesome :) i m gonna try this :)
I met your blog by coincidence and since then I have visited often, I find it very interesting.
I SO need to try this. I have been dreaming about gingerbread this year but still haven’t made any. Now I know why…I was waiting for this all along. Yum!
I’ve made this cake for years and agree that it’s wonderful in both flavor and texture. The only tense moment comes when removing from the bundt pan. After a few disasters, I now butter the pan twice before flouring. Also, 5 minutes is just the right time to unmold it. When I’ve waited 10 minutes, I had trouble. I’ve drizzled chocolate ganache on it, or served with lemon sauce. Both are lovely with this terrific cake.
Five years of a private girls’ school, many years ago, of which I have few good memories, and then I read your recipe and – voila! – I remember that their kitchen’s gingerbread was mighty good. Marvelous what memories pop up with a recipe. Thanks so much.
I need to make 50 servings. Probably x it by 3 or 4. How does this recipe expand?
Does black treacle work just as well as molasses?
On Monday I finished my holiday baking (14 different kinds of cookies and 1 confection). I thought I would put baking on hold for a bit, but now you have me pulling out the bunt pan. I might give this a try for New Year’s Day, I think my husband and kids would love it!
Thanks for all of your always great recipes!
We love gingerbread in our house. We serve ours with maple syrup or lemon sauce. I may be putting in bits of crystallized ginger. We get some great ginger here at our local (Canadian)health food store that come from Australia.
Thanks so much for this recipe – looks fabulous (this might be a great New Year’s Day recipe, of course along with the traditional Hoppin’ John).
Anything by Claudia Fleming is a winner. I loved your Sept piece on the North Fork Table & Inn – I have wanted to go there for the longest time. Happy Holidays!
Sounds like a recipe that is pretty bold with rich flavor.
I was surprised to see that you boil the stout and molasses. This is how you make a shoe fly pie, which is nothing more than a moist, wet bottomed cake inside a pie shell with a strudel on the top. Not spicy at all, but sticky and gooey, nonetheless. I hope you have managed to try shoe fly pie.
Sounds like the terrific gingerbread former neighbors, Brits, used to serve with a spoonful of lemon curd on top. Either the cake or the curd was warm. Amazingly good. Thanks for the recipe–will use it next year.
This cake is awesome!
I love gingerbread (actually anything with ginger). I’ll be making this for sure (and yes the muppets and John Denver are singing in the background here at Chiot’s Run!
We love gingerbread cake at our house. :-) It tastes so delicious. My sister likes to put in pieces of crystallized ginger in addition to the usual blend of spices, but I think that makes it a little bit strong. However that may be right up your alley if you love this cake, so I’ll suggest it to you as an idea for the next time you bake this recipe! We find ours at the health food store but considering that you live in NY, you can probably just enter ANY given grocery store and find it there. Lucky you. In our town special ingredients must be procured at stores that are at least an hour or more away. Two hours if it is anything international like Japanese or Indian food.
This sounds divine…I must try it soon! Happy Holidays, and all the best for you and your family.
I made this the day before Christmas and it was a bit of a disaster. I had made it before with great success, but this time the whole thing stuck to the bottom of the bundt pan and turned out the ugliest loaf ever. I am going to try again tomorrow. I used shortening and flour to butter the pan. Any suggestions on what else to do? I will try buttering it twice before flouring and not wait too long before turning it out of the pan. I will keep my fingers crossed, but seeing your success here reminds me that it is possible.
Oh! I LOVE gingerbread. I will have to try this one. Must go and buy the beer. My current favorite is from James McNair’s Cakes, so so good. Just like you described, old school and intense, it calls for 1 1/2 t finely ground black or white pepper! I always serve it with what he calls old fashioned dessert sauce, a thick, sweet, milky sauce. Just in case you want to venture into more gingerbread.
Mmmm…toasted with butter for breakfast the next morning is heavenly.
Looks so gorgeous I will make it soon I hope, but what if I only have light brown sugar should i add more molasses or will the light brown sugar be just fine? Oh I also made the cranberry vanilla coffee cake using crasins instead or frozen, thawed cranberries, and it turned out a little sugary, bust still bery delicious! THANKS!
I have only made it as you see (dark brown sugar) but see no reason light wouldn’t work as a replacement.
What could I add in place of the alcohol? Is coffee really the best substitute (I did a search on it, and coffee came up). I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink.
Update: I looked and looked online for a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated stout substitute and from what I saw, you can substitute just about any liquid in an equal amount, even water. I used grape juice and it turned out just beautifully. (Purists out there are shuddering, I’m sure!)
I would love to make this, but I am perplexed but one thing: every other version of this recipe that I’ve seen (including ones on Epicurious and Food and Wine) use only 1/2 cup each of white and brown sugar. Needless to say, I am a bit confused… Could it be that your recipe has a typo?
See: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/guinness-ginger-cake and http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Guinness-Stout-Ginger-Cake-105881 for other versions of the cake.
Interesting! There seem to be multiple versions of this cake online. The other version on Epicurious also suggests — in addition to swapping half the brown sugar with white sugar — grapeseed oil as an option (not only vegetable oil), uses half a tablespoon of baking soda instead of half a teaspoon and adds one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger at the end. Looks like both work and are raved over, so I am sure whichever you use, you will be pleased with.
Hi again! I ended up making it with coffee + some ground pecans for texture– it’s in the oven now and smells wonderful. One question: does anyone know why the baking soda is whisked into the molasses mixture and not the dry ingredients? It was very entertaining to watch, but I don’t get it.
It might just be there to cut the acidity of the molasses and stout, rather than to provide leavening.
Hi Deb, I’ve admired your blog for some time now! This has been my go-to gingerbread recipe for some time now, and I’ve always run into the same problem with the cake sinking. I think I’ll try reducing the baking powder (per your suggestion) on my next version. Also, the best combo I’ve had is baking the recipe as cupcakes with tangy cream-cheese frosting (on day 2 of course). Simply amazing.
I have never left a comment on any site after better than a year of reading and enjoying so many wonderful blogs from so many talented women. Today, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for sharing your talent and your love for preparing food. It is a blessed person who feeds with joy those that she loves.
I too first tasted gingerbread when I made it for the first time! I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/RecipeDisplay?RID=7) because they’re just so darn reliable. The flavors were stronger than I expected, and even though I was surprised, I was also seriously addicted. I ate the whole pan of moist deliciousness ALL by myself over the course of three days, sliver by sliver.
And so, since then gingerbread has become the absolute ONLY thing I won’t allow myself to bake ever again even though (or rather, because) it was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever made. :(
I made this today in two loaf pans. I greased them with a huge amount of cooking spray (I had tried it in the bundt pan a few days ago and huge chunks had stuck to the pan) and baked for about 40 minutes. No sticking this time. It still fell a tiny bit, but not so much. It’s a sensitive cake, I think keeping the over door closed till the very, very end helped.
i made this from her book a few months ago — i didn’t have a bundt pan, but i used two fancy shaped (star!) pans, served the cakes upside down, and no one knew the cakes sank. i wholeheartedly agree that this cake should not be served on day one, and am extra thrilled that this is the very first recipe in a blog that i follow that i have already made. :)
Jennifer #55..the moisture in the molassas activates the leavening power of the baking soda and it balances acidity in recipes. Once the soda has been added..don’t dally getting the rest of the recipe put together and into the oven. It loses it’s leavening power soon after activation. However, the large quantity of baking powder is activated by heat and moisture (there is some baking soda in baking powder too), and is really the main leavener in this recipe. But still, don’t delay getting it into the oven.
Cookies are the exception, as there isn’t as much liquid to activate baking soda and the leavening isn’t as big a deal as it is in a cake.
The hubby would LOVE this!!!
Score! Something to make in my Christmas-present new bundt pan!
Made the gingerbread cake. It took longer than 50 minutes to bake, maybe closer to 70! Very good, but my family wasn’t that thrilled with it, though I liked it!
Rina, I’d love to try this in cupcake form as you suggested. How long did you bake them? thank you
Thank you for this recipe! I am one of those grumpy old people that complains about gingerbread, and this turned out beautifully. I’m thinking that next year I will make it in mini bundt pans to give as gifts, if I can figure out the conversion in baking time. (Anyone have any suggestions?)
Oh my god those pictures are just to die for. What a sultry version of gingerbread. And I’m very into Guiness cake at the moment, so couldn’t be happier to see that Guiness is the first ingredient!
I’ve decided that most things look better in Bundt form…. across the board.
My family has made gingerbread every Christmas for as many years as I can remember. No Guinness, but it DOES have a buttery caramel sauce and whipped cream topper! Yum!
I have made this a few times and it is our new Christmas tradition. I love the crunchy outside. YUM! We are still eating it 5 days later and it tastes great. Makes me happy!
Reading Rina’s comment that she’s made these successfully as cupcakes and – bingo!- maybe I can now create my holy grail of baked goods: the gingerbread cupcake from Miette in SF.
We just got home from a trip to antwerp, where I tried the loveliest gingernut speculaas (from the famous Philip’s Biscuits on Korte Gasthuisstraat). I wanted the scent of gingerbread in my apartment this afternoon — and, despite what I thought might be some fatal errors, this cake turned out wonderful. my fatal errors: jetlag caused me to 1. forget to add the white sugar (hence, the cake is not too sweet, but I actually like it this way) and 2. forget that I was out of flour, so I used cake flour, but neglected to add an extra tbsp or two to compensate (so my batter was quite liquid, almost terrifyingly so). Lo and behold, the cake still turned out perfect. So good, that I am sending my husband out to buy whipping cream to top it off with a perfect creamy cloud! Thank you!
One quick (and probably very silly) question: is the ground ginger supposed to be fresh ginger or dried ginger? I want to make this (non-alcoholic, swapping coffee for the Guiness) this weekend, and can’t wait to know!!! (can you tell I have never made gingerbread?)
And I must add: I discovered your blog about a month ago (looking for a way to make orangettes… now isn’t that surprising) and have fallen in love! You’re like a foodie soul-mate, except for the aversion to beets.
I live in Paris in a micro-studio apartment/grad-student-dorm-type room and my kitchen – rather kitchenette – is probably smaller than yours (a sink, enough space for a dish rack, no real counter, only one functional electric stovetop, as the second one blows the fusebox when I switch it on, and no oven… poor me!). But I LOVE to cook. I’ve already tried out a few of your recipes (stewed lentils and tomato, orangettes, bean-filled artichokes, one of your endive salads) and have never been disappointed. The best part is that they are such great inspiration (I love to experiment in the kitchen).
In two words: THANK YOU!!! Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration.
I think one of my favorite things about this post is the reference to the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album. But I can’t wait to make the cake!
Dammit… Dammit… Dammit… This recipe has been my secret for about 5 years and now everyone will have it!! Seriously if you are considering this gingerbread you should wonder no more… It is the BEST!!!
Oh and before I forget… I froze this for 9 months and it was still incredible when it was thawed… Even denser than the fresh baked and rested for 3 days…
Thanks Susan (61), I had no idea about the baking soda. It’s interesting that you can’t delay using the mixture, but still have to wait for it to cool down. I guess the baking powder does do most of the work, like you said.
I made this last night for a new years party and loved how spicy it was! I also used light brown sugar, Rogue’s Shakespeare stout, and buttered the heck out of the bundt pan and it came out fine.
Question about the molasses– I used blackstrap because I have a big bottle I’m trying to use up, but the recipe says not too. Why is this and what is the difference for baking? FWIW, the cake tasted great with the blackstrap, but I’ve never made it with regular molasses so I don’t have anything to compare it to.
brought the cake to a small new years gathering. it was the hit of the evening.
Had the cake for dessert tonight, and was beyond thrilled. I have been trying to find a gingerbread that compared to the one at Al Forno in Providence, RI and this recipe finally ended my search! I highly recommend a glass of Merryvale Antigua with it!
This is my very first visit to a Blog!
Just saw Martha’s “Blog Show” from a recording I wish I had seen earlier. I am so excited to find your great site. The gingerbread recipe is unforgivable…do you know how many pounds of weight will be your responsability? Good for you! and sharing such delectable morsels as those I see available here. Who wouldn’t mind trading a little more work at the gym for such yummy mouthfulls.
I’ve recently become a BIG fan of Claudia’s … ever since I had some of her breathtaking desserts and the North Fork Table & Inn. She stole my heart with her Blackberry Cornbread Cake and Sweet Corn Ice-cream!! Thks for sharing another great recipe of hers.
Can’t wait to try this!! Thanks for posting!
I just made this today, and since my bundt pan and I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to sticking, I turned to my loaf pans. Just to be extra safe, I also lined the pans with foil just as I do the square pans when I bake brownies; that way I was able to pull the gingerbread right out, peel off the foil and my loaf pans were spotless. And yes, oth loaves sunk in the middle – well, technically they didn’t sink because they just never rose. I wonder if any difference would be made if I hadn’t used flat Guiness (hubby’s leftover from the night before) and switched the baking powder for additional straight baking soda.
Just from tasting the batter, I know we’ll be eating this with eggnog or pumpkin ice cream, or whipped cream.
I’ve been making this for a few years and it always turns out great. This year I used Anchor Brewing’s Christmas ale — their spiced brown ale — and it was fabulous.
This is my FAVORITE recipe! I found it last year and was in heaven….waited all year just so I could make it again for Christmas. It is to die for!!!
I made this again for Christmas as well, though didn’t have a problem with sinking. I think she does have a warning about opening the oven too early causing this? What a really great cookbook though. All of the many, many things I’ve made from there have been fabulous. I made some really great pistacio saffron cookies from Demolition Desserts, which I highly recommend.
This is INSANELY good! It is too perfect – gorgeous! My mom and I made them into little mini-bundts. We filled the batter up to the top of our mini-bundt built for six pan – they all kind of baked up into each other, not too attractive at first. When we turned them out, besides being beautiful, the little over bake part had created a chewy skirt around the bottom of each that was so chewy and divine, yum yum, lip smacking – mini-skirts rule! (on this ginger bundt that is) Thank you Smitten – try the skirt!
What a coincidence! I use a similar gingerbread recipe with stout and baked it up as cupcakes with lemon-cream cheese frosting for a New Year’s Eve party. The words “insane” and “mouth orgasm” were heard, so I think it was a success. I also made the City Bakery caramel-almond-cranberry tart for the party after reading your post about it. OMG…so good. Thanks for the constant inspiration!
First, this cake is unbelievable. I love it. Spicy but mellow. Deep but not heavy. Really well balanced. Second, I lost the ENTIRE cake to my bundt pan. I fought the bundt pan and lost, badly. I have a scrabbly heap of deliciousness sitting before me. Guess what? I don’t care!!! I made it for the husband and I, not for a get together or anything, so we’re going to hunker down for the weekend with our scrabbly heap of goodness and go to town! :)
Next time, I’m doing it in two foil or parchment lined loaf pans.
This looks amazing. Is there any reason it wouldn’t work if I used blackstrap molasses?
Blackstrap molasses are very bitter. It is not that using them would cause the cake to be a disaster, but it might change the flavor profile into something you do not like.
I make it in the UK using Meridian brand blackstrap molasses, organic spelt flour and dark cane and organic coconut sugars. It’s delicious and not at all bitter!
This cake was great! We had it for breakfast with cream cheese on it. Marvelous!I don’t have a Bundt pan, so I put it in a 9 inch non-stick round buttered and floured with parchment on the bottom, no problem getting it out.
I have made this twice now, the first in a bundt as per directions and the second time (as per Deb’s suggestion) I split the recipe into two loaf pans. Both were incredible!! For the loaf pans I baked for about 40 minutes which was perfect. I froze one loaf after cutting it in half and gave it to my sister in law -thawed and they loved it. You really can’t mess this up, it stays perfectly after baking for a few days and freezes beautifully. They don’t rise very much, so the loafs are a bit flat, but that’s aesthetics more than anything
Tons of butter on the pan is a must however, it will stick to anything! Also a must is serving with freshly whipped cream (maybe with a tiny superfine sugar) Tip-use your immersion blender to whip the cream, changed my life
This is the absolute best gingerbread I have ever made – hands down. I baked it in a silicone loaf pan and it stuck a little (no big deal), but I would butter it next time. I’m also wondering if Reynolds Release foil would do the trick.
I divided the batter between the large loaf pan and a silicone muffin pan and took the muffins out after about 20 minutes. Okay, I confess – I couldn’t even wait for one muffin to cool before I ate it. The aroma was unbelievable, and I had no willpower whatsoever.
My teenage son, who normally does not like gingerbread, ginger cookies, etc., devoured this.
This recipe is a KEEPER!
I made it too and divided it into two loaf pans with great success. I’m living in the Czech Republic right now and I could only find blackstrap molasses. After doing some research about how this would change the flavor I decided to try it anyway and I loved the result! It was dark and densely flavorful and not bitter at all. Excellent recipe.
BEWARE! If you line the pans with foil, make sure it is flush with the sides or it will not cook properly! This seems like a beginner mistake, but I guess I don’t often line w/ foil. Tastes great though.
what is the reason that black strap molasses should not be used?
Claudia Fleming advised against it, feeling it was too strong, I suppose, but I’ve used it over the years and it hasn’t bothered me. I haven’t heard anyone complain that this cake is too bitter or intense.
I love gingerbread! Try serving with fresh apple sauce or pears sauted in butter and brown suger — really over the top yummy with whipped cream!
I used a tablespoon of unsalted butter on the bundt cake pan, and it came out perfectly! Lucky me, I guess? Also, I used a lager (Yuengling) because I didn’t have any Guinness, and it was quite tasty.
I just finally got around to making this. Holy wow is it delicious. I added sliced pears to the bottom of mine and it was super tasty. I stole that idea from the Pearl Bakery in Portland, OR. I have never commented before but I have to tell you I love this blog. Everything I have duplicated has turned out fabulous and I’m always looking here for inspiration.
The sinking in these two cakes you mentioned is from a batter being too liquidy for the ingredients in it that give it structure to keep it up. Also the liquids in both the Honey Cake and the Claudia Fleming cake here are quite volatile.
Honey has enzymes in it that are impossible to kill and do funny things to eggs, for example. Guinness and molasses are extremely high in acid, and if this batter is not the exact right temperature, going into the exact right baking vessel, when all the stars are aligned just so, sinking will occur.
Batters that are basically liquid love shallow baking vessels, because of how heat distributes quickly and evenly through them, making for an even, efficient bake.
These acidic, volatile, liquid batters can’t reach very high, (no matter how many eggs, egg whites or chemical leavening you put in them,) so deep vessels are a struggle. And then you have the dreaded sink because after it struggles to reach, it has not enough structure to keep it there out of the oven, where it relies on structure ( = proteins) around air to keep its crumb intact.
All that said, this is a challenging recipe (I worked at Gramercy Tavern when it was in production) and my hat goes off to you for making it. For St. Patrick’s Day I will be making hundreds of them…
This is one of my favorite winter treats – I always make it as the holidays approach. Once had an elderly friend of my mother-in-law say that it is the closest she’s ever had to the gingerbread her own mother used to make, so I happily passed on the recipe.
Ha! I am now on round TWO of making this in one 24 hour period. I was in a rush the first time and accidentally put twice too much baking soda in it. DISASTER!! It totally boiled over in the oven and was a complete mess. But guess what… we still ate it. And ate it and ate it. It looked like a mangled wreck and was all gooey and weird but it tasted great! So now here I am at one o’clock in the morning making it again…. this time with the RIGHT amount of baking soda. If I can get it out of the pan in one smooth move I will be thrilled. This is a keeper. My family is nuts for anything with molasses, ginger, cardamom, etc. Thanks Deb!
