For the last seven Christmas Eves, I have made the gingerbread cake Claudia Fleming made famous during her time at Gramercy Tavern. The first year, I was so excited about it that I made it twice, first, for the holiday and then so I could tell you all about it because I think we all know that a Deb-fitted torture chamber would be me making some awesome cooking discovery and not being able to run to the internet to tell you about it immediately.
But every year after that, it’s given me a hard time. At first, I shrugged it off — a chunk stayed behind in the pan, I pasted it back on and showered the cake with an extra blizard of sugar “snow.” Two chunks stayed behind, we teased it for its lopsidedness while eating it with no-less-diminished vigor. But it didn’t get better from there. I assumed it was my greasing technique; maybe this cake was no match for my beloved Baker’s Joy? I doubled-down on the buttering and the flouring and was rewarded with the cake equivalent of a gap-toothed 6 year-old. I did the same but gave it 20 minutes to set in the freezer; it mocked my efforts. I switched to the Crisco my mom swears by for pan release; the hungry hungry bundt still ate a third of the cake. I questioned the half-life of factory-applied nonstick coating, but it was hard to ignore that the same coating was mighty effective at releasing other cakes. Finally, I pulled in the big guns, this mix of shortening, oil, and flour many more talented bakers than myself swear by; the situation was so bad that year, I had to make this cake at the last minute instead.
This is where the story arc demands a resolution. Here is where I’m supposed to say “But here’s what finally worked!” This is America! We like happy endings. Alas, as I’ve run out of solutions, I’ve instead changed vessels. Down with bumps and notches; down with shapes that do not allow for the ultimate in cake-release security, a layer of parchment paper. Up with celebratory layer cakes! Poured thin, sandwiched with whipped mascarpone cream, stacked high and a little messy and crowed with the festive-est berry tiara, we still get to eat our favorite gingerbread cake on Christmas Eve and the only chunk of gingerbread that isn’t going to make it to the table this year is that plated wedge up front. We’ll blame the elf.
One year ago: Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles and Fairytale of New York
Two years ago: Linzer Torte and Breakfast Slab Pie
Three years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Four years ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Five years ago: Broiled Mussels and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Six years ago: Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce, Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes and How to Host Brunch (and Still Sleep In)
Seven years ago: Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake, Sausage-Stuffed Potato with a Green Salad, Seven-Layer Cookies, Grasshopper Brownies, Potato Pancakes, Even Better
Eight years ago: Austrian Raspberry Shortbread and Slice-and-Bake Cookie Palette
Nine years ago: Pecan Squares, Boozy Baked French Toast and Zucchini Latkes
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Herbed Summer Pasta Bake
1.5 Years Ago: Frozen Coconut Limeade
2.5 Years Ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
3.5 Years Ago: Cold Rice Noodle with Peanut-Lime Chicken
4.5 Years Ago: Rich Homemade Ricottaand Linguine with Pea Pesto
Gingerbread Layer Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream and Sugared Cranberries
Adapted from Claudia Fleming (cake), Nancy Silverton (stabilized cream) and My Recipes (sugared cranberries)
This recipe makes three thin cake layers. As most of us have 2 cake pans, at best, you could also make it into two thicker cake layers, giving it a little more baking time. Or, you could do as I did, which is to hold the last bit of batter in a bowl until the first layer comes out and can be unmolded. It holds up just fine at room temperature for an hour. You’ll have up to 1 cup more whipped cream than you’ll need; you can make a little less or just keep the rest in a jar for another dessert. The cream stays stable due to the added mascarpone, although that was my preference and creme fraiche or sour cream are usually what’s recommended. (Read more about why here.) Finally, the sugared cranberries are something I auditioned at the last minute for the first time so I’m hardly an expert (but hope to be, in two or three bags); you’ll want to start them the night or day before. You’ll have way more than you’ll need; the rest make pretty gifts, festive treats or can be scattered on plates when serving.
1 cup (200 grams) plus 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup (100 grams) fresh cranberries
1 cup (235 ml) oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup (235 ml) dark molasses (ideally, not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup (190 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) vegetable or another neutral oil
2 cups (260 grams) 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
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of ground cardamom
2 cups (475 ml) heavy or whipping cream
6 tablespoons (45 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) mascarpone
Make sugared cranberries: Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a gentle simmer (not a full boil) on the stove, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Pour mixture into a bowl and let syrupy cranberries chill in fridge overnight, or at least 8 hours. The next morning, drain cranberries (you can reserve syrup for soda or sweetening cocktails). Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl and roll cranberries in it. Arrange them on a tray or plate and refrigerate for another 45 minutes to an hour, so that the sugar sets. (They’ll feel mostly dry to the touch.)
Make the cake layers: Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour, or use a nonstick spray to coat three 9-inch round cake pans (see note above re: if you have fewer) and line the bottom of each with a fitted round of parchment paper.
Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat; whisk in baking soda carefully — it will foam up. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugars and oil. Whisk in eggs, then whisk in cooled stout-molasses mixture. Place dry ingredients in a fine-mesh sieve or sifter and shake over bowl. Stir until just combined.
Divide batter into prepared cake pans; you’ll have about (updated!) a scant (bit less than) 2 cups or 515 grams of batter in each. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then flip out onto cooling rack, carefully remove parchment paper (it’s sticky) and flip back right side-up, letting each layer cool completely. You can hasten this along outside (if it’s cold) or in the freezer.
Make whipped mascarpone cream: Beat heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a whisk or electric beaters until soft peaks form. Beat in mascarpone, one spoonful at a time, just until it disappears into the cream.
Assemble cake: Place first cake layer on cake stand and level top with a serrated knife if it has domed. Spread with 1 cup whipped mascarpone. Repeat twice, then smooth sides. Decorate with sugared cranberries. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until needed.
280 comments on gingerbread layer cake
A good layer cake is the best! I love this gingerbread version for the holidays. That cream recipe you used sounds amazing!
A little old lady who lived near our convent and was the renown home baker in our area told me to grease and SUGAR my bundt pan. No flour. ever since then I lavish it with butter and then coat with granulated sugar. It works like a dream and that was BEFORE we got non-stick bundt pans. It also gives the cake a nice firm outer layer.
That’s what I do too! King Arthur Flour tells you to do that, too!!
Oh thanks for the tip! I will try it next time.
I made this cake for a party. I then bought a 3rd cake pan because I’m going to make it every year! We’ll have it tomorrow after our roasted cracked crab! Merry Merry!
I made a spice cake in my bundt pan twice without any problems. The next two times i had to pull the cake out with my hands…Nordicware blamed me for not using the right baking spray and followed up that i would never be able to remove all of the residue from my pan… I don’t even know what to think or do. Maybe a layer cake.
Looks amazing! do you think a hint of coffee flavor in either the cake or the cream would be good?
That sounds really good, did you ever try it?
Those castle-like bundt pans always looked fraught with peril to me. I’m impressed you even attempted it all those years. This version looks delicious and attainable!
This cake sounds amazing… and that little elf too cute for words…I will have to try this later… and at the risk of making your head explode there might be one more thing to try. I’ve been told that bakers will triple grease their pans, chilling to solid the previous layer (s).Maybe worth a shot although that frosting sounds divine! Happy Christmas!
I’ve only attempted the bundt version a couple of times, but they both fell apart so dramatically that I ended up making trifles with gingerbread pudding and whipped cream. Delicious, but it’s a huge dessert and very rich so I end up with tons leftover. This looks like the perfect solution!
This sounds like christmas heaven! I find that gingerbread can be quite dry and hard so a gingerbread cake sounds perfect.
oh my this look so good I love ginger!
I always have panettone for Christmas but this year I will be making my own cake. Homemade is always best and this gingerbread cake looks fab! The perfect cake for Christmas. Happy holidays!
As always, you are my hero. This afternoon I was set to make the bundt version as a test for Christmas. I even bought the Baker’s Joy stuff, although I never have needed it for any recipe. The family decided on gingerbread for Christmas, and how could I not make the best-sounding gingerbread ever? Now I just need to go buy some mascarpone and I am set. So now I have questions…I was going to make this 2 days early as it gets better with age…can I do that and wrap up the layers and frost on Christmas Day?
Hi! I can’t find stout if any kind where I live, any suggestions? Thank you so much and Merry Christmas!
Hi Paola, Deb has a nearly identical recipe on this site, called gingerbread snacking cake, that swaps out water for beer. I’ve made it several times and it’s so good, I hesitate to use the beer because I can’t imagine anything better. Happy baking
I have just auditioned sugared cranberries myself on two fresh fruit tarts. I dried them outside the fridge and also used the method from 100 cookbooks of rolling them first in organic sugar (sligtly larger crystals), then white granulated sugar (immediately, without the wait time). Came out great!
Would blackstrap molasses make a significant, bad difference? Might it work ok?
Wonderful! I’m making this tomorrow. Could I swap out fresh ginger for the powdered? If so, what’s the ratio?
The original bundt gingerbread has become a Christmas institution in my family and while I remember being worried about its release from the (flexible, silicone) pan I don’t recall it ever ending up a disaster. I do like this alternative though!
I have made that bundt cake for the last 4 Christmases, with the first year coming out beautifully, and the next 3 years with gradually declining results. Last year, it was so bad I made an (admittedly delicious) trifle from the destroyed cake. Still delicious, and cheers to finding a creative solution.
Deb — I have made that Gramercy Tavern gingerbread from your website’s recipe religiously for every holiday season since 2010 and have maybe only ONCE (!) lost a chunk of it. The secret? PAM for baking sprayed generously in a non-stick bundt. Seriously, I think the only time I did lose a bit of cake is when I ran out of the PAM and had to resort to other measures instead. (no compensation here from the PAM people, the stuff just really really works, ha).
This cake looks marvelous, but I just can’t give up that gingerbread — it’s too delicious! Maybe I will make them side by side this year and really wow the crowd :)
I love the Gramercy Tavern gingerbread and also make it every year. I make it in my mini loaf pans and it usually comes out just fine. And they’re adorable and shareable!
That looks just my taste even if the weather is anything but Christmassy…any chance of getting the metric version?
I have a gingerbread cake recipe from myrecipes.com that adds 1 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger to the cake batter (in addition to the powdered ginger and other spices) and 1/2 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger to the whipped cream. It makes the cake pop without making it overly spicy – really good!
How does the flavor of this cake, with the stout, compare to the snacking cake? I absolutely love the snacking cake. So much so, I’m not sure I could make it past it to try the one with beer in it. The beer weirds me out a little.
I’ve made the Gramercy Tavern gingerbread cake every holiday season since I came across it here 4 years ago. It’s on my to do list again for this weekend. I make it in a bundt pan every time and have never lost a chunk. I think the problem may not be your pan or the greasing technique, but the amount of time the cake cools before unmolding it. Your recipe says to cool 5 minutes in the pan. I always ignore that. A cake that is still hot will rarely come out of a bundt pan unscathed. Cool it almost completely in the pan so that the cake structure has time to set up and become more firm. Then, I jiggle the pan slightly, tapping on the counter if necessary, until I can tell the cake is loose. Then, unmold it perfectly!
I swear by Wilton’s Cake Release .. easy to get from Amazon. It has the texture of vaseline (you can use a chopstick to help it come out); I just wipe it all over with my finger and never have any trouble getting cakes out of the most intricate pans.
I can imagine that I will fill this with both the mascarpone and some lemon curd. Yumm!
This looks so festive! I love that you used the marscapone so that it wouldn’t be overly sweet!
Oh, thank gosh it wasn’t just me with the doomed bundt cake. I cried. But I was pregnant, so that’s neither here nor there. Very excited to make it again, and be sure of its beauty and deliciousness. Thanks for fessing up–makes me feel better.
This looks scrumptious! I use a variation of your Gingerbread Snacking Cake in a bundt pan for special occasions, always comes out great. The changes I make are subbing honey/stevia for the sugar and using a gluten free flour mix.
Julie @16; I always use blackstrap molasses as I prefer the stronger flavor. Never been a problem.
I wonder if this would work as cupcakes?
We are a no alcohol family…due to the fact that too many people were major alcohol people for a while…any replacement suggestions for the stout?
Looks yummy and festive! Nice plan B for making the cakes – looks great.
For some reason I only make rum cake in a Bundt pan, I should try some others. Last night on the TV, Nigella made 3 different bundt cakes…she oiled the pans so heavily, she needed to turn them over to drain the excess oil. Perhaps a LOT of oil is the answer?
Deb! I just put the OLD gingerbread recipe in the oven for my husband’s birthday cake tonight. How much cuter would this have been as a birthday cake?? If only I had checked the blog a few hours ago. Ahh well, maybe next year! (Orrrr next week. ;)
Funny, we’ve never had a problem with the bundt version. But this looks delicious!
Oh nummy. I lovegingerbread anything, the frosting just takes it over the top. Off to the store!! (I bake with Splenda.)
My mom worked in a bakery before she got married. They used sugar instead of flour to coat a well-oiled pan. The edges will be a bit caramelized, but, no harm in that–much tastier than floured edges. I used to love eating the leftover sugar on the pan after the cake was removed and before the sugar cooled. Num. Anyway, I use this technique for cakes, brownies, and some quick (sweet, non-yeasted) breads. I do get some sticking, but, not often.
I am wondering – would granulated sugar of home made castor sugar work better for sprinkling pans? Cause I love the idea. Inspired t=by the GBBO I now make my own castor sugar in the food processor and then store it with used vanilla beans. So I would prefer to use this sugar for pans as well.
First, a question, if one preferred to do this the lazy way, I suppose it could be baked in a 9″x13″ pan? Also if one did not happen to have mascarpone, it seems like cream cheese frosting would be a tasty substitute. I, too, wonder about a substitute for the stout, but that probably asking too much. I know when I see someone ask for a substitute for an ingredient that is a major part of the recipe, I think- just go make something else!
I’m sorry you’ve had such trouble with the Gramercy recipe! I make it in 2 loaf pans and it comes out fine. I’ve never had an issue. We keep one and give one as a gift. It’s so delicious, I can’t imagine switching away from it.
I’ll admit though…this is tempting!
Hope you have a wonderful holiday with the kids. =)
Looks and sounds incredible, Deb! Happy Holidays!
I hate using oil in cakes. Has anyone tried melted butter, successfully?
For the folks looking for a substitute for the beer- maybe coffee or apple cider. Either would take your flavor in a different direction. Though there is a possibility those changes might change the interaction with the leavening.
Did you solve the mystery of the sunken middle? Last year, I halved the recipe into a 9-inch round, and my middle dipped. Wanted to make the cake again that way – any suggestions? I’m also in NYC, so same elevation, etc, if that’s part of the problem.
Can I make a layer cake out of your gingerbread snacking cake recipe instead? Or are they drastically different somehow?
Every year around this time, a really amazing woman that I know always posts a photo of her Gramercy cake to Facebook. Funny enough, she posted her cake photo this afternoon, soon after this post showed up in my feed. I told her about this post and asked what cake mold she used: A Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan from Williams Sonoma. (I tried to put the link in but it didn’t look clean to me, so I hope this description will suffice.) That and Baker’s Joy is her secret. She said she also subs out the alcohol with coffee. And boy oh boy, is her cake pretty.
I’m actually reminded of the gingerbread waffles from last year that was maybe the pregnancy announcement? If I remember correctly, those were a bear to clean.
That baby is going to start charging one cookie per photo.
Re: the sticking cake. I think the problem may be slight fat residue that sticks to the pan. My waffle iron instructions say not to use the non stick cooking spray on it for that very reason. Personally, I use shortening and apply it with my non stick basting brush. I scrub the daylights out of my waffle iron and cake pans after I remove the cake and rinse it with vinegar for insurance, I don’t make that many bundt cakes so maybe my pan just isn’t very sticky.
I was going to say I’d prefer this to any gbread cookie – but then you scared me with catch and release stories! Alas your thin layered mascar’frosted version is a beaut and I’m all in. If not by Friday, at least before the new year.
How about ginger as as a sub for beer? And I too often sub butter for oil in baking. I trust that would work here, no?
I’m making your rugelach today! Stop distracting me with all this gorgeousness!
I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned the gingerbread cake recipe from Ruth Reichl’s first novel, Delicious! I needed something to read on the plane and this book was perfect–a folded foodie magazine, a hidden room, a mystery, and letters to James Beard. As I was reading I was imagining the book as movie with Stanley Tucci. Has anyone tried Billie’s gingerbread recipe?
I am glad to see I am not the only one who is baffled by the stickiness of gingerbread. This year was my first year making true gingerbread cookies. All the stops. And I always roll it out w conf. Sugar or flour, but was hoping to try something easier, like parchment paper.
Oh my goodness. I’ve never seen something stick so intently to parchment. I had to take my cake spatula and literally scrap it all off. I ended up going w flour.
Baking spray helped release my cake from my the Bundt pan but I also added more flour then then recipe called for. :l
When I make banana bread cooking spray never works on the pan. The pans have to be greased very well then floured then shake the flour out. If you see spots where the flour doesn’t stick that means there was no shortening in that spot so grease again that spit and flour. I’m tempted to try this in a bundt pan to see my results. Even when i bake layer cakes I grease with shortening then cut circle of wax paper the. Grease and flour the paper resulting in no sticking. Another thing I learned a few years ago is Crisco now has no trans fat which will affect your frosting if made with that instead of butter. That’s also the reason a lot of crackers break so easily. I’m going to try this in my traditional bundt pan I have had for 40 years. It does not have nonstick surface so I will be greasing and flouring very good.
Grrrrrr!! I remember all my bundt cake release disasters. From the cheapest pan I could find to the most expensive one from William-Sonoma; they are all in bundt pan heaven. Whenever the recipe calls for a bundt pan I use an alternative.
Thanks Deb for this alternative….sounds delish
One other comment. I like the “naked” cake sides of your cake; that’s a new trend in frosting cakes. I’m going to smear mine here and there on sides and can’t wait to try this cake. I like the layered look better than a bundt so will be making it like yours. Have you tried baking strips that you pin around the cake pans. They work perfect to make your cakes come out perfectly flat and not domed which yours is not. Happy Holidays.