“nteresting! There seem to be multiple versions of this cake online. The other version on Epicurious also suggests — in addition to swapping half the brown sugar with white sugar — grapeseed oil as an option (not only vegetable oil), uses half a tablespoon of baking soda instead of half a teaspoon and adds one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger at the end. Looks like both work and are raved over, so I am sure whichever you use, you will be pleased with.”
the other recipe says 1and a half tsp so maybe your half tsp was someone’s error?
Oh, my goodness. I’m trying out dairy-free recipes for a friend’s party, and this came out just astonishing. I had no problems with cake-loss from my 10-inch Bundt pan on the trial, but I did butter generously.
Yery good cake, with a perfect texture, but quite savory and not very redolent of ginger. I might up the ginger for next time. I did lose a bit off the sides even with much flouring, but sifted powdered sugar hid it perfectly. It does sink in the middle and was a little damp there, even when the rest of the cake was perfectly baked. But once you flip it out it’s really no big deal. I will definitely make again.
I just made this yesterday and it is delicious.
I didn’t feel like going out to get the beer, so I tried coffee as a substitute as someone had suggested. I hadn’t considered the extra acid that coffee would contribute when I added the baking soda- instant science experiment! The foam subsided by the time the mixture cooled, though.
I also used 2 loaf pans instead of a bundt and they worked fine.
The gingerbread was a smashing success at my husband’s birthday dinner party, served with fresh chunky applesauce and a dab of marscapone. I sacrificed my hardly if ever used angel food pan, as the Bundt pan went to Goodwill just prior to finding this fab recipe. With ample butter, it slid out perfectly!
THANK you so much for this absolutely beautiful website. I only wish I lived next door to help out with your o-so-beautiful bebe, watch you cook, and maybe even get a taste of all of these great recipes. THANKS!
Just made this tonight — it’s In. Credible. I used two loaf pans, oiled and floured the heck out of them, and cut the baking powder to one teaspoon. The loaves were still a little liquidy in the center at 40 minutes and I ended up leaving them in the oven for about 55. The loaves came out beautifully, with just a little crumb stuck to the pan, and they’re SO GOOD! I used fresh ginger, a couple of inches of root which probably worked out to 2 Tbsp. once grated. Oh my word. SO GOOD.
The smoke is almost gone from my kitchen.
Clearly my bundt pan wasn’t large enough – everything overflowed and caused mayhem. BUT the gooey bits that weren’t charcoal are good. I’m going to see how a half – cooked gingerbread cake does going back into the oven. I can’t bear to throw it away.
ACK. Use a large pan, this is wonderful gingerbread. :)
If you only cool for 5 minutes the cake will collapse on your counter when you turn it out. Five minutes is not long enough. Take if from me, we were eating gingerbread pieces. The second time I made this I let it sit the pan until it was cool and it turned out fine.
Oh, I just put this in the oven and I have two thoughts: One, I have never licked a bowl so clean….and two, save this recipe for LAST on your Thanksgiving to-do list, because I have polished off the remainder of the Guinness and am now a little too drunk for the resty of my cooking! Anything with Guinness is yummy to me (and molasses, I could drink it-and did when I was little, mixed with milk, yum!). Made the Chocolate Guinness Goodness on the Epicurious site for last year’s St. Pat’s, also YUM with Guinness being a key ingredient. My whole Thanksgiving menu owes its existence to Smitten Kitchen! Happy Thanksgiving.
This is my new favorite cake! my family loves ginger anything and i made this cake for them for the first time over thanksgiving. The cake did not make it past 2.5 days. (honestly, i think it tasted better on day two.) my dad was even picking at the crumbs left on the cake carrier. i did not have any issues with the cake sinking, but i did let it cool for about 10 min before popping it out on to a cooling rack. i will be making this over and over again!
one question, anyone tried baking this receipe in the small/mini bundt cake pans like this? http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Cast-Bundt-Quartet/dp/B001TRDQUO. I think they would make great chirstmas gifts but was not sure about how much batter or the bake time. Thanks!
I need to copy this recipe to my own files because I’ve been here about 50 times to look at it. I made this for our charity christmas bazaar and it was fantastic! I bought only one piece so I’ve been dying for more ever since.
Awesome! And very close to a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe I’ve had for years. However, I have an original style Bundt pan which is large ( 15 cup ). Can anyone advise on expanding the recipe by 1/2? I don’t know enough about the chemistry but am sure you don’t just increase everything. Thanks.
Hi Charles — You would increase everything evenly. I used a 12-cup bundt pan, however, so you might only want to increase it by 1/4, tops.
I made this recipe last week, and it was just as delicious as you promised. I did, however, have MAJOR problems with the cake sticking to my bundt pan, even though I greased and floured it very generously like you recommended. I ended up having a good quarter of the cake stuck to the pan when I inverted it, which resulted in slight kitchen hysteria. Do you think I would have fewer problems next time if I make it in a tube pan? Thanks.
My house smells fantastic right now! Too bad I have to wait until the party tomorrow to try this– but the batter was the best cake batter I’ve ever tasted.
Just finished eating way too much of this. Delicious! I put the batter in 2 loaf pans and thought I was in the clear, but they definitely sank in the last few minutes. I lined the bottom with parchment and generously greased and floured, and had no problem with sticking. I found the cake a little oily for my preference, even after decreasing the oil by a tablespoon or two. I’m wondering if the texture would come out better by reducing the amount of beer? I also used slightly less than called for (noting the comments about very liquidy), and still found the cake overly moist. But wonderfully yummy.
I have made this twice now, the first time in a bundt pan and just tonight, in two loaf pans. I have to say that I had better results with the bundt pan. One loaf looks okay but the other didn’t rise like the other. Hmm. I scraped the last of the molasses from the bottom of the bowl and I think that resulted in the less-rise result. More chemistry than I understand. However, when I made the bundt cake, I misread the recipe (or probably just didn’t read carefully enough, which is typical) and put the baking soda in the flour mix instead of the guinness-molasses mix. I threw a little baking soda in the liquid after I realized my mistake thinking that it was going to be a disaster but it turned out fantastic! No sticking or sinking. I suspect it’s important not to overmix. Mmmmm. I never knew I loved gingerbread so much! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.
I made this last night in two loaf pans. Baked for nearly 1 hour and they came out fine – the one closer to the hot spot in our oven had a bit of sinkage, but the other had much less. The very liquid batter baked up just fine.
I’m anti-fuss, ergo anti-bundt (I’m not scrubbing that!) so while I was making the batter I asked my husband to fit each loaf with parchment (engineer types do that nicely). Then I sprayed oil on the parchment – I can tell that the cake wanted to stick but it did not.
Also, on the chemical/structural advice email above, I had things ready so that when the soda hit the beer and molasses (which I didn’t boil, just melted and blended) it was pretty ready to hit the blended wet and dry ingredients. Then I hustled this heavy quickbread into the oven – I’d agree that you don’t want to let the propellants here sit and wilt – git ‘er in the oven.
This is AMAZING! Baked it as two loaves (mine took 45 minutes) and just tried one to see if I wanted to use this as my gifting recipe this year. Oh my gosh — one bite quickly turned into eating the whole darn piece — it’s absolutely heavenly! This is so good that it just might become what I gift every year!
Thank you so much for sharing. This is definitely a keeper :-)
But, the only reason I know is because the one loaf I got out came in pieces. I’m letting the rest cool a bit more, but…
This recipe definitely needs parchment/wax paper, at least along the bottom and 2 sides. I’m an *excellent* pan greaser/flourer, and was using premium pans.
I made 4 mini loafs (hoping the other 3 come out ok…they’re supposed to be gifts). They were done after 20-10-5 (rotating in my crappy oven at the dashes) mins.
I only used 1 tsp baking powder, and they still rose quite well. i had a bit of sinkage on one loaf, so you could probably go a bit lower.
This may be a silly question, but is Baker’s Joy (the butter/flour spray) an okay alternative? Are there instances when I should literally butter then flour (such as this cake that seems to be causing a bit of trouble)? I tend to stick with the spray for the convenience but am curious about this particular recipe. Thanks!
Shelly — Absolutely. I love that stuff. I want to marry it.
I just want to give your readers a little word of advice, and that is to not do what I did. If your grocery store doesn’t have molasses, don’t substitute extra brown sugar and DARK CORN SYRUP. If you forgot to stop and get a sixer of stout, do not continue to try and salvage this recipe! I subbed a dark porter for the stout and coupled with the corn syrup fiasco mentioned previously, this cake was nothing more than mediocre. But the strange thing was that it smelled so. damn. good. However, in the flavor department, there was something lacking, and the crumb was a little coarse. :(
Okay, people, what. am. I. doing. wrong? I made this recipe 6 times (in the last 2 days!) and all but two small loaf pans came out. I did Everything Everyone Cautioned Me To Do….the right booze, molasses, buttering, flouring, etc..but the batter fizzed up like a volcano erupting (all over my oven floor) and then SANK like the Titanic. Now, I’ll tell you that the loaves that survived (no overflowing and just a “little” sinkage, Tasted Great! But the last bundt attempt I had to throw OUT – with the pan….I’m so sad. I wanted to give this great tasting gingerbread as gifts – lucky two friends….
Seriously, what is wrong with (1)the recipe (I wish:)) or (2) what I’m doing???? HELP!
Thanks for listening…..
Deb, this bundt was THE HIT of my family’s Christmas this year. It’s going on the “traditions to keep” list. Thank you so much. We also made and loved the strata!
This was a big hit for Christmas as well – my mother literally couldn’t gather words to describe it!!! I made a cinnamon whipped cream to serve with it and it was just amazing… though my family is starting to question why I am always cooking with booze – I am a big fan of using Guiness in recipes (and bourbon for that matter)… thanks again for a wonderful recipe!!!
I made this for Christmas Eve dinner to go with the vanilla-roasted pears (see post there). My seven-year-old nephew, who I expected to either spit it out if he was tired and cranky or decline to eat it if he was on his best behavior for Santa, asked for seconds! This is almost unprecedented, and attests to the deliciousness of this recipe.
I had no sinkage, but I was a bit overenthusiastic about the buttering and flouring of the pan, and ended up with a few floury spots on the surface. A sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar solved that problem, though. Thanks for another great recipe, Deb!
I made this for Christmas, and did not hold back when it came to the “butter and flour” moment. I was concerned about the same issue as Tracy, but the cake came out of the pan perfectly, with no flour marring it. I think the trick may be to VERY generously butter the pan–I used 1/3 cup of soft butter– and REALLY knock out the extra flour. I banged the pan against the sink I was shaking the flour into, and that did the job. The recipe overall was straightforward–I was able to make it in the middle of Christmas preparations without losing my mind, and it was LOVED by all ten dinner guests. Out of necessity, I served it about six hours after it came out of the oven and it was great. And, three days later, the last sliver was great.
I made this for Christmas also and it was a big hit. I love how spicy it is. I buttered VERY generously and had no problems getting it out of my bundt pan. My guests were very impressed with how nice it looked, and how nice it tasted.
I made these for a pre-Christmas dinnertime get-together–but as cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were INCREDIBLE! They did sink, so next time I might try a bit less baking powder, but I just filled in the dents with more frosting. It was a win-win, for sure.
The recipe made 12 cupcakes, for the record.
I just made this for my housemate’s birthday. I modified the recipe a fair amount — used whole wheat flour and (to accommodate this) upped the amount of baking powder & baking soda, as well as adding an egg. I also used a “dark ale” instead of stout. I also try to limit sugar, so I did 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup agave and 1/3 cup maple syrup. I served it with homemade plum sauce — the sweet/tart added a great dimension.
Maybe I have just created a totally new recipe, but I got lots of moans of happiness and several, “Would you make cake more often?” requests.
So, thank you!
I love your site. Have lurked here for ages now, and the chocolate-stout cake has blown the socks off anyone I know well enough to willingly share it with.
Made this gorgeous cake yesterday [I loved bundts. Any food with a hole in it has a huge head start on others.] and it rocked.
But you already know that. What I originally came here to post was: I’m out of icing sugar, so I greased up the pan generously w/butter, then sprinkled it carefully with turbinado sugar [over the sink], starting with the centre tube. Cake came out no sweat [after 8-9mins of cooling] and had this glossly, slightly crunchy thing going for it. Mmmm. Thanks so much this kick-ass recipe!
Is NO ONE else having the problem of erupting and then sinkage? I’m like a dog on a bone with this recipe – it TASTES so GOOD but something “just ain’t right” – should I up or down the soda or baking powder? PLEASE someone help me out on this!
It worked, it worked! I think I let the cake cool in the pan closer to ten minutes because I was distracted, but I greased and floured my Bundt pan and the cake popped out no problem. Thanks Deb!
Gingerbread in chilly January is tasty. Most important thing learned: pay attention when Deb says to use a large saucepan for the beer and molasses. Let’s just say I wasn’t thinking, had an overflow situation and had to redo that step. Since I used a bundt, there didn’t seem to be much of a shrinkage situation. The exterior of my cake a day or two later is a tad moist, but in a chewy nice way. I didn’t use the confectioner sugar dusting for that reason (it woulda been too sticky I think). As always, thanks for sharing a yummy recipe!
It worked fantastically! I am sorry to say (well, pleased for myself) that I can’t help those having trouble because it came out beautifully by following the instructions. I ended up using one VERY long loaf pan (after verifying that it holds more than 12 cups) and it sank the tiniest bit after coming out, and it stuck a little in the middle, but I have a feeling it was due to the length and depth of the pan. Will butter and flour more next time to be sure. Thanks for the amazing recipe!
I made this tonight. Since I live in Denver, I have to adjust all baking recipes that “rise” for altitude. I added more flour, reduced the baking powder & sugar and reduced the oven temp while increasing the baking time – all standard altitude adjustments. I still had the sinking & sticking problem, despite my adjustments & generously preparing the bundt pan. BUT it is so freakin’ good I’ve decided I simply must keep trying, tweaking it every time, until it comes out perfectly. Oh. Darn. So far, I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from your blog. Kudos!
To all you vegans out there:
I replaced the eggs with one large banana, whirled in the food processor with 1/4 of the oil (I used melted Earth Balance) and some chopped fresh ginger. Worked like a charm!
I found this quite nice!!! I usually add some black pepper to my gingerbread and added 1/2 tsp to this recipe and found it added an extra bite that I enjoy.I also made on that I “frosted” with a confectioners sugar glaze and called it a pfeffernusse cake. Thank you so much for this recipe, I LOVE it!!!!
Just made this again… 1st time for this winter, it’s a favorite. My Mom canned some peaches this year in honey and cloves and we ate them on the side and lawsy mercy… Good Stuff. I can’t wait to dig into again tomorrow. Always better on the second day!
I know the recipe says not to use blackstrap molasses, but by all means use it! It makes the gingerbread that much more intense and lovely (and for the record, I tried it once with blackstrap, once without, and I now only use blackstrap because I adore it so).
Okay, my two cents:
I am vehemently anti-vegetable oil, so I used half-clarified butter (by which I mean I am lazy and I don’t get all the milk solids out, but I do more than just melt it). I think it improves the flavor and the texture.
Also, plan ahead. This cake is disappointing the day it’s made, pretty good on the third day, very good on the fifth day, and, if you have any left, unspeakably delicious on the seventh day. Really.
Oops, two and a half cents: I also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
i made this recipe verbatim tonight and it’s wonderful. and i’m not normally a gingerbread person. i used two nordicware mini bundt pans because i’m taking them to my coworkers. i baked the pans, at the same time, for 20 minutes at 345 degrees because my old oven runs hot. generously sprayed the bundt pans with cooking spray with flour. the batter made 3 pans’ worth. we’ll see how they taste tomorrow–the spices are definitely present but not as intense as i expect they’ll be tomorrow. even if the flavor doesn’t deepen i’m satisfied. a couple of them got crustier on the outside as they cooled, but maybe that’s just the nature of gingerbread? anyway, i’ll pretty them up with a lemon-cream-cheese glaze and try not to eat them all before taking them to work!
This was absolutely wonderful. My pumpkin pie did not turn out well, so I’m glad I made this and saved my baking honor. It was a last-minute addition and I didn’t have stout on hand, so I used some Long Trail Ale, and it worked fine. Next time I will buy stout, and maybe add some crystallized ginger too.
I used a tube pan and put parchment paper down along with butter and flour, and I’m very glad I did, as it’s really,really soft.
Hello Smitten Kitchen!
I made this recipe for my 86 yr old grandfather who came to Thanksgiving. He’s a big gingerbread fan and loved this recipe! It was dense and ultra moist, perfect served with peppermint ice cream. It definitely had more character than the gingerbread you can buy at the store or coffee shops and is probably not for anyone who doesn’t like a little spice in their cake. I can’t stop thinking about it and can’t wait to make it again this Christmas! Thank you thank you for this recipe (Grandpa thanks you too:)
Yum! I made this last night and it came out great. I used the “baking” variety of nonstick spray in the pan and then lightly floured my inexpensive nonstick bunt pan, no problems with sticking at all. It smelled and looked sooo good, we had to try it warm out of the oven last night, and it was good, although I thought a bit too sweet. Well, had a taste today and it is perfect! The flavors have all developed. Moist, rich, wonderful texture. Delicious. Definitely will be making again to share!
I was heartbroken when I made this a couple of nights ago and only the top half came out of the bundt pan. Having cobbled it back together as best I could, I’m on my second night of eating it slightly warmed with whipped cream, and it tastes so good that I’m getting over my disappointment. I’ll be trying this again soon, probably in loaf form unless I get up the nerve to take my chances with the bundt pan again. Like commenter #53, I’m perplexed that there’s another version on Epicurious that uses only half the sugar; I’m trying to decide I ought to cut back next time, but right now, all I can think of is how perfect this version tastes!
Is there a successful adaptation of this recipe for a non-bundt pan? People mention using loaf pans, but all say that there are sinkage issues. Would a 9- or 10-inch pan work? Or a rectangular pyrex type thing?
Kat — There are sinkage issues across the board with this recipe. The bundt just hides them. So does a healthy slick of whipped cream across the top, if you use a pan that you don’t serve upside down from.
Don’t need to tell me twice to use massive quantities of whipped cream :)
Thanks so much!
This is the best FLAVORED gingerbread I have tasted. Awesome flavor. However…. I baked it in silicone loaf pans, greased AND floured. Bread still stuck……………
Forgot to mention. No stout here in Cali. I used ginger ale.
This was delicious! I used Rasputin Russian Stout, blackstrap molasses (couldn’t find non-blackstrap), and spices that I brought back from Sri Lanka this summer and I loved it. I haven’t actually tried gingerbread before. I’m glad that I’ve already packed up most of the cake for other people, or I’d be in trouble. :)
I was searching for gingerbread recipes yesterday when I remembered this one. It came out SO WELL, and everyone loved it at the party I brought it too. I somehow didn’t have any sinking issues, but my baking powder was lumpy and rather than break up the lumps I left them (they got broken up in the sifter, of course), so my powder measurement was probably a little shy. Also, I took to heart your advice about REALLY greasing the pan, so I sprayed more oil/flour spray into that sucker than I ever have before, and still lost a chunk. But only a small chunk!