Can I make this in a bundt pan? If yes, how long should it bake? This looks like a great recipe!
So is this one better if made a day ahead as well or same day?
Dahlink: Yes, my mother-in-law made Reichl’s mother’s ginger cake for our niece’s wedding in October (friends and family were contributing the desserts), and she and I did a test-run here first. It was delicious, fairly moist, and not excessively spicy, which was a bit of a concern given the quantities. She used ground cloves on the second go-’round; it was just too much of a pain.
I have made this cake several times. Only the first time did I use a bundt pan and I had the same problem. Every time thereafter I used regular cake pans which worked like a charm. Even better, I was able to give away a layer. I have made too many cookies this year and have been dreaming of this cake. I think I may need to make it for the New Year celebration.
THANK YOU for posting this! I was looking for something just like this and you’ve totally made my day. :)
For cranberries, i have used fine granulated, or put granulated sugar through a coffee grinder. The finer mesh size adheres better. These are great set out on counter, for quick antioxidant treat!
Beautiful! I’ve proposed this to my husband as dessert for our New Year’s eve dinner party. I’ve made candied cranberries before but added orange blossom water (typically used in Middle Eastern pastries). I liked them but my husband didn’t like the flower flavor. For this recipe I think it would be delicious to boil lots of peeled, sliced ginger in the water first to extract as much flavor as possible then measure the water again to make sure there’s a full cup before adding and dissolving the sugar.
This cake looks amazing! I think I’m going to need to try this over the holiday weekend!
yum yum yum! great way to incorporate the gingerbread flavor! added to my must bake list!
I’m pregnant and have been *craving* a moist gingerbread cake with lemon frosting that I had once a long time ago. 1) Is this the very firm kind of gingerbread or the moist kind? 2) Do you have any suggestions for a lemon frosting, or even what type of lemon frosting to look for that would go with this? Thanks so much!
Your transparency is one quality I really appreciate about you!
How many cookbook authors EVER admit cooking setbacks?
I have been baking and cooking for decades, and yet, my
first batching favorite Christmas cookies failed this year! So
encouraging to know you are REAL! Problems & cooking
challenges happen. Thanks for the recipe & the photos, you
make this cake look stunning!!
Thanks, Amy M. (#59) for answering my question!
I’ve been a fan of the Granmercy’s gingerbread for years and I wanted to put a plug in for using blackstrap molasses, which the recipe expressly warns against. When I first made the cake I was in the Czech Republic and blackstrap was the only thing I had on hand. I’ve since come to love its rich, almost licorice-y flavor and would choose it above regular molasses for this cake, though I’m sure it could be overpowering in something where the flavors are less intense.
This will drive everyone crazy, can I just use Trader Joes gingerbread mix. Normally I never use mixes for cake…but this sounds really good thank..
last time I made the gingerbread I used ginger ale instead of the stout. Worth a a try for all the nonalcoholic houses
Just a suggestion….I have used Wilton’s Cake Release for a long time with bundt cakes and they come out perfect every time. Not saying it will work with this, but it might be worth a try. Thanks for all your great recipes!!
Caitlin — I’d say that this one is slightly more mild and slightly more sweet than the snacking cake; the beer adds a little depth, but not a beer flavor.
Metric measurements — Now added!
Cupcakes — I definitely think it would. I think it might make 2 dozen? But that’s a very rough guess.
Using blackstrap molasses — Actually, you can. Mostly it’s darker and more bitter than regular molasses, but neither of these things are unwelcome in gingerbread. Plus, this one is sweet, not excessively so, but not a wholly bitter cake, so a little extra bitter won’t ruin it.
Paola — Use any dark beer you can find. If you can’t find one, use what you have.
To make this ahead of time — You can either: make the cake layers as early as you’d like and freeze them until needed or make the whole cake and assemble it with the cream I’d say two days in advance. It will be edible longer, but will look freshest on the first two days.
Mira — A day ahead is great. Keeps well.
Vida — For a bundt pan, use the original recipe, right here.
Rosemaryandthegoat — Yes, I’ve tried them. Just finally gave the strips away after not using them for years recently. You can also bake a cake at 25 to 50 degrees less for flatter tops. This, however, barely domes. I’m just a little OCD and like things very flat, so I give it a faint shave.
Molly — Same pan I have, but not from Williams-Sonoma.
Can I substitute sorghum. Can’t find anything but blackstrap molasses. This is what I get for last minute planning :/
this looks and sounds and probably smells like the Christmas-iest layer cake one can imagine. The flavors are just wonderful, and the layers look perfect. If you hadn’t written about it, who would have guessed this was NOT plan A! Merry Christmas, Sabine
just wanted to say I’ve been loving your entertaining advice, the mussels dinner was warmly appreciated and your Thanksgiving menu was absolutely perfect! Wondering if you have similar recommendations for Christmas?
Btw, I made the gingerbread stout recipe in loaf pans and, like your Everyday Chocolate Cake, was fab from the icebox (I forgot the ginger and it was still yummy!).
The good folks at King Arthur told me that I MUST only cook the cake to exactly the right temperature (I think that was 210oF but might have been slightly less) and that my wanting to cook until it started to pull away at the edges was why it was sticking. Also to follow the directions to let cool for 5 minutes only, not longer, before up ending. So far, knock on wood, this is working. Plus the oil and flour spray applied very liberally and spread with a brush, of course.
Dahlink, comment #51,
My book club read “Delicious” last month so I made that recipe for my group! It was a fantastic cake, though not a dark gingerbread as Deb made here. More like an amazing spice cake. You MUST buy fresh spices and grind the spices right before making this recipe. I highly recommend that recipe. I was thinking of that while reading this blog today.
And Deb, can your children be any cuter? Oh, they melt my heart as I see my “baby” who is now 21 and a junior in college, make his way around our house this holiday. Don’t blink…it all goes you so quickly! Enjoy your balmy weather as I prep my ark for getting around here in rainy Oregon!
Deb, have you tried David Lebovitz’s fresh ginger cake? It is divine, my go to cake, keeps for days too. I double the fresh ginger in it and sometimes add a little ground ginger and nutmeg to the spice mix too.
I had been planning to make the gingerbread snacking cake for Christmas eve dinner, but wanted to make it in cake pans and layer it with something – this is perfect timing! Unfortunately, my cakes sunk dramatically. They taste delicious and oh-so-gingery (I used Trader Joe’s triple ginger brew in lieu of the beer), but I’m not sure I’ll be able to layer them nicely. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll try one more time with less baking powder? I’m at high elevation and often have this problem with cakes that originated near sea level.
Deb, I have had the same angst with my beloved bundt pan. There’s always that piece that won’t release and has to be pasted on. Cursing ensues. This year, I decided to figure this out once and for all. I buttered the heck out of my pan (no spray because it was making my cakes too dark. Then, I poured boiling hot water into my kitchen sink that was lined with one kitchen towel. I placed the cake directly out of the oven on the hot towel for 15 minutes. Voila! The cake came out! Happy holidays. Love reading your blog.
Thanks, Debbi (#77) Books and gingerbread–great combination!
This cake was enough to completely derail my low-stress, all pre-prepped, mostly frozen slice and bake cookies holiday dessert plans. But it smells amazing, the crumbs I stole were delicious. It’s totally worth the extra time in the kitchen today.
The first two pans (parchment lined and PAMed) were a little sticky, so I parchment lined, PAMed, and floured the third and it came out pretty well. I had a little trouble with the whipped cream though – the mascarpone I got seemed really firm and didn’t mix very well into the whipped cream. It was probably too cold; I’m hoping that if I let it sit for a while, another good mix with the kitchenaid will get everything smoothed out. Is this a problem anyone else has had? Deb, do you get the mascarpone to room temp before adding it?
Hi, we just tried making this and our cake layers are more like candy than cake. The layers rose and then fell in the oven and the toothpick did not come out clean at 30 min in the oven at 350. The recipe sounds good, but the reality of what our cake layers look like is pretty sad.
OMG! OMG! OMG! I have the answer! The sticking solution! The sticking problem is a function of the sugar content. So, as the pan and cake cools, the sugary cake starts to stick to the pan. Like sticky buns, delay is deadly.
I cooked the cake in a non-nonstick pan (yes, that’s right–classic pan, no teflon) sprayed liberally with flour pan spray. It turned out perfectly! Beautifully! The secret? The secret is to turn the cake out of the pan almost as soon as it is out of the oven. By turning it out while the sugars are still hot, it releases without any problems. As long as your cake is fully cooked and you are relatively gentle (not crazy, coddling gentle, just not rough), it turns out perfectly. Try it! PLEASE!!!
I just finished baking this cake, (well one of three layers)
It DEFINITELY is sticky, i destroyed layer number 1 by putting it on a plate to cool… it came out of the baking pan very easily and then i tried to flip it onto parchment paper to cool but only about a third came off from the plate. The next layer is currently in the oven… will need to adjust the cooling method.
On the bright side, we are eating the ruined cake and it tastes wonderful!! my husband just said its the best thing i’ve ever baked.
Also – made two adjustments, I didnt have enough ginger so I used about 1 TBS ground ginger and then approx 1.5 tsp frensh ginger minced up. I also do eat eggs so used two “flax eggs’ an a half a banana in place (zero banana flavour)
Thanks for the excellent recipe!
I made this for a party last night and it was beloved, four people ate half the cake. Now I did have to sub out the stout, one of my friends can’t have alcohol right now, and I used ginger ale instead. It tasted wonderful, I’d like to make it again using the suggested ingredients but with everyone going back for seconds and the hostess asking me if I wouldn’t mind leaving some behind I think it was a sufficient substitute. Thanks Deb!
oh thank goodness. That original cake drove me to distraction! One year I think frustrated-tears leaked out amidst my attempt at reconstruction. I’m glad I’m not alone in having troubles. Merry Christmas Eve!
Wow. Just wow. Made this for our family Christmas, and the people who don’t even like gingerbread, loved it!!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!
Deb, I’m sure this layer cake is amazing, but don’t give up on Claudia’s gingerbread! I’ve been making it for over 10 years. I had the same problem in the early days, but now I bake at least a dozen a year without issue. You may need a new bundt pan (I did). I use Baker’s Joy and spray the heck out of the thing. When it comes out of the oven, I let it rest for longer than the recipe calls for, maybe half an hour, then I slide a small, thin icing spatula around the inside and outside edges. I push it down slightly. Before turning it over, I shake it rather violently from side-to-side then put a plate atop it and turn it over. Works like a charm! I once served it to Chuck Williams for dessert. Of course I also left the flue closed on my fireplace with a cheery fire burning in the hearth that evening, so I’m not sure which memory stuck with him.
I was thinking about making the bundt cake gingerbread for the first time this year until I saw this one. I don’t need frustrations after work on Christmas Eve. Plus, the mascarpone filling sounded great. I did just leave it as 2 layers and cut the filling in half, which worked out well. Our guests really enjoyed it, as did I. My husband loved the cranberries more than anything.
Reading through the comments, I really like Rachel’s suggestion to use ginger ale instead of stout. That sounds great!
Kate, I anticipated that there could be problems mixing the mascarpone in so I started with the cheese and cream together right from the start. It whipped up beautifully. I’m always afraid of adding stuff to already-whipped cream so I usually add other ingredients before whipping. I know it’s not the “right” way to do it, but it works for me.
Ok I made this last night for my husband’s birthday. I cut the recipe in half and made an adorable 6 inch layer cake. SOMEONE drank my stout so I subbed coffee, which was just fine (cake didn’t taste like coffee). I also used blackstrap because that’s what I already had and it definitely ended up a darker color than Deb’s (but still delicious). I did NOT halve the frosting recipe and just loaded the little cake up with frosting, which no one complained about. I also followed her directions to get the cakes out of their pans and had no stickiness issues.
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Made this to bring to a friends for a Christmas party. It came out beautifully. Not sticking issues. I didn’t have stout so I subbed a winter seasonal spiced ale. Thanks, Deb!
I’m in love with your blog. Merry Christmas!
THANK YOU for this recipe!! I made this tonight for a Christmas party and everyone was freaking out at how delicious it was. The richness of the cake paired with the lightness of the whipped topping was insane. Going into our Christmas dessert rotation from now on! :)
Deb, I am a professional baker and agree with commenters #24 and 84: your problem is most likely your cooling time (I speak from experience). I tend towards Jasmine’s technique of letting it cool almost completely, until just warm and easy to handle, but you might try demolding it immediately. If you wait too long and it gets stuck in there, you can always steam it out by putting the pan open end up in a larger bowl of hot just boiled water. Cover the whole thing with a towel and let sit 5-10 minutes, then unmold. I also think a new bundt pan is always a good idea. I have less trouble with sticking from my old regular pans then from my supposed nontick ones. PS I always just use butter and flour, though you could also use melted butter for molds with a lot of intricate details.
Delicious, fabulous, magical cake. I made it for Christmas dessert and I think my MIL was a little miffed that it went faster and to more rave reviews than her persimmon pudding (which really is delicious) and her pumpkin pie. Even my dessert-averse husband asked for seconds. Perfectly gingerbready and, as usual, perfectly straightforward to bake. The hands down favorite of the night! I’ll probably be making this every Christmas from now on.
Vegetable oil and a hefty dose of flour in my 9″ pans and no issues with sticking. Sadly one of our guests had a soft cheese allergy so I had to forgo the mascarpone frosting and instead made a vanilla buttercream frosting. Delicious substitute to consider if anyone needs an alternative.
Julie, the recipe for The Marrow’s Ginger Stout cake published in NYT is very similar to this recipe, but it calls for buttering and sugaring a bundt pan. I am making this cake now, and doing that. I used black strap molasses in that recipe and I loved it, but the flavor is strong and slightly bitter. Everyone who ate it loved it and some snuck off with extra pieces, so that was a good sign!
PS I used softened butter put on with a brush, then sugared with a larger-grained organic sugar. Nice crunch, no stick.
I made this for Christmas desert. Thank you for an amazing recipe. I didn’t put cranberries on top. I grated very dark chocolate onto the top of the cake.
It was delicious!!!
Agree with those who argue that LONGER cooling time is key.
I bake in a vintage CAST IRON bundt pan – everything’s gonna stick, right? No. We let the cakes cool completely, sometimes *overnight,* before unmolding.
That’s likely more important than the pan greasing method. For the record, the cast iron bundt baker cult is split on best greasing method, with “so much Baker’s Joy the pan is foaming” the slight winner.
I made this for Christmas and it was wonderful. I made 3 9″ layers, and used silicone & parchment circles in the pans, sprayed with pam. I also sprayed the sides of the pans and I let them cool completely in the pans. My cakes did sink a tad, but it had no impact on the finished product. They released easily from the pan & liners, and I had the topping ready, so I released one on the plate, frosted, released the next layer right on top and frosted and then the 3rd. Perfection! The only modification I made was to use cool whip in place of the whipped cream and 2x amount of marscarpone. I whipped the marscarpone + powdered sugar, added a bit of cool whip in the mixer, mixed, and then folded in the rest of the cool whip (about 2-3 cups cool whip total). It’s been in the fridge for 2 days, growing smaller quickly, but still looks great. Everyone raved about how good it was, even the kids. Great recipe!
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Rachael @#3: are you serious, Nordicware expects us to leave residue in the pans? I admit they’re hard to clean, I gifted butter rum cakes baked in the Fleur de Lis pan with no sticking issues but I had to positively scrub it out after each use, including once when it had been through the heavy- duty cycle in the dishwasher.
made this for our weekly sunday night dinner with friends…it came out perfectly, despite the fact that i misread the ginger as teaspoons instead of tablespoons! I made it in 2 9″ pans, and it took about 32 minutes at 350. I think it would be sublime with more ginger! As it was, I got a lot of compliments (“this cake has a lot of depth of flavor”) & it was devoured. The only change I would make in the candied cranberries is to let them dry out a bit first and then roll in the sugar. This cake is super-easy to make!
Very nice pictures! Love them so so much.
These are so fantastic. Wonderful look!
I made this yesterday for a late season latke party. I used soft butter which I creamed with the sugars and molasses. I added about 2 teaspoons fresh ginger – I would add more next time. I baked the layers in 3 8 inch pans, about 22 minutes. Last change was cream cheese instead of mascarpone, and I added a hint of orange zest to the frosting as well. We all loved it!
Thanks so much
I am a new convert to gingerbread cakes – though an old fan of yours – and this cake is on today’s menu.
A question: Could I use a hard cider in place of the beer. Gladly will go out and buy but happen to have Stella Cidre in the house already.
Many thanks for sharing your talents!
Made this yesterday and assembled this morning! Looks great and I can’t wait to dig in. My cake layers were very delicate, I recommend freezing them over night to firm them and then assembling the next day.
I made the cake last night with T.J’s gingerbread mix. It came out really good too, though the layers were pretty thin. Added a little extra of each of the spices and a couple of extra spoons of sugar to filling. I thought I had the right cream for the filling, but had to run back to T.J’s for the mascarpone & cranberries, but cranberries left. So I sprinkled lemon zest and dusted some more powered sugar on the finished cake. I Will make your cake next time very soon as I know it will be Great as usual. Love your blog and pictures, everything I’ve tried has been delish!! This was the first time I had deviate with the ingredients from your recipes.
What a lovely cake! I highly impressed. It’s looking amazing. Great job by sharing! I’m gonna make it tonight.
So my family has adopted that gramercy tavern gingerbread cake with a vengeance. I have made it 6 times now in the last 4 months. I do have a solution for the sticking. I use two loaf pans, which I still butter and flour, but then I put in a parchment sling along the long axis. Works well!
Deb, I am amazed to read this! I worked under Claudia Fleming briefly at Gramercy Tavern, and I love her recipes. One of my most favorite is her Guinness Stout Ginger Cake, and I had the exact same experience with it that you had with this cake! I made it for a few years and it was perfect, coming out of the bundt pan with no issue. Then the next year and the year after every time I made the cake it didn’t work! part of the cake stayed behind in the pan, just like you experienced! I didn’t spend the time to figure it out, and figured I must have done something wrong, but I’m surprised to see you had this experience with another recipe as well! Well, I love your solution. I’m gonna give the guinness stout cake another try, and if it fails, I’ll resort to another pan as well!