Deb – this cake was perfect for the holidays. Thanks a million for the recipe Happy Holidays!
Stuck to the bundt pan so I used this cake as the base in an improvised holiday trifle (layered with pears in raspberry sauce, custard, and whipped cream).
I made this for Christmas Eve and it turned out very well. Did it in 2 loaf pans: one metal, one glass. The metal one had sinkage issues. I mistakenly added the baking soda in with the dry ingredients but had no problems. Like other reviewers suggested I did boil the molasses and stout, but rather just barely heated it and mixed them around. I sprayed the heck out of my pan and had no stickage issues other than a few crumbs.
Also I used 1/8 of teaspoon of cardamon and added 3/4 teaspoon of fleur de sel which was lovely!
Definitely tastes better on day 2 and 3. I really enjoyed this but it was a heavy cake. Yummy but definitely denser than bananna bread or zuchinni bread.
Thank you so much for posting this amazing recipe. Everyone raved. I made it in a holiday bundt pan I bought a few years back from Williams Sonoma. It’s a circle of Christmas trees with a train around the outside edge, very detailed. I was a little nervous, but I followed the suggestions and used lots of the flour spray and it came out PERFECTLY! It’s day three and I just may polish it off myself if I’m not careful. Thanks again, I absolutely love your site!
I made this for Christmas dinner, and I’ll be making it many, many more times. It came out of the bundt pan perfectly. I’m just finishing the last bits of it at work, three days later, and it just gets better. This is an adult dessert. I think it would be spectacular with a lemon glaze, but then again, I even skipped the powdered sugar sprinkling, and it was just, well, just, sigh.
I’ve been making this cake since last year and it is just spectacular! Only problem is that even though I buttered and floured the heck out of my non-stick bundt pan, it still stuck and I lost a few chunks of the cake (which were quickly devoured by my family). Any suggestions?
after reading through all of these replies, i cant tell if there’s been any consensus about the leaveners. the responses are all over the map.
first batch + brand new, active, b powder = it sunk badly.i referred to a few other recipes and used the stated measurement of only b soda on the second attempt. it sunk less, but it did sink. how much is expected in a cake like this?
all things being equal, i checked the cake 10min before the suggested time, thinking maybe the pan needed to be rotated. it looked spongy and domey, but when i tested with a skewer, it jiggled a little and started to deflate. (closed the door immediately.)
probably should have let it bake the entire suggested time before opening the door, even a little? the baking looked even enough, maybe i dont need to rotate the pan at all?
i wonder at what point other bakers are opening their doors during this recipe? past half-way? never, until the end?
cooled and inverted, the second test doesnt look too bad.
i’m putting it aside to snarf in a couple days.
after all the dishes are washed.
has anyone ever added non-alk cocoa to this batter?
any increase/decrease to the leaveners?
My husband made this for a party with friends and family a few days after Xmas. It was one of the best cakes we’ve ever had, much less made. He baked it in a Nordic Ware cathedral-shaped bundt pan, which was nonstick, and he buttered and floured it liberally. Very minor bits –just crumbs, really — stuck to the pan but it otherwise came out 99% intact. He followed directions and waited 10 mins, no more, before inverting it. It was great; very, very moist, almost like a steamed pudding, with a crunchy, almost chewy, caramelized crust on top (= bottom, when inverted). I liked one commenter’s suggestion of peppermint ice cream, and think coffee ice cream would go well also. As would the suggested whipped cream, perhaps with a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier in it. Definitely making this next Xmas.
I was pretty excited about making this gingerbread. But, at this point, I’m underwhelmed by it.
I used a bundt pan. But, my gingerbread is not going to win any beauty contests. It overflowed the pan while baking, then sunk. And it did stick to the pan, while I was turning it out on the plate. I sampled the parts that stuck to the pan, and am finding it too sweet for my personal taste. Maybe the sweetness will mellow by the time I serve it tomorrow night; with plenty of whipped cream to hide the homely looks.
I just made this tonight. The good thing is that I had no problem with sticking at all. I sprayed Pam for baking and turned it out after 5 minutes of cooling. The bad thing is that I’m kind of underwhelmed by the taste and I’m hoping it gets better overnight. 50 minutes was too long in my oven and it tastes a bit too sweet for me. But the real problem is that it tastes beery to me. I didn’t expect it to actually taste like Guinness–I thought it would just add depth and richness. Did I measure the Guinnes wrong? I spooned off the foam so that I had a full cup of liquid. Is that correct? It sounds dumb, I know, but I never tried to measure Guinness before!
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Hey guys, I tried this recipe for the third time. This is the first time I made it a regular loaf pan and in a muffin tin. I accidentally omitted the baking powder and WOW, no rising/sinking problems. I suspect you don’t need it if you’re baking the batter in smaller receptacles.
Wow! This cake is just incredible.
I’ve been looking for a great Gingerbread cake ever since I attended a wedding in Montana. We stayed at a rustic hotel and every morning I would wake up and eat their homemade Gingerbread.
THIS recipe is so delicious.
I’ve made it twice now and I’ve found that if I pull it out of the oven 5-8 minutes early, it’s just moist and slightly dense with a nice chew.
I happened to have some Creme en glaze left over from the previous night and I drizzled some on this with some whip cream…. HEAVEN!
I want to adapt this recipe for cupcakes and cream cheese frosting.
This is my favorite fall cake to make, my aunts have all asked me for the recipe it’s so fantastic! i added a tablespoon of grated orange zest to the batter and it makes it even a little more special and holiday-ish. Thank you so much for this recipe, this is definitely the gingerbread cake to rule all others!
My picky husband just announced that he would love if I made him some gingerbread for Christmas : ) And this recipe looks divine. Is there another non-alcoholic substitute for the stout or is that an integral part of the recipe?
I made this last weekend, I cannot believe how delicious it is! I’m in England and hadn’t even heard of a bundt pan before, let alone used one. My family was so impressed with the taste and look of the gingerbread. I’m not a fan of Christmas cake or pudding and never make these at Christmas time as is the tradition. With this gingerbread I have found my perfect Christmas cake recipe. Thank you!
I was scouring the internet for my beloved winter treat from my childhood. Alas, I came across your recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving for my partner who is Bulgarian and her family. They had never had gingerbread before. They LOVED it and said it was one of their favorite desserts ever!
I did alter the recipe a little. I used butter instead of veggie oil. It is just a preference of mine. The store didn’t have Guinness stout so I bought an oatmeal stout. I also poked holes over the top of the cake and fed it with quality, dark rum.
This gingerbread recipe is a keeper.
Can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m going to use a harvest bundt pan and hope it doesn’t stick. I love your recipes.
Yum. Just made it 3 days ago…still have some ’cause the husband and teenager are on a trip! Follwed the recipe to a T—- No sticking problems…nuthin’ (sprayed lots of Bakers Joy: the most unnatural product in my kitchen!!!! wish there was an organic version….Because I love this product!)
Also I had made some caramel sauce for another dish Look out! I put a dab on a piece!!!! Beyond!!!! Thanks for the recipe……
My 18 YO daughter requested this and then wanted to drink some of the chocolate stout. I used a nonstick bundt pan which I thoroughly greased and about 1/4 of the cake stuck. Using a knife, I finagled the stuck part out of the pan and put it on top of the rest of the cake. A couple of hours later I flipped the cooled cake over and now it looks perfect. Plan to serve it with light powdered sugar on top, barely sweetened whipped cream and applesauce on the side.
Made this a few weeks ago and it was very tasty. Used a heavy/good quality nordicware bundt pan and sadly lost half the cake when I inverted it (despite it being non stick AND greased up AND floured like the dickens). And it sunk. My husband didn’t care and the whole thing got devoured. Trying it again tonight to take to a work Christmas party tomorrow morning. Will see if tweaking a few things will help the sticking and the sinking. We’ll see. Either way though, it tastes good! Thanks for posting!
So update! Just finished making this again and had way more success! After reading a previous comment from someone who forgot the baking soda altogether and had no sinking, I reduced it by half. Also, in lieu of greasing my pan with a spray, I opted for a thick coating of butter followed by a thick dusting of flour (coated it heavily and left the excess in the pan). Not only did it NOT SINK (WOO!), but after 10 minutes of cooling popped out from the pan with no extra coaxing! It tasted great the first time, but getting rid of those two issues makes this recipe one of my absolute faves! thanks!
Thank you Brittany. I am making this again today and will update the recipe if I can replicate the same. I’ve suspected it was the baking powder/soda volume — each cup of flour should have either one teaspoon baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon baking soda according to the usual cake “rules” but bundts can often require just a touch more because they’re so tall. To bring the baking soda down to 1/4 teaspoon would get the cake in the right direction. Thanks again.
I made this yesterday and shortly after eating the first slice, I spotted the measuring cup on the counter with the oil that was supposed to go in the cake. Oops! It actually seems fine without it, and doesn’t really seem dry. The outside of the cake is a bit chewy — perhaps leaving it in the oven a few minutes too long, or maybe I got a little overzealous with the nonstick baking spray…
Deb, what am I missing by having left the oil out? Did I accidentally invent the lowfat version? ;)
I was hoping to post an update to this recipe today with new leavener levels but you would not believe how spectacularly I messed this cake up. I think I might have used baking soda for baking powder and vice versa. It nearly blew up in the oven and is more sunken than a bad souffle. So, yes, even I have epic kitchen disasters. :) Happy Christmas, people! I’m off to see if I can whip this up in the time I have left.
I followed this recipe very carefully– including buttering the bundt pan LIBERALLY– and it turned out PERFECT!!! I am a good baker, but not a genius. Trust this recipe!
I just attempted to make it in two loaf pans – and it definitely sunk – but it smells amazing and tastes great – i’m hiding the crater with frosting!
This cake turned out great. The only problem I had was that a small section of the top stuck to the pan (and I buttered and floured the pan a LOT), but after dusting the cake with powdered sugar, it looked okay and, more importantly, it tasted perfect. My family loved it. This is a rich cake with lots of spice; the flavors were intense but all nicely balanced.
I was originally looking for a gingerbread cake recipe to serve with a whiskey caramel sauce, but after tasting the batter, I knew that the suggestion to serve with whipped cream would be ideal (and much easier to make). Mmm…I’m not ashamed to say that I had a tiny slice for breakfast this morning.
I have made the gingerbread for the last two years and it ALWAYS meets rave reviews with requests for the recipe. I think I have finally found “my own” addition to my holiday baking that can stand by the specialties of all the Grandparents and Great Aunts and Uncles. Thanks!
Question: I want to make this (I’ve been looking for a great gingerbread recipe!!) but my family and I don’t drink alcohol. Is there anything I can replace the guinness/stout with?
Maddie: Try orange juice.
Just made this — so far so good. No sinking after cooling and came out of pans without any problem. I used a loaf pan plus two mini loaf pans, but I think one regular and one mini would have been fine. Parchment on bottom of well-buttered pans dusted with flour and cocoa (so no white spots). 28 minutes on mini; 40/42 on regular loaf pan. I did sub melted butter for half the oil after reading comments about it being too oily and because my usual gingerbread recipe uses butter. And I cut back the sugar to the 1/2 cup amounts of the almost-identical Gramercy Ginger Cake recipe mentioned above. Re: that recipe using 1/2 TBS baking soda vs this recipe’s 1/2 tsp, I wonder if the larger amount is a typo. The Ginger Cake recipe lists the baking powder as 1 1/2 tsp, which is the equivalent of 1/2 TBS — so why would a recipe give the same amount measured once in TBS and once in tsps? Seems odd.
Now my gingerbreads will age for a few days and be eaten on New Year’s Eve with your vanilla pears. The wonderful smell is making me think that the little one will be “tested” before New Year’s Eve.
It was a total fail for me. I didn’t have the stout beer, so i replaced it with coffee. I didn’t have dark molasses, but i was told it was the same as black treacle (not blackstrap) so i used that instead. In the end the taste was so bad i had to throw it away. I actually think it was bad not because i substituted with coffee but the treacle. The treacle taste was bitter, and just gross, even though i put some golden syrup in.
I made this for Christmas every year now. This year I made one for an early dinner party, one for my family, one for my boyfriend’s family, and I’m making one to take for New Years Eve. Everyone raves about it.
This cake is better if made a day ahead, and even better at 2 days.
On sticking: make yourself a mix of vegetable oil and liquid lecithin, 50-50. Put in a squirt bottle and keep in the fridge. Shake vigorously and use to coat pans. Nothing sticks, ever. Baked goods, lasagna, roasts. It’s almost miraculous. You can get liquid lecithin online, at health food stores and probably at a grocer like Whole Foods.
Small note on the accidentally oil-free cake: While not dry at the start, when stored in a ziplock bag, my cake became even moister over the next few days and still tasted delicious a week later. So those wishing to decrease the amount of fat in the recipe should feel free to decrease the amount of oil, I think.
Also, I used the amount of baking soda specified in the recipe, and had no “sinking.” Maybe I got lucky!
I have been wanting to make for so long and finally made it last weekend. It is so good! I took some to my grandmother who had recently been talking about the gingerbread her mother used to make. She said it was just like she remembered! The only change I made was to sub coffee for the stout. Mine did sink, but it didn’t matter with the bundt pan. I might try leaving out the baking soda next time because I would like to try it in a 9×13 pan.
Janet and I baked this cake together last saturday night–there were two changes to the recipe–one was intentional–the other accidental. 1. because it was for Rosh Hashona dinner, we added a diced up honey crisp–which essentially dissolved in the cake. 2. Janet was preparing the dry ingredients, and I did the wet ingredients. It was only after the cake was in the oven that we realized she had included ground ginger, and I had included the same amount of fresh grated ginger–double what the recipe called for.
the reviews were mixed–most guests thought it was great–but one (my mother) thought it was too gingery. one the other hand, there was nothing left on her plate.
I just made this and it taste amazing but, I live at a high altitude (7,200 feet) It sank in the middle and was a little over cooked on the outside and under cooked on the inside. What would you suggest I do to fix it? I really love to make this again for the holiday party at work. Let me know what you this thanks for reading.
Amazing cake! I am making it for an upcoming event and I need to do it two days in advance. Any advice for maintaining the chewy exterior during that time? In the past I have wrapped in in plastic and left it on the counter, the flavor remains excellent but the texture doesn’t hold up.
It’s in the oven and I cannot wait till Thursday, Turkey day. I saw your recipe and decided on it instead of the 8 ” sq. versions.
and Congrats on your new CK and Happy Thanksgiving.
Okay, it’s 3 days later and I made the cake, let it sit and ate some yesterday for Turkey Day Dessert—-Clanging bells right now…it was amazingly better than I imagined. It was great!!!! a real winner. I’ll definitely make it again and again.
Thanks so much
Happiness is having everything for a recipe..but also happiness is when you improvise and it still works! I hate running to the store for just that one item you don’t have and since I have made this recipe before thought I’d let you know what worked. Didn’t have the full cup of molasses so did 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup honey. Don’t use vegetable oil much but am obsessed with coconut oil so used 1/2 cup of coconut oil, plus one of those individual applesauce containers. Really love ginger so upped that PLUS added a good Tbl. of fresh grated ginger to the molasses/stout mixture. My bundt pan is notorious for sticking, so I used my small loaf pan and a square cake pan with coconut oil rubbed on it. So far, the house smells outrageous and if it slides out and tastes good…yes!! I’m almost thinking you could cut the sugar down in this recipe by using 1/2 cup of white sugar because as I recall it is so sweet my teeth hurt….but I’m still smiling when I eat it! Soooo good!
I wanted to add my experience making this gluten-free. I made it with King Arthur’s gluten-free flour blend and added one teaspoon of xanthan gum. I baked it in a 9×12 sheet pan. It didn’t rise as much as a wheat flour cake would, but it also did not sink. I reduced the sugar to one cup total of brown and white. The cake was alarmingly rubbery when I took it out of the oven, but the next day and the next it relaxed and became dense, moist and not much different to a wheat flour cake. Everyone at my party raved about it and asked for the recipe. This was my first time converting a regular recipe to GF, and using xanthan gum, and it went well! Delicious. Cake for breakfast today.
I have made this recipe several times over the past couple of years, and it’s truly exceptional. The sticking to the pan is indeed a problem. What I do to solve that is used an old-fashioned, flat-bottomed bundt pan, which I bought for about a dollar at a thrift store. I then cut a piece of wax or parchment paper with a whole in the centre, and line the bottom of the pan with that, then generously butter and flour the sides of the pan. The cake’s stickiness is its high point, but simultaneously it means that I would never be able to get it out of the pan clean without the bottom liner. Every time I make this for a party, it is the star.
I love this cake, and made it again today to take to a party. I used a springform pan, since I’m waiting for the bundt pan on my Christmas list :). Both times I made the cake, I have had some sinkage in the middle, and I would welcome a revised leavening amount or tips on how to fix it. Probably a silly question, but does sinkage indicate too much or too little leavening?
Well, I tried this with a banana as another reviewer recommended for a “vegan” version. I’m allergic to eggs. Anyways it stuck to bundt pan and came out destroyed so I will have to go back to a more traditional version. I did back off the baking powder to 1 tsp and had no sinkage though. Tastes good.
I would like to try this recipe. What is the purpose of not using Blackstrap Molassas?
lamour w — It can be overly bitter. See here for more information.
I made this for my husband’s family for Christmas, and it was phenomenal!! We all thought it had the perfect balance of spices and loved how the outside was crispy/chewy and the inside was moist. It did get better on the second day, but unfortunately did not last a third. I made sure to butter and flour the bundt pan (not a non-stick) very thoroughly, and only let it cool for 5 minutes before turning it out. I did not have any problems with sticking or sinking. I think getting it out of the pan quickly is the key. Five star recipe!!!
I baked a couple of these for Christmas this year, and going by the recipe had some sinkage in the first one I made (but hey, bundt pan, nobody knows!). I halved the baking soda that got mixed in with the Guinness and molasses, and had no sinkage issues on the next three.
Deb – have you ever made the original Claudia Fleming recipe for this? I used to make your version and then stumbled upon her original recipe, which as others have noted, has a lot more baking soda and half the sugar. When I used to make your version it always fell and was impossible to get out of the pan. This time I used her originally published recipe (except using 1 tsp baking soda instead of the half tablespoon and minus the fresh ginger) and it did not fall and did not stick! I think your recipe has too much sugar in it, which makes the batter more liquidy, thus more likely to fall, and stick. I did a posting on it as well, http://achocolatelining.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/gramercy-tavern-gingerbread.html
Try it, please, I want to know what you think!
Baked in a glass 9×11. Buttered dish and sprinkled a bit of flour…no sticking. Spicy? I was hoping so but not really. Glad I added the chopped candied ginger to add more heat. Super moist, dense, and big on flavor. Just a tad bit of sinking. A beautiful cake! Will try it in the bundt pan next time.
I made this in 2 loaf pans and it worked great! Quite the hit at the party and so delicious. I kept an eye on the baking time, but I don’t think it was too different (just have to keep testing it). Both loaves raised nicely. Thanks for a great recipe (and an excuse to have 3 Guinnesses to share).