Well, just looked up to see that this is the Guinness stout cake, not another ginger cake…so yes, I had the same experience!
I made the original bundt version of this for Christmas, primarily because I wanted to try making a bundt cake because I never had and I’m lazy and didn’t want to wash multiple cake pans. It was absolutely delicious! I used Highland’s Black Mocha Stout instead of Guiness (since I couldn’t buy a single bottle of Guiness at the store), so it had an ever so slight coffee flavor too. I followed the advice of the second commenter, Sister Lynn, and buttered/sugared the pan instead of using flour. Not a crumb stuck in my pan and it left a lovely caramelized outer coating.
Made this for Christmas dinner and it was a huge hit! I bake a lot and my husband said it was the best thing I’ve ever baked. Delicious for breakfast the next day as well.
I had problems from the first time I made the gingerbread cake by Claudia Fleming. It tasted lovely and I’ve made it since. To solve the sticking issue remove the 1 cup of granulated sugar. You won’t miss the sweetness as there is sugar everywhere but it will allow it to be slightly less toffee like in terms of sticking to the pan.
I made a smaller quantity of batter (2/3 the original recipe), and baked it in a 9-inch springform pan for a smaller, simpler cake. It worked perfectly and I scooted it out of the pan easily. I love dark and slightly bitter flavors in these things. I used a very dark molasses, dark oatmeal stout, and finished the cake with chocolate ganache on top. Everyone loved it. Thanks!
I made this cake for Christmas and it was wonderful. The leftover cranberries were delicious in my spinach salad afterwards.
I made this cake for Christmas dinner this year and it was delicious!
I did substitute the stout for a very dry ginger beer (Fever Tree, non alcoholic, someone in the group doesn’t do alcohol in any form, even cooked out) and I had a problem with the cake centers totally sinking. I’m very diligent about my mise en place so I don’t believe I skipped an ingredient but I do think the ginger beer made the cake sink. Perhaps too much sugar? Regardless, once frosted nobody even noticed.
Just thought I’d share my experience with a beer substitute. I’d love to hear if anyone else has had any success with one (including the brand because sugar contents vary drastically). Thanks Deb! Another overall success! :)
Cake Update: I made this instead of pumpkin pie (your recipe, too, with the praline topping–holy cow!) as a last-minute whim for Christmas Eve dinner, and it was amazing. Beautiful, spongy, grown-up with the mascarpone. But, oh, the stickiness. it stuck to the buttered, floured pans. It stuck to the parchment. It had to be scraped off the cooling racks. I did manage to get each layer frozen, and it was smooth sailing from there. And so, so worth it. Thanks for sharing this! However, about the stickiness: can the layers be cooled once taken out of the pans with the parchment still on them, and facing down, to avoid the cake sinking into all the little squares of the cooling rack? Perhaps even be frozen with the parchment, and then peel it off for frosting? Thanks!
Would frozen cranberries work? I have a bag in my freezer that I’m looking to use up.
I made this cake for New Year’s Day…the sugared cranberries were the final hook that snared me…beautiful…sparkly… Magical red crystals that even the grandchildren kept coming back and snacking on. My pie loving husband came back for seconds—everybody loved it…who can pass by a three layer cake slathered with whipped cream and marscapone…no leftover 1 cup of cream at my house… Just liberal application to the layers. Thanks for the ‘no stick’ warnings…it’s a very sticky cake but well worth making…so fun!!! Thank you…this is drum roll presentation,
I also made this for New Year’s Day – a huge hit. Loved the berries as well. We used some of the cranberry syrup to splash in champagne along with a few floating berries. It was beautifully festive and utterly delicious.
I think you have a typo…
“Bring stour and molasses” should be “stout”
OMG MOST delicious gingerbread ever! The flavor definitely improves after a day or two. I made the original recipe at Christmas, using a bundt pan, and had no problem unmolding it. Will be sure to add the sugared cranberries next year, because I *will* make this again. For many years, I made my favorite cream cheese pound cake using the butter-and-sugar method for preparing the pan. But one year I decided to use Baker’s Joy when making several of them – not one of those pound cakes rose. So I am back to butter and sugar and Baker’s Joy has been banished from my kitchen.
julie — Thanks.
I managed to forget the baking powder in the recipe. Still can’t believe I did that. the layers are delicious, but of course much denser than they should be. Any suggestions for rescuing the cake–is it worth trying to disguise it under the whipped filling? Other creative solutions? Or better to cut my losses and use it as an unadorned gingerbread snack?
Michelle — It might still taste okay. Does it feel soft to the touch? I bet the whipped cream will soften it, too.
You had me at “whipped mascarpone cream.” That is on my to-do list for this long weekend :) Yay!
Hi! This looks delicious! going to try it out for my boyfriend’s birthday cake. I only have frozen cranberries on hand, though, and I want to use them for something. Do you think a cranberry syrup could work here? What do you suggest?
I’m making the sugared cranberries right now – they smell kind of weird? Is this normal or might they be burnt?
Made this recipe for my husband’s birthday! We love ginger around here! For my gluten and alcohol free family I subbed in Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free flour by weight and strong coffee for the stout. It worked perfectly and is disappearing at an alarming rate!
Alicia — They shouldn’t smell weird but I also don’t find that they smell like much? Not helpful, sorry.
Emma — I used frozen here without a problem. I’m not sure what kind of cranberry syrup you had in mind.
So I followed this to the letter – only had 2 pans so baked the 2 first like you suggested… when I went to measure out the third pan I only ended up with 300 grams of batter – – – I swear I wasn’t eating it while the others were baking :/
Is that 565 gram measurement for 2 layers?
When I weighed out the cake batter, I also came up with a different gram weight per pan: I had 445 grams batter for each of three 9″ round cake pans Instead of the 565 grams listed. I think I followed the recipe exactly as written and used the gram weights listed. This is a delicious layer cake and you chose the perfect frosting for it!
The weights — I believe you are correct that they are wrong. Here is why: I made this again on Christmas Eve, as per tradition and noted the weight discrepancy. Also, my cakes came out darker! I proceeded into a full-blown panic that I’d given you all a dud recipe and imagined with dread the bad reviews (and ruined cakes) swarming in. (I realized that I think I accidentally added 1/2 cup extra flour when I made and photographed it for this post.) But what instead happened was that the lighter version was actually 10x better than this, darker, stickier and almost melting into the whipped cream, possibly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, and nobody complained and I forgot until these last two comments that I needed to update the weights. Forgive me. I’m so glad it was a hit, regardless.
I’ve made this cake and it is absolutely delicious! I just have a quick question – how long do you think the assembled cake would last out of the fridge? I need to take it to a dinner party, where it would have to be unrefridgerated for about 3-4 hours. Do you think the frosting would hold up to that?
Deb, I’m going to be making this cake at my Christmas party next month, and am so excited to try it out. Do you have an update on the weights issue? In the body of the method, you say the weights per cake tin are a bit high, and one of the old comments noted this too. Any update?
The batter was absolutely delicious, but this turned into a bit of an adventure after belatedly finding out that my friend’s oven runs 25 degrees hot. The cakes inevitably baked on the edges but not in the centre, but I rescued them from the oven before they burnt. There was no way I could rescue the layer cake concept, but I ended up making trifle with the salvaged bits and it was absolutely delicious!
I tore the baked bits off the cakes (about 1″ chunks), then popped the gooey centers back in under the broiler for a few minutes to pull out the excess moisture. I divided the cake chunks in three, and layered them alternately with homemade blackberry jam and whipped cream with lemon curd folded in. The result was totally presentable and really tasty — everyone loved the gingerbread flavor.
I’ve never turned a cake disaster into trifle before, but I will definitely keep this as a back-up strategy for the future! I’m also looking forward to making this again in an oven I trust :).
I just made this, and since you wrote the amounts of batter per tin need to be updated…
My whole batch of batter was 1250 g making it ~415 g per tin. Didn’t measure the volume.
Great recipe!! Thanks!
Love this! Made it last year and am about to make it again. Any update on the weight question you flagged?
Hi all: This sounds awfully sweet for a gingerbread. Would it work with only 1/2 a cup of brown and half a cup of granulated? How about Sucanat? Maybe one cup only of that?
Every time I look at the sugar level, it seems too high but it never tastes overly sweet. (I have some on the counter right now.) You can reduce it a little if you wish but I wouldn’t do so a lot. I haven’t tried it with Sucanat.
Is there a substitute for the stout?
How far in advance can I make the cranberries and how should I store them? I have checked and it may be me but I don’t see the weight correction? Does anybody know the correct weight per pan? Thanks.
Hi! Any suggestions for an alcohol replacement in this recipe ?
Non-alcoholic beer, apple cider, even water is common. Oh, and this is odd, but I was playing around this week and replaced the liquid with an equal volume (i.e. a quite packed cup) of peeled, grated pear. The pear flavor didn’t come through in the end because there are much stronger flavors here, but it works great. It was very moist.
I had been having issues getting Claudia Fleming’s cake out in one piece (despite a heavy, high-quality pan and buttering my brains out) so I decided to try Maida Heatter’s technique of dusting with fine, dry breadcrumbs rather than flour. It works quite well and I don’t find it to have any impact on the taste of the cake, which was my main concern. A couple of times I’ve had a small area of sticking, but not nearly as glaring as before, and patching the spot while the cake is still warm followed by a dusting of powdered sugar once it’s cool does the trick, no one other than myself the wiser.
Hey Deb! This cake looks divine. Wondering why not blackstrap molasses? It’s all I have.
That was a preference written into the original recipe that I’ve always followed unquestioningly… until the day I only had blackstrap: you’ll be just fine with it.
Could this be made without the beer or is there something that could be substituted that doesn’t contain alcohol ? It looks wonderful.
Non-alcoholic beer, apple cider, even water is fine…
This looks delicious! Do you think it could be rolled up as a buche de noel / yule log? I was inspired by this http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017027-gingerbread-buche-de-noel but yours looks richer!
I’d be too nervous to try it because I know roll cakes are very particular in needing a soft, stretchy spongy cake, however, this cake, especially when just baked enough and not over, is surprisingly stretchy and soft… it may not be the worst cake to experiment with.
Can this be made in advance?
WhenI first took my layers out of the pans I thought I was going to start over because the layers were so thin. I was certain I had done something wrong. The I looked at your pics again and re-read what you wrote and realized they were supposed to look that way. They’re cooling now and will be frosted tomorrow!
I made this yesterday for a birthday party. It sunk in the middle a little but I think it was because my oven doesn’t cook evenly and I had to rotate pans. The flavor was excellent though and I love the whip cream frosting. I will use that recipe again. It was a great idea using the mascarpone as a stabilizer in the cream without affecting the flavor.
I had to bake the layers for much longer than the 18 – 22 minutes indicated in the recipe. I have not assembled this yet, but just removing each layer from its pan was tricky and fussy. The dough is tick and heavy, not light and airy the way layer cake typically is. I have made the Gramercy recipe before using a Bundt pan, and didn’t have too much trouble with it sticking. Jury is still out whether this layer method is preferable. The mascarpone cream might be what tips this over the edge. We’ll see….
I made your layer cake for Christmas Eve this year and it looks nothing like your lovely golden layers! I used oatmeal stout and I even used light brown sugar, but mine looks more like a chocolate cake. How do you get your layers so golden? Did you use Guinness? This was very intense and I welcomed every last dollop of the delicious whipped mascarpone frosting. However, if I make this again I was wondering if you have suggestions for a less intense gingerbread? Merry Christmas!
The batter tasted great, but the cakes bubbled way over the top of the pans, spilling out, and what was left was a gooey, sticky mess. I can’t even begin to recommend this recipe to anyone.
The beer is totally unnecessary and likely contributed to the bubbling over.
What kind of molasses did you use? I made a loaf gingerbread cake with a new-to-me brand this year but a very reliable recipe and had the same bubbling nightmare. Wondering if it’s the same brand.
This was amazingly delicious. The cake is rich, deep, and moist. We found it perfectly complemented by the cream and cranberries. I made the cakes on the 22nd, frosted and served it on the 24th, and the leftovers were still amazing on the 25th. However, I found I had to bake it 12 minutes longer than the highest recommended time. I had my 3 cake pans in the oven at once. I also had to let my liquid ingredients sit for probably an hour before adding in the molasses/stout and mixing in the dry ingredients because of a boil over (which required a run to the store for more molasses). Could either of those (3 pans at once, hour wait) be the time culprit? I want to know because I am definitely making this again!
I also had no problems getting them out of the pans–even using disposable pans with funny ridges in the sides. I melted butter and brushed it on thoroughly then floured generously.
I found mine took a few extra minutes this year, too, so it might just be a bit low on the time range. (I still think better too low than too high, of course!) Glad it was a hit.
This was a complete smashing success! Made two layers a few days ahead of the holiday and froze them. No issues whatsoever– got rave reviews!
I’ve never commented before, but this cake was so good I had to! I made two layers instead of three, and piled on all of the whipped cream/mascarpone frosting (including on the sides because I’m not into the naked cake look) and it was amazing. A total hit and I will be making it next year. Thanks for our new Christmas tradition!
This was amazing. I think it’s going to be a permanent in the holiday baking rotation. The cream was so yummy. From now on all whipped cream will contain mascarpone. :)
This cake turned out great! I made two layers instead of three, so when I checked after 20 minutes it was not done, and I had to add 4 minutes to the baking time twice (total of 8 more minutes). I used sour cream instead of the mascarpone and frosted the sides as well as the tops the night before, and it turned out very moist.
Have you ever tried this in a bundt pan? What would the timing be?
I have. Several times. Like a the sour cream pound cake fr Joy = about 1 hour and 10 minutes. I used the Nordic Silver Bundt with the ridges – I melt butter, brush and flour. My oven is hot on top, so if the pound or ginger or stout cake is not done I might use foil to protect the top while the inside finishes cooking. I have also found that wrapping it in wax paper and then plastic while warm, not hot, keeps it super moist.
Hope this helps people.
If you don’t want to have any leftover whipped cream, there’s enough left to frost the sides too. :)
I (and everyone else who has tried to this cake) absolutely adores it. It keeps well, so I’ll make a double batch at a time so I have stacks at the ready for the busy holiday season. All I have to do is make the whipped cream and assemble the cake!
Or put an extra thick layer on the top! That’s what I did.
No doubt, This recipe looks so delicious in those beautiful pictures!!! Love all those super healthy ingredients!!!
can I please ask why not blackstrap molasses?
I think the idea was that it was too bitter or intense but I’ve actually used them here and it didn’t bother me.
I was asked to make this cake for a wedding that would feature several friend-made cakes instead of one professional wedding cake. It turned out beautifully. Now I have to transport it by car to the wedding site so I hope it holds together on the ride. Thanks for such excellent instructions and photos.
Can I frost the cake a day early and keep it in the refrigerator?
Just baked this! I only used 2 cake pans and was probably 1mm from bubbling over in the oven, but luckily nothing happened. I noticed while the layers were baking that the middle sections on both were getting especially bubbly, kind of like round mushroom popping up in the center. Eventually the flattened back out and then sunk a bit upon cooling. Not a big deal though.
The cakes were quite sticky upon removal, but came out of the pans fine enough. I cooled them on clean parchment atop cooling racks for fear they’d stick, which worked well. I had to trim the sides a bit because the cakes grew over the pan. The trimming left my edges kind of crumbly & not super cute so I decided to frost the whole cake.
I halved the frosting recipe and was still able to cover the entire cake, but you might be safer making all the frosting if you do plan on covering the sides as mine was just a step above a crumb coat with the halved frosting. I added the sugared cranberries in a ring atop the cake as well as a ring around the bottom, plus a few plopped in the center. This used up all of the cranberries in the recipe and distracted a bit from my slapdash frosting job haha.
A few more notes: I used Sapporo Black in place of Guinness because it was the only cheap option that I could buy as a single beer. It tasted just fine in the cake.
Also, I only used 1 tbsp of ginger because I ran out, so I added a couple dashes more of cinnamon and cloves which also worked just fine.
Overall a pretty tasty cake which I will definitely be making again. Super ~moist~ and quite nice with the frosting to balance out the molasses and spices.
This cake is a real winner for me and I’ve made it several times. Making them in just a regular cake pan instead of a bundt makes it so much easier. I butter or use cooking spray on the non-stick pan and then add a round of parchment paper and grease the paper too. After cooling, I’ll slide a knife around the edge and the cakes pop out, no problem.
I’ll usually make two batches at a time, put parchment paper on the top and bottom, wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. They stay moist and delicious, so it’s great to just have layers on hand for last minute parties and guests. If you don’t have cream on hand, dusting it with powdered sugar right before serving is a quick way to make it pretty (the sugar will eventually get absorbed into the cake).
And also another prepare ahead tip… I’ll make the beer-molasses mix ahead of time and store them in tubs so that I don’t have to wait for them to cool when I want to bake. I also weigh out all the dry ingredients ahead of time and store in jars/tubs (keeping the flour/spices and sugars separate) so I can make a lot quickly.
I will say that for me, each layer ends up being 500 grams of batter, not 515 grams. Also, I usually bake for 30 minutes. Even at 25 minutes, the cakes are still pretty jiggly in the centers.
The flavor is affected by the type of beer you use. So far I’ve used Samuel Tadcaster Oatmeal Stout and Guinness Draught Nitro. Friends who’ve tried it said that both are good, but you feel the heat of the ginger more with the ST Oatmeal Stout and taste the ginger more with the Guinness (and mixing the two beers ends up being a balance of the two). I also think the oatmeal stout makes for a little more complex tasting slice. I’m looking forward to trying different stouts and maybe even a really hoppy IPA to see how it changes the flavor.