I have made this gingerbread over and over again. My boyfriend does not like desserts, but loves this, craves it, and asks for it over and over. Plus, it’s always a hit at dinner parties, and at the holidays. I’ve made it with Guinness and with an oatmeal stout from Oregon, with great results. I use Baker’s Joy, and it comes right out of the bundt pan perfectly every time – yay. One thing I do differently is that I add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture instead of the other way around – so much easier than using a spatula to make sure you get all the liquid into the dry ingredients. I blew it spectacularly once – it was late at night, and in my haste, I LEFT OUT THE MOLASSES AND THE STOUT. Yes, that’s right, it was missing 2 cups of liquid, and in my delusion state, I convinced myself that somehow, I was just dreaming that the batter was entirely too thick, and too light. It came out like a little brick – but a tasty brick, almost like a slightly chewy, spicy coffee cake. That’s how good this recipe is – you can leave out the liquid, and it’s still a good cake.
For those still struggling with this cake sinking – my mother suggested that the flour is supposed to be sifted twice – once before it is measured and once after with the rest of the dry ingredients. She said most older recipes just assume you will sift the flour once before you measure it. I tested this out and it’s actually about 1/3 cup less flour than single-sifted. I made a half recipe this way in a loaf pan and it didn’t sink.
I made this with blackstrap molasses, which is often the only type of molasses available outside the US (living in South Africa at the moment), and it came out just like a shoo-fly cake–so strong you can’t even taste the loads of fresh ginger I put in. Very good in its own right, but definately not a gingerbread! I also put in only one fourth of the sugar you call for, as I find your recipes way way way too sweet for me (as an American expat, the longer I live abroad the less sugar I use, and the more I see the rate of sugar intake in the states increase), and I added some raisins and candied citrus rind, and the result is very similar in texture to an Irish steamed Christmas “pudding”, a soft, heavy and so moist it’s almost gooey cake. I was wondering how much these alterations might have changed the texture, and how much difference using regular molasses instead of blackstrap makes?
I made this following the recipe exactly, and the cake rose and then fell tragically during cooking. It was delicious though. Since I had to have a dessert for dinner the following evening, I made it again, this time using the flat oatmeal stout left over from the first attempt. This time the batter was lively but not “rambunctious” as it was previously, and it rose steadily, turning out a perfect and delicious cake that came out of the pan without difficulty. Wow, most delicious gingerbread I ever made! Thank you!!!
I know this recipe was published a few years back and there have been many comments on it, but I’d like to tell you my experience.
I made it using a bundt pan first, and found that even with heavy butter and flour on the pan, it stuck, but was wonderful. Then I made it using a pyrex dish 9×13, and it did not stick at all! Actually the cake came out better and the was a sweet crunch on the top. I cooked it for about 25 minutes and it came out perfectly. Bye, bye bundt pan!
Is there no salt in this recipe? I’m adding a tsp. Can’t bear the idea of cake without salt.
Every time I make it, it strikes me as odd too, but somehow, I never miss it (and I love salt in sweet recipes). There’s just so much spicy complexity to the flavor, I suspect you won’t notice it’s missing either.
Made this as birthday cake for my mom’s birthday party yesterday and it was insanely delicious. And easy to prepare. We did eat it same-day, but am excited to dive into the leftovers tonight. Worked very well as a birthday cake.
Are these the most beautiful words in the English language? “Butter liberally …”
My favorite accompaniment to dark gingerbread is sweetened sour cream. I just put a spoonful of sugar into about half a cup of sour cream and stir. Perfect!
Deb! This was just delicious!! I don’t usually comment on your posts but I read them avidly, and have an entire list devoted to what I want to make next from your wonderful blog!
The first time I made it was for my SO’s birthday. Made it in 2 8×8 square pans. Came out deliciously, albeit overcooked because of my stupid oven. The second time I made it I tried making cupcakes. That was a bit of a disaster. Stuck to everything…but made delicious crumbs. The third time I made it in an 8×8 glass pyrex, and put the extra into 2 ramekins. Had it with whipped cream. Swooned.
Deb, I am very curious as to why you would combine the stout and molasses and baking soda, bring to a boil and let cool? Would that not activate the soda, thereby losing it’s rising power before baking? You certainly do not need the soda for it’s browning effect…
This turned out far too sweet as transcribed here. From other sources online, the original recipe asks for 1/2 cup of dark brown and granulated sugar each, not 1 cup each. Also, the baking soda used in the stout and molasses mixture should be 1/2 TABLEspoon, not teaspoon.
There is a small amount of baking powder to supplement the eggs’ raising action.
I’ve now made this twice, exactly as Deb has it posted, and it has worked perfectly and deliciously both times. Because the cake is so moist, I let it cool at least 15 minutes in the pan which helps it come out easily. I haven’t noticed it affecting the crumb of the cake.
I’ve made this twice. The first time, it looked like crap, but tasted so good that I knew I had to try it again. The second time, it turned out perfectly. Here are my suggestions based on those experiences:
1. Use a good pan. The first time, I used a thin, tinny pan. The second time, I used a Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Bundt Pan, which I’d just bought.
2. Let the molasses and stout mixture come to room temperature, like the instructions say. The first time, I didn’t do this, and the batter boiled over the top of the pan, I think because the temperature rose too quickly.
3. Brush on whatever you use to keep the cake from sticking, and use two layers. I used shortening rather than butter because I wanted it to be vegan (the rest of the recipe uses no animal products). The first time, I rubbed the inside of the pan with cold shortening, then coated it with flour. The cake stuck horribly. The second time, I heated the shortening in the microwave, then brushed it on the inside of the pan. (The instructions for the pan recommend brushing.) After dusting with flour, I brushed on another layer of shortening and dusted with flour again. No sticking! (Well, almost: a piece the width of the tip of my pinkie and the depth of a dime did stick, but that seemed acceptable to me.)
4.Follow the instructions regarding cooling: cool on a wire rack for five minutes—no more!—before removing the cake from the pan.
Did this in 4 mini-loaf pans this past weekend. Worked perfectly and they were done right around the 45 minute mark.
I made this cake early this morning. Did not have stout so I used strong coffee. Did not have any issue with the baking soda overflowing. Used a silicone bundt pan and buttered / floured twice (using butter almost melted). I also used a metal baking sheet under the cake (as I do with my honey cake). Baking powder – just a bit smaller than called for. Had to cook for 60 minutes (even with convection) but my cake did not sink at all, and I had no problem removing it from the pan (sadly as I had hoped to sneak a taste). The house smells fantastic.
What is oatmeal stout and where can I get it?
Use any stout or dark beer you can get. Don’t worry about the oatmeal stout unless you want to seek it out at a beer store.
Deb, you are my cake guru. I grew up under the impression that cakes were finicky, hard to make nightmares, but now I only bake cakes from scratch, largely because your recipes have led me to success so many times.
I made this cake for the first time this week, and I am officially addicted to it. I used fresh ginger because I didn’t have ground ginger, and topped it with a very lemony glaze made using both juice and zest (my thorough flouring of the pan made the cake somewhat less than visually appealing, but the glaze fixed everything). The ginger-lemon combo is to die for.
i am excited to try this cake! it sounds amazing! i also am compelled to make *this* recipe simply due to your reference to the Best. Christmas. Album. Ever! thanks!
(ready to shre the joy i feel at christmas time)
I just made this in two loaf pans and it turned out really well. I did add a fourth egg after looking at some other recipes of similar size, and the middles did not fall. I also used a parchment paper sling and they lifted right out. Greased the parchment also and it came off pretty clean. Can’t wait to taste it, it smells amazing!
This cake is like heaven! <3
No sinking, got it out of the pan in one beautiful piece. It's soft, with a bit of a crisp on certain parts.
So delicious!!!!! I'm really going to have to try to not to eat half of it right now!
I love your website! But I wanted to tell you – if you only make it in bundt pans, you’re missing out, because the corner pieces are the best pieces. I make it in a 9 x 13″ pan and my husband and I fight over the corners. They are amazing – better than brownie corners. Also, I’ve found that if the only beer you have around is Bud Light, I use the junk beer, but add a teaspoon or two of instant espresso powder. It adds just the right amount of bitterness so that you don’t miss the dark beer.
Best gingerbread EVER! The spice level is perfect. I added a pinch of ground black pepper and frosted it with a dark bittersweet chocolate ganache. Amazing!
I clicked on this recipe to see if it looked better than my all-time favorite gingerbread recipe(if not all time favorite recipe period)….thrilled to see it was THE SAME ONE. I have been making this for years. Not everyone appreciates it as much as I do -glad to see someone who does!
Tried this recipe in 2 loaf pans with local farmer-ground AP flour and had to add about 3/4 c more flour b/c the batter was like water. Turned out fine.
I made a half batch of this (which involved feeding half an egg to our dog- she appreciated it!) in 12 muffin tins. I left out the cardamom, used orange juice instead of stout as suggested by another comment, and only threw in a pinch of baking soda. It worked, with no falling problems, and tastes great. I’m hoping for the second day amazing-ness to kick in before my family eats them all!
I just made this recipe and found it to be too sweet for my liking. I’d probably half the sugar next time and use sweetened whipped cream if needed. It’s way too sweet to eat on its own.
I made your lovely cake today. I only made one change, and that was to cook it in an angel food cake pan. I cut a circle of parchment paper and put it in the bottom of the angel food cake pan. It released easily and beautifully. It’s not quite as fancy as the Bundt pan, however a lot less stressful. Thanks for a great looking recipe.
I made this for Christmas last night and it was fantastic (followed the recipe EXACTLY). Everyone loved it. I took your advice and HEAVILY buttered and floured the pan and the cake came out easily. I used a cream stout instead of oatmeal and it tasted great. Next time I may try a Mocha Porter. Anyway, I will say to use a VERY LARGE sauce pan (maybe a dutch oven?) to heat the molasses and stout because my first batch totally boiled over in a second flat. Otherwise, no problems :)
I have made this cake every Christmas for the last few years, always using Guinness. It is definitely one of my top five baking recipes of all time, and it always gets a ton of compliments (including this year from my cousin’s fiancé, who is a chef at a swanky restaurant). The best solution to the sticking problem is to use a soft silicone bundt “pan”/mold, and also to butter and flour profusely, then to set the silicone mold on a baking sheet. That way, it comes out pretty close to whole every time.
Deb, I also made this on Christmas Eve this year– the hit of the party, no surprise there. Wanted to tell you I paired it with homemade egg nog ice cream from Epicurious and two together was totally to die for. The best part was that I could make both on Sunday for a Tuesday dinner, saving me the hassle of dealing with dessert that evening. Thanks for the recipe!
Luckily I had all the ingredients save the Guinness ( I substituted coffee ) and I’m in love. This decadent cake is lovely, sophisticated and decadent. A wonderful addition my favorite recipes. Thank you.
I just wanted to comment and say that this gingerbread was FANTASTIC! I love baking and have made thousands of recipes but everyone in my family agreed that this was the best baked item they have ever eaten. The bread magically got better every day! The entire bread was gone within a few days. The only problem I ran into was the bread sticking a bit to the bundt pan.. but it was so delicious that that did not seem to bother anyone (next time I am going to use parchment paper or a silicone mold as suggested). Thanks for the amazing recipe!
I made this cake for Christmas this year and it turned out great! Sweet, spicy, moist and delicious! The cake did not sink or stick to the pan at all. Received many compliments on this dessert. Will definitely make this cake again!!
This cake is outstanding. I have made it twice and was immediately asked for the recipe by the party attendants. Thanks for the recipes!
This cake is phenomenal. I made it 3 times in 3 weeks for Christmas, New Year’s and just because, and it turned out perfect all three times! I was meticulous in buttering and flouring the pan, and also used this foolproof tip on dealing with bundt pan stickage: as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, put it immediately on a kitchen towel that you have soaked with very hot tap water, and laid flat in the sink. Leave it for exactly 10 minutes. Cake comes out of the pan without any fuss at all! Thanks for making me look like a genius, Deb! :)
My bundt pan mysteriously disappeared in the midst of my making this cake, so instead I used two 8×8 pans. Worked just fine but each cake sank a fair amount and I’m not quite sure why…perhaps repeated opening and closing of the oven to check for doneness? This cake definitely has a sharply distinctive ginger flavor great for those who are fond of ginger and not so for others. I found the flavor to be a definite asset, along with how incredibly moist the cake is!
I always feel like I am writing to a friend.This is the third time I have made this, always comes out fine. This time I added some fresh ginger and candied ginger and 1/4t ground pepper. I feel like the pepper works like a lemon in gingerbread, makes it pop. I love that you say somewhere in the comments that you could marry Bakers Joy.
Keep writing, you are such a high level cook without an ounce of intimidation.
Absolutely my favorite gingerbread! Thank you so much!
Hi Deb! I was just looking through this recipe, which has become my go-to gingerbread recipe, and I was wondering if you had ever heard of a pumpkin gingerbread cake? I’m trying to find a way to incorporate the two together for an autumnal occasion, and I was wondering if you had ever come across the combination?
Julia — I haven’t, but it sounds delicious. Normally I’d whisk something like that into the liquid, but the only liquid here is beer. (And I wouldn’t pre-simmer the pumpkin filling) so I’m not totally sure how it would work. I think it’s worth playing with though, maybe replacing the beer with pumpkin puree?
This cake is beyond fantastic. I have made it 3 or so times in the past year after my bosses boss gave me the recipe. Chewy, spicy and sweet. And like it states, it seems to improve a day or two after making it… that is if you can keep it that long. I am looking to make this again this weekend. Do yourself a favor and make this as soon as you can. Dont wait till Christmas!!!!
Deb – you asked if people had made this in other shapes/sizes. I’ve done 2 loaf pans on multiple occasions with great success. Today, I used mini Bundts with a drizzle of icing and they were amazing.
this cake turned out amazing.
however i should have read more of the comments here because adding the baking soda to the hot stout and molasses mix created an angry stovetop volcano. i moved the boiling pot to the sink and managed to get the sticky mess everywhere.
fortunately i didn’t drink the leftover stout, as it was still a little early in the day, and also stout is gross. so i added more stout and molasses and soda to the cooling pot – just guessed the amounts.
a few dicey moments when the cake looked like it was going to breach the bundt pan and i put a cookie sheet underneath but it wasn’t needed.
i added another couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced finely in the mini-chopper.
i used a generous amount of pam flour spray and had no sticking problems.
I make this cake multiple times every year around Christmas and it’s pretty much my favorite cake in the universe.
Does anyone have any idea how I would adapt these awesome, strong flavors into waffles? Most gingerbread waffles seem to just be normal waffles with a few teaspoons of spices and maybe some molasses, but I want something more like this. I guess my first step will just be trying to waffle the batter as is, but if someone has a better idea I would love to hear it.
Alison — I love your idea. I hope I’ll have time to come up with one soon!
Do you think ghis could be baked as two rounds and layered/ decorated?
I haven’t tried it yet but I think it would be good to find out. There’s also a gingerbread snacking cake in the archives that I know for certain would layer well, if you want to take less of a risk.
Is the sinkage possibly because the baking soda gets activated in the hot molasses/stout mixture? I am so excited to try this recipe, and I’ve read every comment, but I’m a little nervous. thanks!
Is the sinkage possibly because the baking soda gets activated in the hot molasses/stout mixture? I am so excited to try this recipe, and I’ve read every comment, but I’m a little nervous. Would it be better to add the baking soda to the mix after it’s cooled down some? Thanks!
Has anyone tried this with individual bundt cake pans?? WOuld love to make individual versions for Christmas. What would cooking time be?
See Comments #89, 147, who both mention using mini-bundts.
I adore this cake and I have been making a few every winter since it was posted on the site. I’ve made it in a bundt, loaf pans, 8-inch square pans, 9-inch square pans, and most often, as cupcakes. All were fantastic.
I have recently transitioned to veganism (eggs were the last to go) and I have now made this vegan/egg-free two ways: the banana suggested above, and with flax “eggs”. The banana version had a distractingly strong banana flavor and came out so sticky it was closer to pudding than to cake – delicious banana-gingerbread pudding, but not quite what I was going for. The flax version was much better, so if you are looking to veganize this I recommend finely-ground flax rather than banana.
P.S. With banana my cake/pudding sank, but with flax it domed up beautifully.
I see in a comment you say you used a 12-cup bundt pan. I have a 10-cup pan. Will the whole recipe cause it to overflow? How far up the pan should it be filled pre-baking?
Ali — I won’t be making this again until tomorrow, so my memory might be imperfect, but I believe that this batter only fills the pan halfway, so you might be okay with a smaller bundt. I wouldn’t fill it over 2/3, to be safe. You can always pour off some into well-greased muffin tins, if it seems like too much for the pan.
Firs time using a recipe from this site all seemed to go very well. Followed a
everything to a tee I did add crystalised ginger. Had no problems with sticking, buttered and floured the dickens out of the bundt pan heres hoping it tastes as good as it smells
I love looking through the comments – Deb it seems you come back to this recipe year after year. A good sign! I’ll be making it this Christmas.
Awesome, thanks Deb for getting back to me so quickly. I’ll let you know how it goes. I sometimes have a terrible eye for how much something will rise, luckily I haven’t had an overflow disaster yet (knock-on-wood). I will be making two of your recipes in the next couple days (this one and your chocolate peanut butter cheesecake) and I’m looking forward to both!
Made this tonight but didn’t have a bundt pan, so I put it in an angel food pan. Probably could have just stuck with a normal cake pan for all the tiny hole did. But it smells great and I hope it tastes as good!
Deb — Somewhat urgent question here. I have a stuck (but very tasty) cake on my hands. It’s more pieces than cake to be honest. (This in spite of all the comments that expressly warned about sticking. Hmm.) What is the shortest way to a trifle from here — is it possible to just whip cream and mix it in with the pieces? Or is the custard and fruit etc. needed? If it is too many steps/components I could just serve it to close family in pieces and it would be okay, but if there is a quick way to salvage it, I’d like to try. How about an Eton Mess type approach — with cake instead of fruit? All your idea are belong to us.
Also, as always, thanks for everything you do on this website.
The sinking happens for the same reason you’ve encountered in many of your other recipes: too much baking powder. The recipe is supposed to call for half a teaspoon, not half a tablespoon,
Don’t know if you’re still making this cake, but for anyone else who is, I’ve been making it for 10 years and the secret to releasing it from the pan is Baker’s Joy, or a similar cooking spray with flour. I have never succeeded in getting the buttering and flouring right, but it has always come out perfectly with the spray. Also, you need to leave it in the pan longer than the recipe states after it comes out of the oven, at least 20 minutes. 5 is definitely not long enough. Before removing it, stick a plastic knife down around the edges and then shake the cake back and forth in the pan before turning it over. Also, with regard to the sinking issue, in this case, I think it is integral to the recipe. The cake should be somewhat dense. If it is made in a bundt pan (I have made minis, medium and regular bundt), the sinking does not matter. Everyone loves this cake!
Smitten, you have inspired me, made me laugh, and been a friend, without your even knowing it. I have been ill for 25 years, and have “visited” you often right here on your web site. Thank you. I hope your Christmas/Hanukkah brings you as much joy as you have brought to me. And in the only way I know how to wish you everything good, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Greetings. Huge fan, first time commenting. Apology if this is already addressed in the thread, but my thought as to why the cake may sink is due to too much sugar. In a cake recipe, the weight of sugar (not volume) should weigh the same as, or slightly more than, the flour. A cup of sugar weighs approx. 7.5 ounces; a cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces. So 1 cup sugar would need to be balanced by approx 1 1/2 cups flour, or a slightly more than 6 ounces. In this recipe you would need approx. 3 cups of flour to support the weight of 2 cups of sugar. Indeed, in Claudia Flemings’s original recipe called Guinness Stout Ginger Cake from her book The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern, she uses 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar to the 2 cups of flour. Cheers.