Deb I doubted you! I should know better by now! Made this for my baby brother’s engagement party and was so skeptical about how they looked in the oven. Batter was lumpy and they baked longer and with a little ring in the middle. But I held my breath, decorated, and brought it to the party. It was a huge hit!! The party was for 40, but I figured it wouldn’t matter since it was a catered cocktail party with plenty of other food, the cake was inside and everybody outside. But the second I started cutting it everybody was crowding around me, and fought down to the last slice! Had to sneak some out to the bride and groom to make sure they got any. And squirreled a piece away for myself, of course. It was delicious and everybody raved!! So thanks and sorry for doubting. ;)
Can I make this before hand and freeze the cake?
In case anyone else is interested in making this as a sheet cake, I experimented with putting all of the batter into one 9 x 13 pyrex dish and it worked. I ended up cooking it for 40 minutes and it was still a bit dense and undone in the middle, but it was so. unbelievably. delicious. Dense, chewy from the molasses, and, as you promised, with a deep, gingerbread flavor. This will completely replace my go-to comparatively bland pumpkin sheet cake.
Do you think I could make the cakes ahead and freeze them? Then thaw and frost with the cream mixture?
Just made this again – this time tried 3 layers (but only in 2 pans), divided the batter into the first two, using the 515 grams figure above…but only ended up w about 300 grams for the final pan. So i turned that into a 4″ round topper!
I will stick to two pans next time, and just divide evenly. I’m sure it will taste divine anyways!
I made this cake twice in a 9″ spring form pan using a stout brewed with maple syrup as one of the ingredients. Both times the cake had a layer of caramel stickiness on the bottom. I am wondering what caused this. Any ideas? The cakes were slightly under baked, and baked in a convection, so I am wondering if any of the above would cause the problem.
I made this for my work holiday potluck; everyone raved about it. The cake had a real depth of flavor that holiday desserts with all their sweetness sometimes lack. Thanks for the inspiration. I did notice that the dark brown sugar had a tendency to sink to the bottom of the mixing bowl; I had to dump it into the cake pans pretty fast and one layer was still a bit sweeter than the others. ;-)
I’d like to try this with gluten-free flour. Do you know if anyone has tried it?
I tried with Trader Joe’s GF flour, and it came out very dense and dry. I’m not a GF person, so maybe there are tricks, or the TJ version isn’t as good as another . . .
btw, it was still tasty, but I would not make again without changing *some*thing.
Hi there! Can I make the cake layers without frosting the day before serving? If so, do I keep them in an air tight container at room temp?
Yes, but I just go ahead and freeze them — they’re much easier to manage when solid.
Incredible! I don’t usually try gingerbread recipes because they’re dry and the spice flavor isn’t what I expect. This was spot on. Moist cake with warm sweet and spiece taste. The frosting is a great balance. Not too sugary. I added pumpkin peanut brittle for some crunch and a drizzle of caramel just because I had some. A new Holiday tradition!
This cake was fabulous on Christmas Eve. It was elevated by the addition of an apple pear compote.
Thanks! Sue Bass
I made this recipe this week and it might be my favorite Smitten Kitchen cake to date! I used sorghum syrup instead of the molasses (my grocery only sold blackstrap), and I halved the amount of white sugar — sorghum has a slightly sweeter taste than molasses. I was so happy with the results. I also used a coffee milk stout. If you are planning to make this recipe and looking for a substitute for Blackstrap molasses, I highly recommend sorghum!
Fabulous cake for my December birthday. I added ganache To both layers of my cake, and let it run down the sides a bit. Chocolate makes a nice addition!
I loved this, though I also loved the original bundt so not a big surprise. It disappeared scarily fast.
The cranberries were pretty but seemed superfluous – I might skip next time.
I stupidly ignored the direction to butter the parchment lining of the cake pans and definitely regretted that, but the end result still looked nice.
That stabilized whipped cream is no joke – I had extra in a container in the fridge, and a week later it hadn’t wept or collapsed at all!
This is the go-to cake I bring to the annual Master Gardeners Holiday Party. In fact, as I’ve walked in, people will ask “Did you make the Gingerbread this year?” Well, duh. Why tinker with success? Thanks for a terrific, tasty, upright and unsloppy frosted wonder. I may just make one for myself this year.
I know I’m late to this party, but: does this taste like beer? Will kids like it?
I’ve never detected a beer flavor in the final cake because there is a ton of other flavor here, including a lot of spices.
Update — no beer flavour detected by anyone, child or adult. Everyone loved it.
I brought this as a birthday cake for a December birthday. I didn’t make the cranberries because I didn’t plan ahead. I decorated/served it with fresh raspberries instead and it was delicious. I was worried it would be too spicy or too beer-y for the kids, but I couldn’t taste the beer at all and it wasn’t that spicy. I might have added a touch more ginger even, but everyone — kids and adults — loved it. The only bad thing was that as I walked it down the street to the birthday party, the bottom layer of whipped cream started to smoosh out — maybe it was my bouncy walking? Next time I would consider assembling on site. A really great wintery dessert.
Hi Deb! We’re trying to devise a gluten-free version of this. (There are three Celiacs at our Christmas this year, and we don’t want any of them to miss out!) We have a great gluten-free flour blend, but I’m trying to devise a replacement for the stout. How do you think coffee would work?
Coffee might work!
Thanks! We did grated pear, which was fabulous. (Instead of cherries, we put rhubarb jam in between and then some rhubarb-ginger compote on top.) But we will try coffee next time!
Is this cake good if you make it a day in advance, leaving it in fridge overnight?
I am making this cake and having a terrible time!!
As far as I can tell I’ve followed the directions to a T, but my cakes have been in the oven for almost an hour and are still wet, super sticky, and raw on the bottom. I know the recipe says they’ll be sticky when you peel the parchment paper off, but there are patches that are clearly baked and patches that are clearly not. What has happened???
It’s a sticky cake. If a toothpick is coming out with just crumbs on it, no batter, it’s done.
Do you think I should make altitude adjustments for this cake if I live at 4300 ft?
I am so glad you posted this. I had the same trouble you did so I switch to Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Gingerbread, which is delicious, but not the same. I make gingerbread for Thanksgiving as I hate all the other Thanksgiving desserts, AND I have a full house, so this might not get made until next year, but I am going to put it in my Thanksgiving folder immediately. Thanks so much. Merry and Happy and All That Jazz. P.S. You slow cooker chicken broth changed my life. I made a batch and then the next day, I roast until dark another 3 pounds of chicken wings and use them to make a double stock. It is simple insanely good.
is it possible to substitue the molasses with Silan (date honey) and stout with Coffee? would you need to change anything else?
I converted this to gluten free – used Namaste flour and a half teaspoon of psyllium husk. Used Strongbow apple-pear cider to replace the stout. Everyone loved it – will be a regular for winter holidays here. Made the three layers – which came out perfectly after 20 minutes – no sticking with parchment, butter and gf flour. Will add some crystallized ginger next time.
Made this cake for Christmas Eve — it was very festive looking with the sugared cranberries (which were fine though they soaked for only a few hours, not overnight) and very delicious! Everyone loved it. Easy to make, too. I’ll look for a reason to make this again!
I made this cake for Christmas Eve this year, and everyone loved it– including my mom, and I can’t recall seeing her eat cake with enthusiasm perhaps ever. Here are a couple of baking notes based on my experience:
When I sifted the dry ingredients into the wet, I ended up with big lumps of dry ingredients that didn’t incorporate and ended up passing the whole mix through a sieve (which made me nervous because I didn’t want to overwork the batter). The cake layers didn’t come out dense, thankfully, though I might try alternating wet and dry additions next time. My cakes also took more than 22 min, and I found the layers a little challenging to handle– but move fast when flipping (or use a spatula) and it will be fine– and put the messiest one on the bottom, as I did! The frosting is devine.
Used 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 c white sugar. Used a nonstick bundt pan heavy enough to weaponize should the zombie apocalypse ever come. Coated the pan with 2+ TBS butter, then floured, and did touch ups. Let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes after baking. Turned out like a dream. Made a glaze with powdered sugar, milk, and mascarapone – then decorated with sugared cranberries and sage leaves. Best. Thing. Ever.
Why do you mix the baking soda with the molasses-stout mixture and then let it sit? Doesn’t this cause the baking soda to lose its potency before baking? I’ve always understood that baking soda and baking powder should be kept with the dry ingredients and added to the wet just before baking, for this reason.
I believe the purpose is to reduce the potency of the baking soda so the cake will be less likely to sink in the middle. I know I read this somewhere but can’t find the source. In any case, it didn’t work for me — my layers still sank in the middle! They were delicious anyway, though.
Thank you Virginia. I have wondered about this–I think it started in Melissa Clark’s recipe. Now I am going to try this in my Chocolate Stout Cake, which always always falls in the center!
LOVED THIS. I made it in 8” layers, baked for 24 minutes each. I had way less than 515 g of better per layer! Thank you!
Have followed your site for years (long before I moved to NYC) but never commented until now. Wish I could post photos of the finished cake, but just to say- your recipe is amazing! Best flavor of any gingerbread recipe. And it won first place in our workplace dessert contest ;)
A delicious cake that is fun to make. Usually I only make a recipe once, because there are so many to try – but this is an exception. Using 190 grams of brown sugar and only 50 grams of granulated it is still sweet. Next time I will try using 190 grams total. My first two pans were filled with 500 g (30 min. cooking) and the third only 330 g (22 min. cooking). The imbalance went unnoticed in the final result. The sugared cranberries give this cake a beautiful flavour balance!