This has become a holiday staple in my house. Dense, rich, and moist, how can you go wrong. For a truly indulgent leftover treat, we take the remaining gingerbread, slice it and leave it out overnight… and then, Voila, the next day, we make a truly decadent French Toast. The trick, not to eat too much, so there is enough leftover.
Holy heck, Deb. This is so good. As expected, it stuck epically to the bundt pan, even after a violent greasing and flouring. The cake that was turned out onto the counter was hideous and about 1/3 smaller than it should have been (the missing third stuck to the inside of the pan). But it didn’t even matter because WOW. The entire family, intense-gingerbread-lovers and super-pickly toddlers alike, attacked this thing ferociously. And the leftover slice that I forgot and discovered 4 days later – whoa.
This recipe is amazing. I have conquered the sticking problem by using my mix. Equal parts flour, oil and shortening. Mix until smooth use liberally on cake pan. It slid right out! Good Luck!
I’m out of ground ginger but do have ginger root. Any idea how much I should use?
This recipe is almost identical to the Marrow’s Ginger Stout Cake, a recipe I found on NYTimes a couple years ago and love making around the holidays. That version includes 1/4 tsp of sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, nice additions I think. That one is also made with baking soda instead of baking powder. I’m excited to try this and compare. I don’t have problems with that one sticking, and it uses 2 tb of unsalted butter to grease the pan.
I just took this out of the oven and I can’t WAIT to slice into it. I buttered and floured my pan generously and had absolutely no problem turning it out just now. I did fold in about a cup and a half of shredded, well squeezed apple (I picked them today and couldn’t resist!). Hopefully this is a welcome addition to the cake.
Also, I dearly love Smitten Kitchen and have been reading for about 6 years and never has a recipe let me down. Thanks for continuing to love food and share that love with us!
This remains one of my most-favorite gingerbread cake recipes, and I would like to make it again. Do you think, though, there is a way to make this cake even more moist and delightful with the addition of–dare I say it?–pumpkin? I saw a recipe for pumpkin gingerbread, but it lacked all the things that make THIS recipe so good (not enough spices, only powdered ginger??, no molasses), and now I am struck with a need to adapt this recipe into the pumpkin gingerbread of my dreams…
Ingrid — Theoretically, yes. Would I? Probably not. First, this cake is ludicrously moist, to the point that sticking is a major issue. Also, it’s just not overly obvious to me where I would add it. Normally I’d swap a vegetable or fruit puree for some buttermilk or milk, but there is none here. Doesn’t mean you can’t add 1/2 cup to the batter and probably not mess anything up, but with all the strong flavors here, it might not even be notable.
Baking this right now and it smells wonderful. My plan is to serve it with the butterscotch sauce that is also featured on this site — complement the spice of the cake with the sweet of the sauce.
To those thinking about making a pumpkin version — I wonder if pumpkin beer would be the answer? Instead of the stout? I may have to do some experimenting…
Wow, this is amazing! Just baked and it filled our house with the most delightful scents. To follow up on other comments, I made with blackstrap molasses and the flavor is wonderful (though I don’t have a comparison), divided across 3 loaf pans lined with parchment, no trouble with sticking or sinking. I substituted unsweetened apple sauce for vegetable oil and it came out perfectly moist, with an excellent crumb. Used Brooklyn Brewery’s Chocolate Stout, which is heavenly in this. Thanks for another fabulous holiday recipe, our entire Thanksgiving menu is smitten!
I made this for my in-laws’ Thanksgiving – it was amazing! I Pam-ed and floured the bejeezus out of my Heritage bundt pan and only lost a wee bitty piece of the final cake. I switched the Guinness for Blue Moon’s Gingerbread beer. It might have needed a few more minutes in my oven, as the texture wasn’t quite even throughout… but no one seemed to mind!
This has become my Christmas tradition. Love it!!!
I hate to point out the obvious, but it sinks in the middle and sticks to the pan because the ratios are off, there’s too much liquid. A typical cake is more like 2-2/2 cups of flour to 1 egg, not 3 as in this recipe. Also, 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of molasses (essentially 3 cups of sugar) to 2 cups of flour seems way too sweet. And no salt?
Oops — I don’t think it’s too many eggs and much as too much liquid to flour. I tried this recipe for mini cupcakes. I halved the recipe but used just one egg and less sugar, and added a bit of almond meal to make it thicker. Completely sunk in the middle.
Help! I found molasses in the UK but it is dry, like brown sugar. Should i use treacle? Any guesses on amounts?
Hot English custard. This cake screams for hot English custard on top like we used to get at a now defunct pub in Pasadena, CA. I can not wait to recreate that dish.
I see this has been asked, but not answered: Deb, what could you substitute for the stout for those of us who can’t have alcohol? I don’t want to mess up the chemistry with the molasses. Thanks!
Kate ^^ I make this cake every year with strong coffee instead of the stout and it’s fantastic!!! I highly recommend the switch :)
Kate — Some people have used non-alcoholic beer, others have used coffee.
Oh Deb, your amazing! I cant wait to make this. Your blog is my (goto) place for recipes. Yesterday I made your cocoa powder brownies. Oh my God! I just used Hershey’s cocoa powder nothing fancy but let me tell you, these tasted like I used expensive dark chocolate! Another winner. You do not dissapoint! Thank you for all your hard work! Merry Christmas:)
Pumpkin Gingerbread! There is a blog by Katie Workman, called the Mom 100. She has exactly what some have been pondering–and it’s terrific! Super moist, great flavor, and easy easy. Here’s the link.
This cake as become a Christmas tradition at our house too. I’m glad to see the last couple of comments – I was just wondering last night what I could use instead of stout. I’ll try it with coffee this year and report back. Happy Festivus, Christmas, and New Year to you!
Wait. how did I miss this? It’s PERFECT! I’ll make it for one family for Christmas, and one for New Year’s. DOUBLE BONUS for me. Thank you!
I’ve been obsessively reading this recipe and all comments in anticipation of trying to make it this year. Then, just as I was about to set out to do it this morning, you posted the layer cake version! I waffled back and forth over what to do for a few minutes, and since I’m a glutton for punishment, I went for the bundt form anyways. I figured with all the tips on dealing with a crumbled cake and your mascarpone frosting, I could do something with it if it came to that. Well, maybe it’s the beginner’s luck that a lot of bakers seem to have with this cake, but mine came out with barely a crumb stuck! I followed buttering+flouring and the recipe to a T. One tiny thing I did was to throw my pan into the freezer for about ten minutes while I mixed up the recipe. And as I poured the batter in, I made sure to pour it around the pan rather than in one place for fear of eroding my butter and flour layer in one spot.
A couple of other factors came to mind while I was mixing up the cake. I’m a super amateur baker, but I’ve always love reading the science involved in baking. I wonder if there are any variances in results with how much you beat the eggs, how much the sugars dissolve, and how much the flour gets worked in to get a good balance of stability but also moist tenderness in the end. I think I took more beats with my whisk than the recipe implied.
Thanks for the recipe! I’m excited for the taste test Xmas eve!
Re: sticking to and overflowing from the bundt pan, fear not. I read all comments above and also the ones on epicurious. I’ve got a 10 cup, wolfgang non stick bundt (it’s not top of the line). Here’s the foolproof:
– melt a square of butter completely (size of a thumb approx) and use a pastry brush to brush all surfaces of the bundt pan (don’t forget edges and middle cone)
– be very very thorough when dusting flour on top of the butter
– bake for 50 mins (I even baked this in my tiny convection toaster oven on Slow Bake and not Convection Bake) and it did not overflow
– when you take it out, let it sit for 2 mins and then turn the pan at an angle towards you to “shake” the cake loose lightly from the edges. Continue turning the bundt pan and do this until the cake is loose from the edges and put it back flat and shake side to side to make sure the middle is loose from the cone too
After 5 mins, turn the cake upside down and pray it all comes out in one piece. It did for me and this was my first pass. Good luck and you don’t need to do anything fancy to have this work for you too!
mercy… i can’t even recall the last time i had such a failure! especially with one of deb’s recipes! bundts are always about 60/40 for me that they’ll turn out (literally) anyway; i’m used to enjoying the fallen-apart mess off the counter. i think i greased the pan well enough, but not knowing what size pan to use, i poured all the batter into my 10 cup. it looked like it had enough room, but… it didn’t. don’t try. so the cake overflowed and then collapsed and then evidently didn’t even finish cooking all the way. (edible but a bit pudding-y.) had i been able to see the bottom and left it in ten more minutes it might have been salvageable. as it is, at least i don’t have to share it now! because it *is* delicious, and i look forward to getting it right next time!
Yum! This gorgeous cake is cooling on my counter. I used a bundt pan insert in a springform pan. A little batter leaked into the center which made a perfect little cake for us to taste. I can’t wait to serve this tomorrow!
This is such a wonderful cake. I made two a week go. I served one that night and immediately froze the other for tonight (xmas eve!). Both times they were insanely delicious. The texture is incredible (maybe even better after being frozen). The fresh one had the benefit of the crispy top, which was addictive! The first time I served it with barely sweetened whipped cream. Tonight I whipped a combination of heavy cream, creme fraiche, and Seville marmalade and served it on top. THAT was amazing. This will definitely become a holiday regular.
PS: I didn’t bother with the bundt pan after reading the issues others had. Instead, I used a 9 inch springform and it came out easy peazy.
When I was a kid, my mom made gingerbread from a box mix, and we loved it. Later I read Laurie Colwin’s HOME COOKING: A WRITER IN THE KITCHEN, and loved her chapter on making gingerbread. I always meant to make her version and finally did, decades later. It was amazing.
Deb, your writing about food reminds me so much of Colwin’s. You both make me smile often–and make me want to run to the kitchen to start cooking!
When I serve gingerbread to clients, I pour a puddle of thin vanilla pudding on the plate (think creme anglaise) and top the square of gingerbread with a big dollup of whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Sometimes a tiny scoop of ice cream on the side–vanilla or cinnamon–gilds the lily.) Guests always exclaim, Gingerbread! I haven’t had it in ages! Mmmm, I’d forgotten how good it is ….
Made this for the holidays this year. It was delicious. This note might have been posted already, but definitely use a big sauce pan because the stout & molasses bubble up significantly and then even more when you add the baking soda! a bit of cleanup was necessary. I also would recommend watching the bake time closely towards the end. I only baked it for 40 minutes and the bottom edges (when you flip it over) were a tad tough. I shaved them off and then covered it up with ice cream & berries. This cake was a big hit.
Oh, and I buttered & floured *very* generously using a bundt pan and the cake released perfectly after following directions(let it cool 5 min then turned it over).
I made this again for Christmas with Southern Tier Chocolate Stout… and boy, did it stick to the pan, despite my best efforts. (I made it into trifle instead.) I’m not sure if the higher alcohol content (10% as opposed to my previous version with a more “standard” ABV, see my comment #290) did me in, or that perhaps not all of the batter had cooked through (which I didn’t notice until it was way too late), if I didn’t let the beer/molasses cool enough, or if I just plain ol’ screwed up somewhere… It still tasted great, though!
I didn’t have any spillover of the beer/molasses mixture while boiling, as others have mentioned. I use a 2-qt (I think?) All-Clad saucepan to boil, add the baking soda, and then pour that into my large 3-qt AC fry/saute pan to cool off. (Yeah, I know, it’s another thing to wash, eh.)
This is amazing! I finally made it after having the recipe bookmarked for years. I subbed half the flour for whole wheat because I ran out of AP flour, and I used ale instead of stout (ah, last minute cooking!). And it was still fantastic. I generously used baker’s joy on my Nordicware bundt pan and let it cool completely, and it came out beautifully. The only thing I would do differently next time is add a little ground black pepper in addition to the other spices — I have another gingerbread recipe that calls for this and it adds a very welcome touch of spiciness. Thanks for a great recipe, Deb! I am such a huge fan of bundt cakes because they come out so pretty with so little effort!
Wow. Wooooow. We made this two days before Christmas Eve and let it sit. Followed all of the instructions including notes (large saucepan for molasses mixture = no spills; seriously butter and flour the bundt pan = even with a special design, the cake came out unharmed after 5 minutes of rest and patient “de-panning”). This has such an amazing flavor, but I think the best part is the texture. This is a fascinatingly chewy cake. The edges are slightly crispy due to the sugar content, but the crumb is so substantial and decadent. We’ve decided to make this our new Christmas Eve dessert tradition.
100% success! I followed the instructions exactly and it was perfect and delicious. My friend, who loves ginger in all forms, had several pieces (it was his birthday cake). I’ve never seen him indulge like that before. So, this is a definite keeper and will be at the top of my list for “wow” desserts. Thanks so much!
With much trepidation I made this recipe in a brand new swirl design bundt pan. I melted butter and spread it very thoroughly with a pastry brush- let the butter become solid- then melted more butter and repainted a second coat. Next I floured the pan using a fine mesh strainer and tapped the pan on the counter to collect the excess. Decreased the baking powder by 1/4 tsp- used light brown sugar, (didn’t have dark) and followed everything else exactly per the instructions. It released like a dream, and the flavor is fabulous. Crust is chewy, crumb is perfect! Couldn’t be happier! I read that it’s better the next day but doubt this will last till then!
I Love this cake, I make it multiple times during the “season” for several years! I use Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in place of Guinness it gives it a great flavor. Thanks for the recipe :)
Is there a suggestion for an egg substitute in this recipe?
I used chickpea flour. 3 tablespoons mixed with 3 tablespoons water per egg. Works great!
Made this for our Thanksgiving work party. We have a dessert contest & I won first place! I also made the marscapone whipped cream frosting & doubled the candied cranberries from your layer cake version. YUMMY!
That’s certainly kicking it up a couple notches. wow
Just made this. I put half the batter in a bundt pan and split the other half between two full size loaf pans and baked them all at the same time. I took the loaves out 20 minutes before the the bundt. They all cooked well, but all 3 were a treat to take out of the pans. I’m sure you have to wait longer than 5 minutes to pop them out. No clue why “no blackstrap” was part of the instructions. That’s all TJ’s had, used it, taste is on point. Used ground nutmeg instead of fresh. No problems there. And definitely start the beer/molasses boil early so you have time to cook it before you pour it into your eggs. Wished that was at the beginning of the recipe for those of us who aren’t put together and start recipes at 8pm 🙄 But I repeat, taste on point.
I just made this (haven’t tasted it yet but I doubt it will be anything less than incredible) and after using almost a full tablespoon of butter and 1/4 cup of flour to prepare the non-stick bundt pan, it slid right out! So there is hope.
This is a wonderful cake that I have made many times. It’s my sister’s holiday favorite. I typically make it in a vintage flat-bottomed ring pan, in which the bottom and cone are removable, and can be lined with parchment paper for easy extraction. The last time, though, I took inspiration from your layer cake version, and made it as a large sheet cake, with squares lifted right out of the pan to eat. I also sometimes find that it’s a bit too oily, and tends to fall, so I now reduce the oil to 2/3 cup and the baking powder to 1 tsp, which I think produces the perfect texture.
May I ask how long you baked the sheet cake?
I baked this in a bundt pan, as directed. Despite generous buttering and flouring, both cakes (I made two) stuck and had to be partly scraped out.
Also, similar to Vanessa’s experience, both cakes were too oily, and rose then fell again during baking.
The taste of the cakes was wonderful–most gingerbreads are too wimpy for my taste. Next time I’ll try reducing the oil and the baking powder and baking it as a sheet cake.
What size pan for the sheet cake and how long did you bake it?
Might this work divided into mini bundt pans? And if so, how do you recommend we adjust the time/temperature?
I do think it would work; I don’t own any and cannot estimate the time. The temp should be the same. Good luck!
Hi Deb! Could we get this in weight at some point? Thank you!
Hi, i have only blackstrap molasses. Is there still someway i can make the cake?
I’ve made the cake with blackstrap as it’s what I always have on hand and it it’s turned out wonderful each time.
Thank you- I love this cake, but blackstrap is the only thing I have on hand. I have this vague memory that I’ve used it in years past and it was fine, but it’s nice to have confirmation. : )
My new, very favorite cake. I made it for a gathering last week, I recommended it to a friend to make for a work party during the week (he made it, too!), and I’m making it for Christmas. I’ve shared it at least 5 times. Am I obsessed? Maybe. But I feel good about it.
I have only blackstrap molasses – why is it contraindicated ( or: would it ruin the recipe?) Thanks –
Some people consider it too harsh in baking; I don’t find it to be a problem here though.
I’ve been dying to try out my new bundt pan, so bit the bullet and made this in a bundt pan, even though the cake recipe talked about how it sticks really bad! I halved the recipe (as my bundt was a 6 cup), and I’m REALLY glad I had placed a cookie sheet under the bundt as it did overflow. The house smells AMAZING, and my very first bundt is delicious!! I was even eating the overflow. Not too sweet, and perfectly spiced! I’m a fan! Cake also came easily out of the pan – I greased and floured REALLY well per suggestions.
I made this today as per the original recipe (in a bundt pan, rather than as a layer cake with mascarpone). I used copious amounts of Wilon cake release and then dusted with granulated sugar (rather than flour). 100% success. No sticking to the pan at all.
Making this now, 4th year in a row. LOVE it. It’s a Christmas Day tradition :)
I just made this in a 10C kugelhopf bundt pan, using Baker’s Joy in the pan itself, and it came out quickly and easily after cooling for 10 minutes. For those of you worried about using a smaller pan size, the batter fit perfectly in mine — after baking the cake was even with the top (bottom?) of the pan.
The cake won’t be cut into until tomorrow, but I know the batter is really good and I can’t wait to dig in!
Tastes delicious and isn’t stopping my husband from eating all of it, but it stuck pretty bad in the pan even after using extra butter and flour, as suggested. We have a silicone bundt pan that I usually don’t have issues with, in fact I’ve made your chocolate stout cake many times with it, but maybe it just doesn’t work for this recipe. In any case, it’s a extra good snack as we’re doing other things!
This sounds wonderful. I have some home pressed unfiltered apple juice that I would like to use in place of the stout. would that work?
So, so good. Will definitely make this again.
IMO, this, and Laurie Colwin’s “Damp Gingerbread,” are the only gingerbread recipes anyone needs. (Laurie’s calls for buttermilk, which I never routinely have in the house.) In this recipe I dial back the baking powder to 1 1/4 tsp. as others suggested–no sinking, ever. I grease the pan well, and “flour” it with cocoa powder. I let mine cool in the bundt pan for 10-12 minutes, use a cake tester to separate the edges of the cake from the pan, and then it comes out easily when I invert it. This is perfect gingerbread–a sticky crust on the outside, moist and flavorful inside. The flavor deepens after one or two days, so I make it in advance and store it tightly covered at room temporary . Thank you, Deb.
I’ve been making this cake for the last few years as gifts to people. I am now up to 12 cakes the week of Christmas! People go crazy for this cake and specifically ask for it each Christmas. The only catch is when I make it for the first time for people. If I don’t tell them in time that it’s gingerbread and not chocolate, they get a horrified look on their face and spit it out. But then once I clarify that it’s gingerbread and not chocolate, they can’t stop eating it and they are one of the people begging for it the next year! This cake is super intense and incredibly delicious. It’s also very easy to make. The hardest part is buttering/flouring the pan! Make sure you add this to your repitoir of holiday recipes!
Agree with everything you said. I made it again a couple of days ago(again, my young 1 1/4 tsp baking powder is my only change) and I brought it tonight to a potluck. With tea or coffee, or alcohol of choice, it’s superb. Several people assumed it was chocolate, and found themselves surprised and then happy. Some people think of gingerbread as hard and dry cookies. This is a great cake.
This cake is beyond amazing! I’ve made it in mini-loaves with great success (just decrease baking time). Makes for a perfect breakfast on the go and great for gifts at Christmas time.
I have a mini loaf pan that holds 6 loaves, Inwould love to try this in. How many mini did you get out of one recipe? Do you remember the length of time they took to cook?
I made this in (parchment lined) mini loaves, and got 4 nicely sized, all risen perfectly. My pans measure 2.5 x 5 inches on the outside bottom, and 3 x 5.5 across the top. I baked them 35 min, which was perfect. I used three good quality, dark non-stick pans and one flimsy aluminum one (to give away), and that one wasn’t nearly as “perfect.” I think it might’ve benefitted from a few more min. in the oven. But that’s the one we ate, and I had no complaints!
I made this tonight – wanted to send for my brother’s and my grandson’s birthdays – so I used one regular loaf pan and two smaller (6 inch) loaf pans. Turned out fine and no sticking thanks to advice for liberally buttering and flouring pans. I did get that sink in the middle which is some kind of separation, but it all was cooked through – didn’t affect flavor and I loved the crunchy quality of the crust. Given how much sugar I was surprised it was not at all overly sweet. I’ve made James Beard’s gingerbread most of my life but I wanted something a bit more cake-like and this one really is terrific.
I look forward to this cake ALL YEAR. For what it’s worth, I have two bundt pans, both nordicware and traditionally shaped. One is thicker cast aluminum, the second is thinner aluminum and appears enameled red. Usually I reach for the thicker pan since it seems to bake more evenly, but I’ve found the gingerbread always sticks and crumbles. By chance, I discovered the cake forms more of a crust and releases without fail from the thinner pan (it’s $15 at target and totally worth it if you make this cake every Christmas!)
I’ve had my eye on this recipe for years and finally made it for the first time today. It’s to eat tomorrow, so I can’t comment on the taste, but I’m betting it will be delicious. I wanted to comment to say it slid beautifully out of the pan, it looks just perfect. I used ridiculous amounts of Baker’s Joy, probably 2-3 times the amount I normally use. I then used a silicone basting to brush to make sure the spray was really in all the nooks and crannies of the bunds pan. I always do that and it works very well. Finally, I left it cooling in the pan for more than 5 minutes. I didn’t time it, but maybe 15-20 minutes.
Your recipe does not include coating the greased pan with sugar, which was part of the version of this recipe when Melissa Clark published this in the NY Times. I’ll try any recipe made with stout, but I didn’t like Melissa’s version. Will look forward to trying yours, sans the sugar crust.
What a delicious cake! I’ve made it three times, and it’s absolutely fabulous. (I have increased the cardamom, added some allspice and black pepper, and decreased the cinnamon and cloves– but I am sure that any combination would be great.) The one thing I’d suggest (and this is a general preference for recipes) is that the instructions to preheat the oven and prepare the pan should come after rather than before boiling the molasses and stout and letting that cool to room temperature….
Do you think this would work as layers?
Already on it!
Love this. It is the best old fashioned version I have made. Added 1 teaspoon soda to flour mixture. (In addition to soda added to Guinness mixture) no sinking. Kat
I bought the ingredients and am going to make this today.It sounds amazing!
Hi just making this for the first time…in oven now…and noticed the recipe doesn’t list kosher salt in the ingredients. Yet I happened to compare this recipe to the one referenced using mascarpone and sugared cranberries, and kosher salt is listed there. I just now found the discrepancy…didn’t add salt, and hope my cake won’t be ruined! The batter tastes awesome though:))
Hands down the best gingerbread I’ve ever had! My friends, family and co-workers ask for it year round.
I am preparing to make this cake for one of our Thanksgiving desserts. I was curious about boiling the baking soda with the beer and molasses, so was doing some reading about how it works as a leavener, because I think that adding it to liquid and heating it would basically use up its leavening power. According to this article (http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html), baking soda also acts to neutralize some of the acids in baking powder, so that made me wonder if adding it to the beer and molasses is more of a flavor thing.
But what REALLY caught my eye in that article was this sentence: “Too much baking powder can…cause the batter to rise rapidly and then collapse. (i.e. The air bubbles in the batter grow too large and break causing the batter to fall.) Cakes will have a coarse, FRAGILE CRUMB [emphasis mine] with a fallen center.” SO many people have commented on both the falling AND the difficulty getting this cake out of the Bundt pan–and it looks possible to me that both problems have the same source! The amount of baking powder! I am going to try it with less (probably 1 1/4 tsp), but I’m still too chicken to put it in the Bundt pan–will try the angel food cake pan and see what happens.
Deb, as if you need more recipes to test, especially ones that are already on your site twice, let us know if you test this one with different leavening amounts! Have you ever tried it without the baking soda?
I make this recipe every year for the holidays!
I have had success with baking this into mini-loaf cakes ( 3.8″ x 2.5″) using loaf liners.
After baking, I take off the liners, and freeze the cakes.
A day or two before Christmas, I thaw the cakes, place into a fresh liner and gift wrap.
I also make an extra batch for myself and eat the mini cakes for breakfast :)
Getting ready for a Christmas party and made this in an 11″ round spring form pan. Should have checked it at 30 minutes. 40 minutes it was burned on top. My plan is to slice off the burned section and pile with whipped cream. Drat! It does smell divine while baking…until it starts to smell like it’s burning.
Christmas was almost ruined because I searched gramercy with two m’s and then searched ginger cake, not ginger bread. Emergency over. Recipe found. When is the UK book tour? New book arriving today, so excited!
Turned out great – didn’t change a thing and made sure to obsessively butter and flour my bundt pan. Served with a caramel ginger sauce. Guests had seconds (and took leftovers home) so what more needs to be said.
I’ve been making this recipe for years, as well as sharing it. You can’t explain how different, and better, this cake is than what most people know as “gingerbread cake”. People just have to try it. Went into the liquor store to buy a bottle of Guinness and after explaining the cake, told the owner to Google ‘Grammercy Gingerbread Cake’. She said she would try it….yeaaa another convert! Merry Christmas to all and enjoy this delectable cake!
I made this, and it didn’t stick to the pan! For what it’s worth: I melted butter (just barely, so it wasn’t too drippy and cooled/stuck onto the pan) , brushed it into all the nooks and crannies of my Nordicware anniversary bundt pan, and then floured over that. I’m making it again for Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, as it should travel well!
Made this tonight, and you weren’t kidding about greasing the Bundt pan. I lost about a quarter of the cake trying to turn it out, even after using three tablespoons of butter to grease, then flouring generously. The silver lining: my husband and I are scraping it out of the pan with spoons and eating it standing up! Excellent flavor and texture. I imagine it will only improve with age. Not fit for company, but fine for us. Maybe use a less detailed Bundt pan next time?
This has become a favorite at our house despite the pan troubles. My husband requested it as his birthday cake this year (Christmas Eve birthday) so here I go again!
OMG! I just made this using a stout and the flavor is fantastic. Mine did collapse some in the center even though I used less baking powder. I used a Bells stout and a bunt pan. Merry Christmas!
This will be my birthday cake today. Thanks for the recipe and the joy I receive with every recipe you post. Your recipes and accompanying photos are scrumptious and feed my soul.
Have made this three times and is always moist and delicious!
1st time- as instructed, had a chunk stay behind in the bundt pan, as described.
2nd time- used 2 8-inch cake pans, buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper, no problems!
3rd time- made in same bundt pan but dusted it with granulated sugar instead of flour, it slid right out and looked beautiful!
So for a dinner party of 12 adults, how many pounds or pieces of short ribs would be sufficient?
I don’t have a bundt pan, but have all the ingredients…can I use a regular cake pan?
I’m not an expert on this, but try this site: https://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html
And then remember that you may need to adjust the baking time! AND, please let us all know what you ended up doing and how it worked out. Good luck!
Just wanted to say that while it seems like you maybe broke up with this recipe I still make it every year and it is a huge crowd pleaser and I din’t Care how much cake sticks to the pan I won’t stop making this cake. So maybe don’t have any hard feelings and reshape it sometimes! :)
I compared this recipe with the one I have used in the past (The Marrow’s Ginger Stout Cake from the NYT) and it is almost exactly the same – same amount of stout, molasses, flour, baking soda, eggs, sugars, spices – except NO BAKING POWDER. I have made it several times, and it has turned out perfectly. So as to your comment about maybe dialing back the baking powder, I would say leave it out altogether. It also subs some of the ground ginger with fresh. Happy baking!
Very interesting; I’ll check the recipe out.
I know this recipe is old, but I’m not the only one who is a relatively new Kitchen-Scale-Convert. So, are these weights correct?
2 cups all-purpose flour = 260 grams
1 cup packed dark brown sugar = 190 grams
1 cup granulated sugar = 198 grams
If they are, make us all love you that much more and add to recipe, please? (or correct and then add!)
THANKS for all your recipes, your humor, and whatever else I’m forgetting.
p.s. We used to eat at the Gramercy Tavern before going to the Joyce for a dance performance, and were never disappointed at either place.
Yes, those are all correct. Well, you’ll never find two recipe writers that agree on the weight of a cup of flour (recipes range from 120 to 145) but I go with 130 to 135 for a happy medium when unsure.
Is there something I could use as a substitute for stout in this recipe? Hot water?
If you don’t have stout, you can use any dark beer. If you want to avoid alcohol, no matter what you use will change the flavor a bit (still worth making!), but I’d go for something that adds a different flavor. Apple juice might work better than plain water—but I’m no expert! (some people claim that if you don’t have or don’t want to use a particular ingredient, find another recipe, but I’m absolutely not in that camp–how do new recipes originate?!)
Hello-Is this for a 12 cup bundt pan?
I believe I show it in a 12-cup but I’d also expect it to fit in a 10-cup bundt.
very similar to Nigella Lawson’s recipe, which was fabulous, but so much sugar!
Didn’t see any posts where anyone tried to convert to gluten free. Newly diagnosed with celiac so I’m going to try. Will report back!
I only found this comment but perhaps it will be helpful?
I just made it for my boss with the cup4cup MP GF Flour and she raved about it! It didn’t rise as much in comparison to the one I made with AP Flour but still beautiful.
I loathe beer, stout, ale, and all similar products. WIll I notice the stout in this cake?
I don’t think so. It just adds a depth (of color and flavor), but the finished product tastes nothing like beer of any kind (which I don’t particularly like either). This comment is based on a version I made using only HALF of each sugar, which, by the way is perfect for me. For anyone interested, I used Deschutes Black Butte Porter.
do you think this could be made in a silicone cake mold?
I am not sure. It’s such a soft sticky cake — do they release better?
Is this the recipe you used to make the sunken gingerbread cupcakes? I was going to make them for Christmas dessert and I can’t find the recipe!
No, I, uh, used the gingerbread cupcake recipe from the Miette Cookbook. Maybe it was user error, who knows. I didn’t make this because I was worried they’d be a little sink-y and know that the Miette cupcakes are a favorite of a lot of people.
Any reason why this cake does not contain any salt? Is the beer salty enough?
I have always wondered the same — maybe because molasses have sodium content? — and usually add a pinch or two, but I don’t think it needs it. There’s enough going on.
I added a pinch too!
Just made this for Christmas 2018. First Lerner me say that batter is the BEST I’ve tasted, and I’ve been baking 30+ years. I did make some diet-driven changes: strong coffee w a dash of cocoa instead of stout, and gluten free flour (gluten issues here). I followed other directions to reduce baking powder to 1 1/4 tsp to help prevent sinkage, and reduced oil to 2/3 c mostly bc gluten free batters typically need to have less liquid (god forbid I reduce coffee :). Well, cake didn’t rise much, even though other GF cakes I’ve made so see a good rise. And it sank, like a lot (as much as the honey cakes). And I had a bit of sticking in the pan, even having buttered and floured that bundt really well. That said, I normally bake GF cakes an extra 5-10 minutes to make them sturdier but this one was starting to burn, with all the sugars. So, the cake is a little softer than I’d like but man oh man does it taste good! I made a fat free salted caramel sauce to go with it. This is clearly a recipe I’ll tinker with on the GF front bc it’s that good. Thanks Deb!!
Which gluten free flour did you use? I have Bob’s Red Mill and America’s Test Kitchen Blend. Would appreciate knowing……really want to make this!
Hi–just saw your note, bc I’m preparing to make this again! I use King Arthur Cup for Cup for most GF bakes. I find it’s good and consistent.
I make this every year at Christmas – sometimes 2 or 3 times. It’s perfect. The best part of all? There’s more than 1 c. of stout in a bottle!
Has anyone made this using flat beer? I don’t like to drink beer, so I have some left over from my first batch.
I don’t see why you couldn’t use flat beer!
I made this last week and oh my goodness … delicious! My mother and husband – both “pie people” who don’t get excited about cakes – loved it. I followed one reviewer’s suggestion to butter and sugar the pan (no flour) and it turned out beautifully.
Any high altitude tips? I usually can convert a recipe with some tweaks in one or two attempts, but this one is stumping me. I’ve made it 4 times- and though it tastes absolutely delicious, it is still sinking, and definitely will not come out of a bundt pan or a ring mold. I now have a large mixing bowl full of delicious gingerbread chunks (suggestions on what to do with those welcome!) The high sugar content and the thin batter just doesn’t work at this altitude (7000 +). Im going to try again in something I can completely line with parchment. I first adjusted the leavening (50% less baking powder, 25% soda). Still sunk. Then I also reduced the sugar by 2 T per cup, no luck. Then I also added more flour and then baked at a slightly higher temp. All turning out the same. Has anyone done this successfully at altitude?
There are a few comments (like this) from people who have tried and had trouble. I think this cake is just pesky. The nice thing is that if there’s a little sinking and you use a bundt, it’s underneath and nobody should see it.
I can’t get more than half of it to come out of a bundt pan. Ive tried cake release and flour, crisco and flour, butter and flour, and even butter and bread crumbs. Grrr. Pesky for sure.
I love the trifle idea! thx.
Just made all those scraps into a gorgeous trifle. Layered with salted caramel whipped cream and sweetened masrscapone. Thanks all!
How about gingerbread cake pops for all your chunks?
Why not make trifle out of your gingerbread chunks? It would be delicious with some sort of lemon-flavored custard or something that tastes egg-noggy. Plus whipped cream, of course. What kind of fruit would be good with that? Bananas? Blueberries?
I have Richie, I am in Jackson, WY, so at 6,300. I’ve always adjusted it according to the High-Altitude Baking tips from King Arthur — has worked like a charm, no sinking, perfect moisture, not too wet, https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
It could be the baking temp/time?
I used a brand new Nordic Ware heavyweight Angel food cake pan 10″. Greased it with the “iambaker.net” homemade Pan release. At the 50 minute mark, my husband took the cake out of the oven and it stayed on our countertop until we came back from lunch a little over an hour later. I flipped it onto a plate and TADAAAA! Only bits of paper-thin layers of the crusty gummy outer layer of this cake stuck to the pan. No chunks whatsoever. I feel that letting it cool almost completely in the pan helped the successful release. When it came out, it was still a tad warmer than room temperature. Once dusted with powdered sugar it looks perfect. The color is the darkest ebony brown it looks amazing in contract with the powdered sugar. I followed the recipe 100% except that I used blackstrap molasses as it is what I already had. I also forgot to add the baking soda to the Guinness/molasses mix so I added it once that mixture was cooled. I think that was fine because this cake came out freaking DELICIOUS. It is sooooo RICH. I love the outer crust the most, a beautiful surprise. It’s almost like licorice candy-ish. Had it with whipped cream with a touch of vanilla and sugar. Make this cake. It is GREAT.
I made this today for my family’s Christmas Eve dinner. I discovered too late that my ginger was old and almost completely tasteless (although sniffing it did make both my husband and me sneeze and sneeze and sneeze). So I beefed up the spices with about a quarter teaspoon freshly ground allspice, and I folded minced crystallized ginger into the batter at the end. Nibbles of the finished overflow indicate this thing is delicious.
It’s a good thing it *is* delicious, because it fell like a rock in my unreliable oven. I mean the collapse is spectacular. I baked it in a cathedral-shaped heavy aluminum non-stick pan with lots and lots of baking spray. It popped out of the pan like a champ, leaving not a crumb behind. The sides of the cathedral, normally nearly vertical, slant in at a 45 degree angle, thanks to the big sink in the middle. I’m hoping it doesn’t go on to collapse completely as it cools. It also overflowed the pan, so the kitchen smelled wonderful until it didn’t.
After having both layers of yellow cake fall in late October, I’m done with raised foods until I can get a new oven installed. Meanwhile, I know we are going to enjoy this yummy cake Christmas Eve, and I’m looking forward to baking it again soon with freshly purchased dried ginger and less baking powder in a brand new, reliable oven. Thanks for the recipe, Deb.
One question: Can you tell me what volume bundt pan this recipe should fit?
Oh no! I believe I show it in a 12-cup but I’d also expect it to fit in a 10-cup bundt. Are you at any kind of altitude?
I haven’t tasted it yet, aside from a few bits on the cooling rack, but my cake didn’t sink in the middle and did not stick to the pan at all! I will say that based on previous comments I SLATHERED the pan with butter and made sure every crevice was coated, going back again after flouring where I saw that flour had not stuck. But it came out perfectly! Waiting 2 days to eat it – love getting dessert made in advance!
Made this today using America’s Test Kitchen gluten free flour blend. Added 3/4 tsp zanthan gum and an extra cup of flour as measuring/weighing is different with this blend but…..it looks beautiful. Haven’t tasted yes but looks great. NO sinkage!!
I made this the other day and it was so moist and flavourful. I find gingerbread recipes are too mild for my taste. This one’s a keeper.
This gingerbread is DELICIOUS!! A chunk of cake stayed in the “non-stick” bundt pan that I had generously greased and floured but that just gave me an excuse to eat some of the gingerbread before it cooled. I wouldn’t care if I had to pry it out of the pan with a fork — it would be just as delicious that way. Thanks for another great recipe!
I spray the pan with coconut oil (just a can from Trader Joe) and then flour. Comes out every time! I always find that too much butter/shortening on the pan combines with the flour and makes it stick even more. Made it again this year with no problems and my bundt pan has a lot of nooks.
I made this today. I cannot imagine it being even better tomorrow! I collected all of the ingredients but realized I was almost out of ground ginger AFTER I heated the beer/molasses. Minced candied ginger and shredded fresh ginger saved the day!
Well,epic fail. It sank, it overflowed. Did NOT stick, thanks to the warnings. I blame it on altitude. Also did not see the advice to reduce baking powder. Is it supposed to be that dense? But the flavor is amazing! May try again….
Deb, you never fail me.🙌🏽 This is the deepest, darkest, most delightful goodness (Taste wise). Presentation not so much. Heed the warning, this will stick to the pan! Although I buttered and floured every nook and cranny of my bundt pan, I still ended up with a busted up bundt. For next time I will use parchment lined baking pans. Sorry beautiful bundt mold.
This was my first attempt at gingerbread anything and wow – was it good! Such deep/rich/”spicy” flavors. It was a hit at my family Christmas. I had to give the recipe to a few people and my husband refuses to let me share the leftovers. I served it with a cooked milk frosting (like a lightened up buttercream) on the side to dollop on top. Just thinking about it makes me want to go eat other piece…
Reading the comments I lessened my baking powder to 1 1/4 tsp and had no problems with my bundt sinking. I very liberally buttered, sprayed, and floured my swirled bundt pan and was so very relieved that it came out in one piece!
FYI, I think this could easily keep a week at room temp. Made mine on a Sunday, still good on Friday!
I made this as the finale to our Christmas dinner with warm custard and whipped cream along with stewed fruit compote. It was a hit! I substituted boiling water for the beer and the instructions to heat and reduced the baking powder a smidge as suggested. Turned out perfectly.
Okay. Here, a decade after you originally posted this, feeling too far from NYC over the holidays, I made this (twice) and it came out beautifully (the second time- no rips, no tears, no chunks). What I learned is two fold. 1. Use new spices. Don’t use the years old cloves that sit unattended in your spice cabinet. Up your game. Get new stuff. It makes an enormous difference. 2. Butter the you-know-what our of the bundt pan and then flour it all the way around covering the inside cone and to the edges. It may look absurd but it does the job. This cake was so so good and I am not a gingerbread fan. Am now, though. I converted through my success.
I have a December birthday, and I’ve made this cake for my birthday cake for the past few years – a ritual that I plan on repeating for many years to come! Soooooooooooo delicious.
Thanks for a great recipe and all the vegan comments left before me :)
I’m super excited to report this worked with aquafaba as the egg substitute. I also followed a previous comment’s advice about using a layer of melted vegan butter, then flour, then another layer of melted vegan butter and that worked well! Super delicious – thanks, Deb!
I recently made this cake and it was absolutely delicious! The spices were on point. I did run into the sinking issue though, and after trying your gingerbread snack cake (I’m a sucker for gingerbread…) which did not fall, I think I figured out the problem. The amount of leavening agent is fine, it’s the beer that needs to go flat. Then it’s like the water in the snack cake, just with more flavor! Thanks for the recipe—it is definitely a fan favorite :)
I made this for Christmas Eve desert- our family loved its intensity and moist crumb. Will definitely make again. Thanks!
I made this recipe as-is and OMG it is amazing! I thought even better the next day :)
What a delicious cake! I just made it, and like with you, the to of the Bundt came undone. The powdered sugar helped cover it up, so thanks for that!
For reference, here are some good tips for getting a Bundt unstuck from the pan:
In the meantime I’ll enjoy this cake!
Just made this (3rd or 5th time) but I had no molasses! Used half brown sugar, and half maple syrup + 1 square (2.7oz?) of Trader Joe semisweet chocolate, and added 1 Tbs cocoa to flour mix. Perfect! Also added some grated fresh ginger to egg mix and gently placed finely chopped crystallized ginger on top of the 3 mini-loaves (for a 2/3 recipe). Also used 3-day flat stout (left over from last time I made it) and that seemed perfect too. By the way, I *always* add the soda after the molasses/stout mix has cooled a bit, and it never does a Vesuvius imitation, and seems to work just fine. I love this recipe!
I love this with whipped cream and a tangy lemon sauce. Nummy!
I’ve made this recipe 10 or 12 times— I just love it. I almost always make a half recipe and bake it in a loaf pan. I’ve also tried it with some lighter beers (reds, ambers) and quite like those versions as well.
Partly inspired by your comments we visited Gramercy Tavern on a recent trip to New York. Such a great restaurant.
So, having returned home to the UK, I had to make this and I’m so glad I did. Old school and intense are exactly what it is.
As a note I couldn’t find molasses so had to use black treacle.
I made this for Christmas dinner last year and I adored it! It was more complex than the childhood gingerbreads I remember my mother making………more of a grownup flavored gingerbread. I did have trouble getting it out of the pan and a small chunk stuck but I rescued it by placing it where it belonged & smothering the entire bundt in molasses. My husband and other guests were less impressed, expecting chocolate fudge from the appearance but I thought it was divine, freezing the leftover slices individually to enjoy later.
P.S. I will be making it again this year, just for myself and a bourbon pumpkin pie for my husband and guests. Trust me , this recipe is memorable!
I made this in a brownie pan that makes individual brownies. I used butter, flour, parchment paper extending over each well and I sprayed the parchment with Pam. Only lost one corner. However, they fell even though I cut the baking powder by 1\4 teaspoon. Next time I’ll cut the baking powder to one teaspoon. They were delicious.
I made this last year for Christmas and will be making it again! Everyone loved it – its delicious. I was sure to really butter and flour my bundt pan, and it came out fine. The unsweetened whip cream was a perfect addition! I would highly recommend it.
I made this for the first time last Christmas and it was divine!
I’m about to make it again and I only have regular “Grandma’s” unsulphured molasses. None of the stores in my area have dark molasses that isn’t blackstrap. I’ll probably go ahead and use what I have, but I’m just wondering why not use blackstrap? And also, why is the dark stuff so hard to find? I’m pretty sure I had some last year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
A tip in case you, like me, did not butter/flour the pan enough and ended up with a broken mess of a cake: Make it into a TRIFLE! I literally just chopped the pieces of cake into cubes and layered it in a trifle dish with sprinkled powdered sugar and unsweetened whipped cream. I assembled it the night before and it was delightful the next day.
I made this on a whim after baking pies for Thanksgiving and I am so glad I did. I had extra stout from making mustard this summer, a fresh bottle of full-flavor molasses, and used my last 2 tablespoons of ginger. I sprayed the heck out of my inordinately ornate bundt pan after reading all the warnings of how sticky the cake is. I only lost a small chunk and consider myself lucky. I tasted that chunk last night and couldn’t wait to have it today,
Let me say this cake is so good. It was favored over all the pies, including the $35 smoked pecan pie with bourbon sauce that I got from our local BBQ place (don’t judge – I hate making pies and this pecan pie is so good that it turned me from a non-pecan pie liker to a lover). Anyway, this cake will now be a Thanksgiving staple per family request.
Thanks Deb, as always, for providing tried and true recipes and noting the caveats. I turn to you first when looking for a recipe.
I am an experienced baker and cook. Made this gingerbread cake yesterday and though it tastes wonderful, it did not rise in the individual cakelet pans. All it did was overflow and then sink in the middle of every one of them. The entire recipe is now one big mess in a container (tastes too good to throw out!).
I made sure not to fill the pans too full before baking and followed the recipe explicitly. I have made other gingerbread recipes before that call for just a little baking soda and they turned out very dense and heavy and not cake-like. What will stop the overflowing and sinking? I made sure I used fresh soda and baking powder also. I can’t keep experimenting if this cake is going to be hit and miss in turning out well; it’s just not cost effective to do so repeatedly.
What can I do to assure a good cake all the time? Why did it not turn out well at all? I haven’t had a baking failure like this one was in a very long time!
I have never made this in individual cakelet pans but sticking is an ongoing issue with this and all sticky gingerbread cakes — it may be worse in small pans.
I’ve made this for the past 3 Christmas’ and it’s delicious. I want to make a recommendation in regards to preparing the pan so as to prevent sticking. (I have one of those beautiful Nordic ware pans with lots of detail) I buttered thoroughly and coat it with granulated sugar. It creates a barrier between the batter and the pan and slips out effortlessly.
I also greased the pans excessively (no oil sprays) and floured them well and the gingerbread still stuck in the pans. Can’t figure out why.
I’ve made this cake several times and have great success using parchment paper–which I pretty much always use. Since it’s so hard to line a bundt, I settled for mini loaf tins, which is not as “showstopper” worthy, but it doesn’t fall either, so I can’t really address that. You can get a giant roll of parchment (if you live in the US) at Bed Bath and Beyond for maybe $7, which is easily worth it. You can also reuse the paper many times (on cookie sheets, at least) before it becomes too brittle. At that point, I use it to line my organic refuse can.
Any chance you could update this with metric measurements Deb? So desperate to make, but don’t trust my own conversions (as they seem to vary so much).
What brand of dark molasses do you use? I can’t find anything but blackdtrap at my local store…
I used Brer Rabbit full flavor molasses. I had trouble finding it but finally located a market that carried it. Good luck! My cake was delicious!
What is the reason that black strap molasses can’t/shouldn’t be used in this recipe?
I stressed about this too. Apparently blackstrap is less sweet and perhaps more bitter. However a search through the comments reveals that several people have used it in this recipe with great success.
Question: Do you think I can use my Nordic Ware wreath netball pan for this cake? https://www.nordicware.com/holiday-wreath-pan
I’m worried it will break when I take it out. Any advice cause I WANT this cake!
I wouldn’t do it with this cake. Intricate patterns are better with more tightly-crumbed or dense cakes, and this is neither.
I used my intricate nordicware cake mold and it came out perfectly. Prepare your pan with generous amount of butter and granulated sugar. Don’t use flour. It came out picture perfect!!
I’ve had bad luck turning cakes out of bundt pans after just a few minutes of cooling. Is it likely to stick to the pan if left in longer? What’s the rationale for turning it out so soon after it comes out of the oven? Signed, Calamity Cakebaker
This was my goto cake for years….making it again this Christmas…only gluten free this time!
I’ve tried this recipe many times over the years, and although incredibly delicious– it never comes out of the pan well, or sometimes at all. Usually its a mixing bowl full of delicious chunks, not exactly something I can take to a dinner party. Im at 7000 feet, and Ive tried all the usual high altitude tricks. Any suggestions for also making this something I can display?
Generously Butter and sprinkle granulated sugar in the pan. don’t use flour. Works like a charm!
Hello and Merry merry!
I am making this cake right now and my batter has A LOT of bubbles in it, even after rapping the pan on the counter. it does not look as smooth as your photo.Did I do something wrong? I used guiness but it came in a bottle. Thanks
awesome!Made with dark coffee as I was out of beer… still awesome! Topped with a light egg nog whipped cream LOVE ALL YOUR RECIPES!
America’s Test Kitchen solved the problem of sunken centers in gingerbread cakes.
Hi, the recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda. They are both on the ingredient list; however, the instructions never mention when to add the baking soda. Do I add baking soda or not? I’m baking this now, so I’m going to add both ingredients and hope this is right.
the baking soda is used in step 2 and the baking powder in step 3.
My Bundt is old and the cake stuck. But I knew it would so just left it in the pan and sliced it out. Delicious cake. I thought Edna Lewis’s gingerbread was the best, but this one ties. Unsweetened whipped cream is the best accompaniment..
I went to King Arthur’s baking website to research how to prevent sticking. I was actually pretty successful. Per their advice I used a LOT of melted shortening, not butter, and sugared very generously rather than flouring. And I went all out and ground or grated all the spices other than the ginger. Used coffee rather than Guinness, otherwise followed the recipe as written. After reading the comments I was not totally unprepared for the cake to blow up like it did in the oven, overflowing the pan and then falling quite dramatically. Luckily I put a baking sheet on the shelf below, or it would have been a real mess. Once unmolded the cake is a little lopsided from the lost batter. Great flavor but I’m not sure I want to invest in a bigger bundt and by the way, does the recipe actually specify the capacity anywhere? Mine is 10.5 cups.
Its in the oven, but the batter is very liquidy. I hope that’s OK, it tastes great!! Thanks for the recipe. Happy Holidays!
Yes — it’s a very loose batter.
As others have said, the batter is amazing and I have to wait 24 hours before tasting more than that. I am at 4500 feet and therefore made the following modifications: added baking soda once stout/molasses was cool, reduced baking powder to 1 tsp, reduced oil to 1/2 c. Increased oven temp to 370, still needed about 50 min.
I used flour/oil spray aplenty and then tried the granulated sugar coating for the Bundt pan. I let it cool until just warm. It did sink some but probably will be fine since it will be at the bottom. Cake came out of the pan with zero difficulty.
Made this for Christmas dinner and everyone, even non-gingerbread fans, loved it.
Made it 4 days in advance and let it sit on a covered cake stand and had no problems with drying out or anything
Could I use butter instead of oil ?
yes, i don’t use oil for any baking. Just melt an equal amount of butter to the amount called for! Works great!
Thanks, I did, and it did work great!
Why no salt in this recipe?
I’ve added about a tsp each time I’ve made this, and the salt really helps the flavors of the spices to pop.
And I’ve never had a problem with a release either – could adding salt help the release??
Agree, this needs salt. I just made it a few days ago for the first time and I added a bit of salt to the flour mixture, but it wasn’t enough. It needs at least 3/4 of a teaspoon, I think. I’ll probably add that and a dash of vanilla next time I make it.
Hey Deb…forgot the stout. Substituting with 1 cup of ginger beer and 2 tbs Kraken rum. Ill let you know how it turns out.
I have been baking this gingerbread cake annually for Christmas since 2011 to my family’s delight…it’s THE Christmas dessert. I finished baking two of these cakes in Bundt cake pans today. I had some new variables to contend with- new pans, a new oven (we just moved), and a new oatmeal stout that I found at Trader Joe’s (vs tried and true Guinness). Additionally, the regular grocery store ran out of molasses so I had to use the remaining TJs blackstrap molasses that we had at home. I took no chances with the sticking. I used practically the entire can of baking (flour/oil) spray to cover both pans. I let the cakes completely cool in the pan itself, loosely nudged around the perimeter w a knife, then inverted onto a couple of platters. Phew. No sticking. Happy holidays, and thanks again, Deb, for sharing a recipe so loved by my family!
I made this last night and it was a huge hit !!
Pic from Facebook decorated with whipped cream and sugared cranberries from the layered version.
Will make again. I was lucky that only the tiniest of pieces stuck to the pan. Everything else came out great. The flavor was amazing , the cranberries were superb with it. I used only dried ginger . Not as many cloves because Ives are strong . Used butter instead of oil .
Used a stout with molasses and paprika .
So good. Can’t wait to make it again next year
This cake tastes AMAZING. Unfortunately, it sunk terribly and also stuck to my overly fancy bundt pan. But that’s okay… I ended up making the most incredible gingerbread trifle with it (with whipped cream and caramel sauce). I will definitely be making this again, but in a simpler pan.
Butter and sprinkle granulated sugar in your pan; instead of flour. I have a fancy Nordic ware cake mold and it did not stick at all! This really works!!
I made this tonight with Sam Adams Winter Lager in place of the stout and it is delicious! This is my kind of gingerbread.
This cake is wonderfully moist, sticky, and FLAVORFUL. Thank you! I just served it for Christmas, dusted with powdered sugar and topped with homemade whipped cream. I baked it in a tube pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom (which I then greased and floured) to avoid the cake sticking. Per other commenters’ recommendations, I also dialed down the baking powder to 1 1/4tsp, and it didn’t sink.
I’ve made this recipe five times now, it’s amazing. In my last two batches I added 3 tablespoons of black cocoa (King Arthur Flour brand) and it accomplished exactly what I was after! Intensifying that dark bitter edge of molasses and also bringing forward the stout flavor from the Guinness. It doesn’t add chocolate flavor at all, and it’s one of those “secret ingredients” you would never detect unless told about it… just adds that “something” for when you’re really into the really dark spicy gingerbread.
I made this cake last week and it was splendid. It is in my oven baking again and it has fallen!!! What could be the problem? Did everything the same???
This recipe seems to fall and sink for some, not others. I looked at a page from America’s Test Kitchen site about sinking cakes and none of the reasons and solutions applied to me. I followed the recipe exactly and mine sunk too. (Used individual cakelet pans) One person here said to add less baking powder- only 1 & 1/4 tsp. One said to use a less fancy pan and bake in loaf pans. Didn’t attempt those yet. To keep from sticking IN the pan, use parchment paper. I greased my pans heavily and some still stuck in- but not all of them. Can’t use parchment in the gingerbread boys and girls cakelet pans. anyway. I am considering using less sugar next time also. This cake tastes very good, but is very sweet, like eating a candy bar. Serving a very small portion is still over the top sweet!
Is there a reason you say not to use black strap molasses?
Claudia Fleming said not to in her original recipe, feeling it was too bitter (I assume) but in the years since, I’ve definitely used it when it’s all I had and it was fine.
Where’s the salt??? I see in your modified layered version you have 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
So I used 1/2 tsp of kosher salt – added it. You say Bundt pan, but I realized didn’t specify the size. I have what I think is a small Bundt pan (it says 6 cups), so I had way more batter. I quickly buttered and floured a pyrex loaf pan. At 350 for 45 minutes or so, they were done per the toothpick test. Having made the honey cake many times and used less baking powder, I took your advice and only used 1 tsp. baking powder, however the loaf did sink a bit in the middle. BUT so delicious so who cares. Also, my bundt came out perfectly – nothing stuck. I think because of your warnings I buttered the Hell out of it and floured it and then put it in the fridge. But, I also think because I wasn’t using the same size as you and wasn’t sure of the time, I overcooked it by a few minutes which gave it a fab carmelized crust (loaf pan too). Perhaps this was why it just popped out. Anyway, I’ll definitely make this again. Thank you. And add salt.
I add salt to mine too. It needs it!
I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now, thanks to you, and it’s my husband’s favorite – no other gingerbread recipe will do! But I’ve long had the pan challenges, so this year I decided to use non-stick cooking spray (not even the baking spray), spray a 9×13 glass pyrex, put down parchment, spray it again, and put the batter in there. I baked it at 350 for 45 minutes and it wasn’t as pretty as in a bundt but I just cut it into squares and piled them on a plate and it was tasty as ever, and so much less hassle. Happy new year and thanks for all the recipes!
I make this every year now – such a stellar dessert for the holidays! I use a dark-ish bundt, so I lower the temp by 25 degrees, though the baking time is about the same (if a little longer). fwiw, we’re still eating it on New Year’s Day (I made it on Christmas Eve) and it tastes just as delicious and doesn’t seem in any danger of drying out, with no signs of going bad. I wonder if the Guiness/stout in it helps it keep it a bit longer? Thanks for introducing me to this recipe!
made this version for the first time this year (have made 101 Cookbooks’ Black Sticky Gingerbread for years) and I LOVED IT. will probably stick with this one from now on — i make gingerbread annually for new year’s day)
Didn’t shy away from the ginger, added a bit more cardamom (i love it, and know Deb doesn’t), and greased the heck out of my bundt. turned out great!
Delicious, moist, with Z strong flavors.
Because I had a problem with my oven, a bit of the top did stick in the pan but I was able to put it all together and cover the flaws with powdered sugar.
I used gluten-free flour (Bob’s 1 to 1) with no problem. I made the cake one evening and served it the next. It was actually better after two days. It held up well for a few days and the pieces I froze were excellent after a week or more.
I thought the whipped cream was unnecessary and got lost in the strong flavors. Vanilla bean ice cream was the preferred choice at my house.
I would definitely make this again.
I LOVE this recipe. Everyone who has tried the cake loves it too, and I’ve made it a lot of times for a lot of audiences over the years. Thank you Deb for sharing!
I recently tried halving the sugar (actually, just left out the brown sugar entirely since there was already plenty of molasses flavor and just used 1 cup refined sugar). I thought it was 100% as good with only 1 cup sugar total and would recommend leaving the second cup out unless you have a sweet tooth. Also adding 1 T of freshly grated ginger was excellent. The recipe fit great in a 9.5″x4.5″ loaf pan (easier if you are concerned about sticking).
This recipe, which I made here in the UK, is fabulous with blackstrap molasses (the only type available in Ocado’s delivery site). It’s a balance of savory and sweet and delicious with a cup of vanilla rooibos tea.
I made a double recipe of this yesterday. One recipe was in an angel food pan and the other was split between a loaf pan and 8 x 8 square pan. The square pan cooked quickest followed by the loaf pan. All were delicious. Thanks Deb!
My Go To Gingerbread recipe. Absolutely delicious!
Hi! What are your thoughts on making this in a tube pan instead of a Bundt? I don’t have a Bundt and tbh don’t want to own one….Thank you!
I think it will work just fine. But, if it’s a two-piece tube, wrap the outside tightly in foil because the batter is thin.
I’ve made this a few times recently after purchasing a jug of molasses upstate. It never turns out poorly. I made a few tweaks the last time, and they seemed to make my efforts more successful.
– I used two loaf pans, with parchment slings and plenty of baking spray
– my beer was flat. I let the molasses/beer mixture cool down all the way (I usually rush it)
– reduced the baking powder by 1/4 tsp
– baked for 47 min. Then let them cool in the oven, with the door open
After an hour cooling in oven, I ran a knife around the ends and was able to lift them out. No sinking! No cake sacrificed to the baking pan gods!
Hi Deb. I have all your books and love your work. I have a question about this recipe. You credit Claudia Fleming as the source, but today I looked at the recipe in her rereleased book The Last Course, and the recipe is the same except for she calls for a ½ Tablespoon baking soda, and only ½ cup each of white and brown sugar and 1 T fresh ginger. I know there has been a misprint in another recipe for a citrus tart in her book so I’m nervous about what to try. Any comments or suggestions?
This is from the original, not the re-release. I’ve always made it this way. I cannot say if the new level is better — I assume she feels it is — without testing it. I hope to this winter. Until then, I have no concerns about making this as written here, as I always have.
Thanks for getting back so promptly! I would be really interested to hear how you make out with the newly released recipe. On the EYB site there have been a couple of comments of cake failure and Another comment it it worked great. Look forward to your post about your experience.
Thanks Smitten Kitchen for posting this Gingerbread recipe that you adapted from Claudia Fleming, it was delicious. Would you have any idea of why mine sunk?
I have made this many many times serving it in a one-pound foil tin as gifts and large loaf pans, bunt pans and cake pans. They all sink a bit in the middle. Will try your tip to dial back the baking powder. Thank you for the commenbt
This is one of my favorite desserts of all time and now it has become synonymous with Christmas for me and our family. However, this year I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (thanks, 2020!!), and I was wondering if you think this would still come out well if I substitute gluten free AP flour? If I do, do you think I would need to adjust any other ingredients? Thanks so much and I LOVE your recipes!!!
Just in the process of making this.
But my favourite side to gingerbread is lemon curd.
So for a pandemic Christmas, gingerbread cupcakes (with a little candied ginger on top) with individual mason jars with the curd, so you can smear on as much as you want!
I made this today in a loaf tin. I halved the sugar (using 1/2 cup each of treacle, dark brown sugar and caster sugar) and switched the all-purpose flour for self-raising flour, omitting the baking powder. It turned out perfectly – fit in the one tin, is plenty sweet enough for me, and rose beautifully with no sinking 🙂
That’s great — you were able to fit the whole recipe in one loaf pan?
I reviewed the comments before attempting this recipe and have had a 50/50 success. I used two standard identical loaf pans, baked simultaneously, rotated half way through on convection cook setting. One sunk a bit, one did not! I assumed the issue others had faced was going to be a combo of baking powder ( I followed the suggested reduction to 1 1/4tsp) and egg temp (cold eggs sometimes cause sinking). I am wondering if I failed to adequately ‘ribbon’ the eggs and sugars with the whisk. 2 cups of sugar in to 3 eggs is a lot of whisk work for us weaklings….perhaps this could be done more consistently with a mixer? It wouldn’t really add to the clean up tally. Happy Holidays to All!
I reduced by Baking Powder to 1 tsp and did a simple but vigorous whip with the eggs and butter and found this eliminate the sinking center you identify. I am at sea level and did use room temp eggs; I have a wonky oven and have to monitor the temp regularly and even with the spikes in heat they still came out ok.
I always use my kitchen aid mixer for cakes
Do you think this would work as cupcakes? My family is doing socially distanced Christmas and will be exchanging an individually portioned meal…. If you think a cupcake would work do you have thoughts on icing? Or stick to powdered sugar?Or maybe I should do the gingerbread snacking cake in cupcake form?
Cupcakes would be delicious, although they’ll want to stick to the papers (too). Why not dollop some whipped cream on top too? You can stabilize it with a little sour cream or mascarpone.
Do you think this cake would hold up well I’m the freezer? And if so what would be the best way to defrost it and serve?
It should freeze well. I’d just leave it out at room temp until thawed; probably just needs a few hours.
I have made this cake many many times in a one-pound foil tin with a clear plastic cover that snaps on and put them in the freezer for over a month. When allowed to come to room temp they are just fine. Also I froze them with a cream cheese/marscapone type frosting and both held up very very well.
This cake is fabulous – it’s a bit of work but the flavour cannot be beat for a festive dessert.
I made it a couple of years ago and had to turn it into a layer cake because I fought too much with my bundt pan. This year I made it in a springform pan, which isn’t perfect because it does sink a bit and hard to camouflage. Also don’t forget to wrap your pan for leaks if using springform.
I garnished with sugared cranberries from Deb’s gingerbread layer cake recipe and served with whipped cream. It was a huge hit!
I used my bundt pan this year with success! (it’s a non-stick nordicware). First, I buttered the heck out of it. Next, I did a light coating of flour. Then, I sprayed it with pam and then I did a sprinkling of granulated sugar. It may have been overkill, but nothing stuck!
I love this cake and make it every winter. However, I’ve been diagnosed with celiacs this year…any idea how it would turn out substituting with gluten-free flour? I’m not very experienced with gf flour yet and suspect it will be a disappointment. Any tips would be much appreciated!
Thank you so much,
I haven’t tested this gluten-free but here are comments from people who have:
Line your bundt or Nordicware pan with butter and granulated sugar. It will slide right out! I learned this hack last year and will never go back to using flour in my bundt pans. It also leaves a beautiful crystalline finish.
This cake is absolutely delicious! The texture is scrumptious and really holds up to a big dollop of whipped cream. I will be making it again!
But Deb, I cannot call this a ginger cake. It’s a molasses cake. I tasted almost no ginger and I followed the recipe to a T.
There are so many comments about this cake that I could not read them all, but I do wonder if anyone else feels the way I do.
This is certainly a very good molasses cake.
But calling it gingerbread? No.
Now I’m off to search for a gingerbread cake to satisfy my ginger tastebuds.
Perhaps your ginger was not fresh? I’ve made this several times and the ginger flavor is in the forefront. Dried spices lose their flavor after sometime. Next time you make this, buy a fresh bottle of ginger.
Just made this for the first time for Covid Christmas Eve and no issues with it breaking apart! It didn’t fall right out after shaking and tapping the sides, but once I decided to just leave it upside down it came out a minute later, all in one piece and with a crunchy top. It was simple and quick once the beer and molasses was cool, though I did accidentally put baking powder in that mixture by mistake. I put it back in with the dry and had the tiniest sinkage in the center (and I think I only did 3/4 teaspoon–it could have been taller I guess but I liked the consistency) but barely noticeable, nothing like the honey cake pictures. Thanks Deb for all of your recipes!
I made this cake today, and it’s nearly 10:30pm and I’m laying in bed thinking about getting up and eating another giant slice. It is by far the best gingerbread I’ve ever had. Per suggestions here, I used 1 tsp baking powder and 2/3 cup of oil. I baked mine in a parchment-lined 9×13 pan and had no trouble at all with any sinking. I also realized we were out of the stout I thought we had so I used a farmhouse ale. I tried a small corner and after swooning decided that I wanted a light layer of frosting, so I made A Cozy Kitchen’s browned-butter cream cheese frosting. Over the top and exactly what I was craving. Thanks Deb for another winner!
Butter your pan and coat it with granulated sugar. It will not stick and it will also leave a beautiful crystalline finish on your cake’s exterior. Best hack I’ve learned in a while-and not well-known! It really works. I used My intricate Nordic ware cake mold and I didn’t lose one morsel-came out picture perfect
Thinking you, who know almost all, might have an old recipe from Gourmet for ginger cake, not gingerbread. It was baked in a loaf pan and used powdered ginger, fresh ginger and crystallized ginger. I remember it had a German name.
Fingers crossed. Thanks so much.
Could either of these be it?
Deb, she who knows almost all—think you nailed it with the ginger cake recipe 231208. Will bake this week and let you know. Ever grateful for your help.
Please DO NOT butter a Bundt pan. I generously buttered a Bundt pan the first time I made this and some stuck. So the next time I even more generously buttered the pan and even more stuck! Turns out, the proteins in the butter lead to sticking. I will use vegetable shortening when I try again for NYE as the Christmas cake was ruined.
I’ve made this twice and twice it’s stuck. The second time I buttered very generously and it stuck even more. Upon further research, it looks like the proteins in the butter cause sticking. I will use shortening when I try again for NYE as my Christmas cake was ruined.
Terrific recipe. Now *this* is what gingerbread is supposed to be. Added bonus: enough Guiness left over to make a nice little Black & Tan while you’re waiting for it to bake and, oddly, the Black & Tan pairs nicely with the gingerbread ;)
So delicious! I made this for my mum’s birthday. We used to love Mark’s and Spencer’s ginger cake (but can no longer get it in Canada). This came in very close to that cake. Thank you!
Delicious gingerbread. I discovered that I forgot to add the baking soda to the molasses and Guinness mixture. I added it to the final batter and if it made any difference at all, I cannot say. The cake is rich and moist and luxurious.
I picked up one of the four cakelet pans offered through King Arthur Flour, mostly to bake pound cakes, but tried it on this recipe…perfection! Bake time is 30 mins in the cakelet pan.
Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for the beer? I’d like to take this to work but have several Muslim coworkers who do not ingest alcohol.
I have used the following Porter beer substitute with great success
For each 10 oz of “near Beer”
1 cup of water
1 Tablespoon french roast coffee grounds – (1 instant foil packets will work)
3 Tbsp loose or 4 barley tea bags
3 Tbsp date palm syrup
1 Tbsp dark barley malt syrup
3/4 teaspoon black coco powder – optional but adds a dark brooding richness
bring to a boil, remove from heat and step for 5 minutes before straining, cooling and ready for use.
I tried a neighbors version of this cake using Malta Soda instead of the beer,
Malta is dark malty soda popular in Latin America and very much has a stout beer like flavor with no alcohol and can usually be found in the Latin food isle of most grocers
a quick tip for folks having issues with their batter, use shortening instead of oil and use the two step or High Ratio mixing method as this recipe simply by ingredient quantity is a high ratio formula,
Having baked this cake for the last 15 years or so using shortening I have found that reducing the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoons.
blend shortening fully into all of the dry ingredients, then blend in the eggs, followed by slowly adding the ale molasses mixture and whipping for 2 minutes provides a lovely batter and excellent baked cakes.
Thank you most kindly Deb for sharing this recipe and providing a great way to send my friends to your blog and introduce them to your kitchen.
I’m thinking nuts and raisins could be added. Has anyone tried this?
This is the first time I made this and followed the recipe as written. What a disaster! The batter was very thin, albeit sticky. I used small loaf pans, a regular loaf pan and a Nordicware Autumn Delights pan filling each 2/3 of the way. The batter cooked out of the small pans and the Autumn delights pan. Ehat a message! All of the cakes fell. The finished product is very sticky and almost caramel like around the edges. The Autumn Delights shapes are all caramel and stick to my teeth. Too bad! The flavor is so good but I won’t risk wasting the ingredients on another try.
This cake is totally delicious and totally maddening to me. I live in the Rocky Mts at about 5000 feet elevation. Even with high altitude recipe adjustments it is a gamble as to whether or not the cake will release from the pan. EVERY TIME! I have gone to a COOKs Illustrated recipe that uses the same ingredient list (including the essential Guinness) but with slightly different proportions and directions for mixing. Has better luck so far with their recipe.
I’ve made this for the past 3 Christmas’ and it’s delicious. I want to make a recommendation in regards to preparing the pan so as to prevent sticking. (I have one of those beautiful Nordic ware pans with lots of detail) I buttered thoroughly and coat it with granulated sugar. It creates a barrier between the batter and the pan and slips out effortlessly.
We love this cake! This year I added some crystallized ginger for some added spice. We will see how it turns out.
I want to make this tonight and do not have any stout on hand. Can I use orange juice in place of it?!
Just took this out of the oven and, in spite of my incompetence (I actually forgot the baking powder altogether), it came out beautifully and in one piece. I think this was my third attempt at this cake and I was apprehensive as I am planning on giving it to someone for their family Christmas get together, no pressure there. It’s lovely and again, in spite of forgetting the baking powder, it does not appear to be a brick. I will probably give it a dusting of powdered sugar just to cover up the traces of flour from the pan but otherwise I am very pleased.
This was delicious – and came out perfectly!
I have never had one of your recipes fail – thanks for all of your hard work testing your recipes and the detailed and fun process you include with each. Your site is my first go-to when I need to make something. I have to say that for the last decade I have always made all of your recipes with gf flour (for the past six, with Bob’s 1 to 1 GF mix) and every single one has come out perfectly – from wedding cakes to tarts and dutch babies. Recently I have developed an intolerance to rice so I am making my own ancient grains gf flour mix and used it in this cake as my first test. It is a bit of a heavier mix, with millet, sorghum, tapioca starch, arrowroot, teff, etc but it still came out so well! Everyone loved the level of spice – even my not-so-adventurous 8yo. As advised, I really coated the pan with lots of butter (used the same pan as you have in the photo) and then sprinkled a bit of sugar then loads of my flour mix… and not a bit stuck! We loved it warm and also loved it cold the next day. I did a mix between unsweetened cream and the marscapone cream recipe you linked to (added much less sugar and less marscapone) and it was the perfect accompaniment!
Oh, I forgot to mention – I didn’t have stout on hand so used strong decaf coffee and was amazing.
I made this cake a few days ago, and it is delicious! Getting better with age!
This recipe is amazing! I make it every year, and we love it.
Made this for the first time this year for Christmas and it was so good! My dad is already asking for another one. As mentioned, it did stick despite ample buttering but it was so good that it didn’t matter!
Is the carbonation in the stout necessary to the rise? If I’m using coffee instead, should I whip the eggs (or just the whites) for a little additional aeration?
I’ve made this three times now!
First time, no sticking, my friends looooved it so much they keep asking for it again.
Second time, I used coarse white sugar, I should have used finer ground. The big sugar crystals sank to the bottom and created a melted toffee layer at the bottom of the mould (top of the cake). The cake came out pretty well, just without a clean top shape. No problems, still tasted great!
Third time, perfect :)
It’s the flavour that makes this cake – the intense ginger and hint of cardamom. I love it. And love that bundt cakes don’t need decoration ;)
I make this every year and always have the same problem with it sinking. I know you mention in the notes about maybe changing the amount of raising agent but since you posted this have you had any luck with it not sinking? It’s still really delicious and often the sinkage is not that noticeable when it is turned over, until it is cut anyway.
I came to say I’ve made this for over 10 years now and every time I turn it over, I get stressed out. I tried power weed sugar and it slid right out…I thought broke in half but it’s perfect!!
If any of you amazing bakers happens by I have a question. I am making a “piecaken” as a gift for my brother in law for Christmas this year. I am wondering if I could bake half the batter as a first layer, put the pie in and then pour in the last of the batter. Could the cake handle a second bake, do you think?
Happy Holidays! I love this cake and am always looking for an excuse to make it. Is Blackstrap Molasses not used because most people find the taste too intense or because it will change the baking properties? I’m in Germany where it is hard to get molasses at all and often blackstrap is the only kind available. In that case, is it better to use blackstrap molasses or substitute treacle? Thanks!
I made these in a nonstick mini Bundt pan and they came out great. I only filled them a little more than half and they still overflow the rims a bit but I trimmed them while warm with a kitchen shears to neaten them up and got a little cook’s treat as a bonus! I baked them for 23 minutes at 350. I just used baking spray pan release, brushing it into all the crevices and they popped right out.
I made this for Christmas Eve dessert two days ago and people lost their damn minds. It is so exceptionally good. (Made with gluten-free all-purpose flour.)
My mother-in-law, a sweets addict, sat in stunned silence for a minute and then declared, “This is the best gingerbread I’ve ever had.”
Then she came to her senses and said, “You introduce our family to such wonderful things. YOU’RE SO CLASSY!”
If you want a happy mother-in-law, make this gingerbread.
Made this couple of days ago and it literally exploded over my oven, overflowing the pan. Then it sank and I mean really sank. Kept with it and waited till toothpick came out cleanly, gave it thw 5 mins resting time and then tried turning it out- what a disaster, despite heavily buttering and flouring the bundt pan most of the cake topping stuck and separated – it was very gooey. Be made this before and had a little sinkage and a couple of spots where it sank but never before had this dismal result. I’ve no idea where it went wrong
Taste and texture was fantastic. I made it one day ahead and it had a deliciously chewy texture when we ate it on day 2. However I think the flavor and texture got even better on days 3 and 4! I served with homemade whipped cream which was great, but it really didn’t need it, this cakes can stand on its own.
When I turned it out of the well-greased and floured pan a small portion of the outer crust stuck to the pan, but very minor, it was not as big a deal as described.
I will be making this cake every December, it’s that good.
“So damp and rich a cake!”
I’ve made this every year for several years and this year made it for thanksgiving and Christmas. For thanksgiving, I only had the brown sugar they had at Costco and it definitely wasn’t as dark and didn’t get that nice crust. For Christmas, I made all the perfect adjustments: I used an anchor steam holiday ale, melted butter instead of oil, muscavado sugar in place of the db sugar, and used granulated sugar instead of flouring the buttered Bundt pan. I didn’t lose a single crumb (which, let’s be honestly, I used to eat a piece of that sticky goodness). Definitely try granulated sugar if you’re losing a lot of the cake in your pan!!
This was amazing! I doubled the recipe and baked in 6 small tins. I messed up and mixed flour with the egg and sugar rather than combining the sugar/egg, molasses/beer and oil first. The consistency seemed too loose so I added another approximately half cup flour. The one thing I added was the zest of one orange. I frosted with barely sweetened cream cheese frosting adorned with candied orange peel and ginger.
Thanks for this wonderful recipe!
You need a baking disaster now and then to keep you humble – I have made this gingerbread numerous times. Since I don’t have a very sweet tooth, I cut the sugars back by half and add 1 tbsp. of minced ginger. I was hosting a dinner party last night and planned to serve this as dessert. For some demented reason I set the oven at 400 degrees and didn’t realize my error until I started to smell a burning odor! Ugh – toothpick said the cake was done with a very charred outside. Needless to say it did not come out of the pan in one piece. Which, as numerous others have commented, this cake sticks under the best of cooking temps and lavish buttery pan prep. So for those of you who may confront this problem – I turned the edible “insides” into a trifle – layered with whipped cream, a dallop of rum, roasted pears and topped with minced candied ginger. Enthusiastically received by guests. P.S. the left over insides of the cake are delicious!