Deb – My family and I thank you for the recipe!
Made this today for company and everybody – including kids – loved it. The layers ARE sticky but moist and very flavorful. I reduced the granulated sugar by 20% and thought it was the perfect sweetness that way. Baked a day in advance and kept them cool until assembly. The mascarpone trick in the whipped cream is gold – the cream stayed firmly in place at room temperature for hours. I will definitely make this again.
I made this recipe tonight as mini cupcakes in a dark nonstick pan. Baked for about 15 minutes and sprayed liberally with Pam baking spray (no cupcake liners) and was nervous about all the sticking comments – absolutely zero sticking, the cupcakes came out super easily! Flavor is delicious and I’m sure will be even better in two days when I drizzle them with warm bourbon caramel sauce. Thanks for this fantastic recipe!
Oh, my! Sounds delicious…
Deb, I’m excited and nervous to try making this cake for a potluck tomorrow night (newish to layer cakes). If I make the layers tonight and freeze, what time do you think I need to take them out of the freezer tomorrow for a 6 pm dinner? Thank you!!!!
Deb, for perfect cake release each time, use BREADCRUMBS in your grease release mix. Coat the pan with butter, then powder it with BREADCRUMBS.
It has never failed me.
Works for tarts also and you never taste the breadcrumbs.
What happened to the Print option?
Should be working here. There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
Can you use frozen cranberries for the sugared cranberries on top?
Love this cake. Have made it three times now. I follow the recipe exactly except I add 1T crystallized ginger a 1T fresh ginger. Yumm! And don’t use true convection to bake it! The fan blows the batter around a bit.
I made this lovely cake yesterday to take over to a friend’s house for a big Christmas dinner. It was a big, bold and delicious gingerbread cake, perfectly balanced with the whipped cream frosting.
A couple of notes/tips on what I ran across and stumbled over that might help others.
1) I use King Arthur Flour, which lists 2 cups of flour as 240g, not 260g as listed above, so I went with 240g.
2) Deb mentioned that the mascarpone stabilized the whipped cream, so I decided to try frosting the sides as well. But, it was so soft and creamy that I started to worry that it would slide down the cake into a puddle by the time we ate the cake several hours later.
We left it outside in the cake box in 38 degree temp, and then brought it in about 20 minutes before slicing. The sugared cranberries had lost all of their sparkle, so I’d add those just before serving next time.
This cake would definitely be easier to serve at your own home for guests where you can put it together in minutes before serving it, rather than making it hours ahead of time and taking it over to friends, where they may or may not have fridge space.
Also, I did this in three 8″ Fat Daddio cake pans, the cake came out perfectly.
This was delicious. I was concerned it would be dense because it was very moist and sticky when handled but I was wrong. It was almost fluffy. I only had two pans but took the time to make a third layer and it came out fine. The amount of mascarpone cream was perfect. Definitely a keeper.
This is a great recipe. I reduced the amount of white and brown sugars to 3/4 cup each. I also had to make substitutions for ingredients I did not have — maple syrup instead of molasses, a pinch of allspice instead cardamon, and whipped yogurt/sour cream in place of mascarpone in the frosting. Flexible recipe, cake was delicious and looked great. The sugared cranberries looked and tasted fantastic and were very easy to make.
Deb is very right about the stout and molasses mixture *foaming up* when you mix in the baking soda. Do not be tempted to use your smallest saucepan / pot for this as I did, or you will lose a couple of ounces! Luckily, I have a glass cooktop and had indeed moved it off the heated burner, but it was still quite a mess to mop up. Haven’t finished the cake making yet, but I am hoping the slightly reduced amount of liquid will not have a deleterious effect (although knowing my family, it will get eaten no matter what). 😉
Ok, yeah, well, I did my usual “let’s try a new recipe right before leaving for the [dessert-and-drinks] party!”, combined with my ever-popular “but this needs to be gf so I’ll just wing it!”. And I had no stout. I know, I know.
So no surprise, I ended up going the trifle route … but people LOVED it! Large bowl, empty. Not a sugared cranberry left. Win.
Hope you are still looking at comments on your various gingerbreads!
I love this cake as a bundt, but LOVE the thought of using your layer variation as a birthday cake.
Is there a reason you added the 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder not in the bundt recipe to this layer cake? Does a layer cake need more leavening?
For what it is worth, I have had great luck making this cake as a bundt. I put lots of butter on with my fingers, chill, and then use Wondra flour to coat (I read somewhere that this flour, modified for thickening sauces, also helps with release, and that has certainly been my experience. I keep a shaker in my fridge).
Alternatively, my “luck” may be due to the bundt pan I got as a wedding present in the sixties, made by “Northland Aluminum Products Minneapolis”–the predecessor of Nordic, I think. It is embossed “Bundt Pan- trademark”. It is very, very heavy cast aluminum, now darkened by time, with some kind of ancient non-stick that is now scratched and thinning. I know old non-stick is now known to be harmful, but 1) I have been using this pan for fifty years, 2) I don’t use this pan often, and 3) anyway, nothing with as much oil and sugar as the usual Bundt cake really qualifies as a health food.) I have looked on eBay etc. for another “semi-antique” pan like this, but without success.
I doubled the recipe and made two 2-layer cakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party (I make the bundt version of this recipe several times each winter and she LOVES the gingerbread so I thought it would be a great for a still-wintry early March birthday). Instead of the mascarpone whipped cream, I made a vanilla buttercream frosting and topped with fresh blackberries. My only complaint with the recipe was that my layers did not at all total up to the number of grams suggested (each of my layers was about 725 grams, but it seems like they should have been about 773 each based on Deb’s calculation of 515 per layer for a 3-layer cake. Didn’t matter once I figured it out and could rebalance them before baking. My layers baked for about 35min each. The cakes were a total hit at the party!
Definitely would NOT recommend blackstrap molasses. It came out bitter and hardly sweet at all. My mistake for not reading the comment about which type of molasses to use.
I love your website and many of your recipes are just fantastic. They never steer me wrong.
I just had to let you know that o ad the exact same problem with Claudia’s ginger cake when I made it this year. It tasted fantastic but came out a mangled mess from the bundt pan and I never had issues with this pan before for any other cake. I will definitely make it a layer cake like this the next time I Meade it. Plus any topping that has marscapone In it gets my vote!
Thanks for always having great stories and recipes to share!
i like it image
If you are not a sweet person, definitely recommend reducing the sugar! Other people with sweeter teeth loved this cake, but it was too sweet for me. I’d like to try it again cutting the sugar in half.
Could I use 2 or 3 -8in pans?
I am looking for thick layers of cake.
Yes, but it still won’t be very thick.
I made this for Christmas dessert and it turned out beautifully. Did the three layer version, following the advice of making two layers, reserving 1/3 of the batter, and then making one more as soon as the first layers cooled enough to de-pan. The recipe makes A LOT of cranberries so next time I will cut it in half, and cut down the frosting amount to just 2/3 of what is here, unless I want extras (the whipped cream frosting is really good and would be tasty on fruit). I made it all a day ahead of time and the frosting held up fine, as did the cakes (wrapped tightly in cellophane), then assembled it on the day we ate it. Next time I would not sugar the cranberries in advance, as they lost their crystallized look and absorbed all the sugar. Day-of would be better for those. It is impressive-looking, like a bakery cake, and made a great addition to (last year’s) Christmas dessert table. This year I am making it for Thanksgiving.
I love the Grammercy Tavern recipe but my family doesn’t (weirdos). Could I turn this or the snacking cake recipe into cupcakes?
I am a pastry chef and I played with this exact same recipe at work and had similar trouble; the first time it was great, and every other time after that it wasn’t quite right. After doing a bit of internet sleuthing, I realized the first time I’d used the cup measurement and after that I’d used the grams. I originally found this recipe on the NY Times sight and the grams were not correct. Two cups should be closer to 340 grams. Maybe this will help you too? I agree, this is the best gingerbread in the whole world! Cheers!
I halved this to make 18 cupcakes, subbed coffee for the stout and added 2 tbsp of Dutch cocoa to make sure they didn’t fall apart. Still moist beyond belief and delicious. I had to appease a non-cheeser so I used a whipped white chocolate ganache and I wasn’t upset about the results.
Did anyone ever experience flour lumps after sifting the dry ingredients over the wet in this ginger read cake? i could not get them out and baked the layers anyway. Could not start over! What went wrong?
I’ve gotten a couple lumps; it’s not ideal but it’s just flour and won’t ruin the cake.
Alright so I have a massive disaster in the making story haha.
I’ve made this cake twice before in my kitchen, once for my partner on his birthday and a second time for my boss on his birthday: both times I received raving reviews. That was 2 years ago.
TODAY, I decided to prepare it for my partner’s birthday tomorrow, in the middle of our quarantine, in my ageing mother in law’s kitchen in Switzerland. We bought all our ingredients online and so because of the lack of variety and miscommunication, I had NO cranberries (fresh or frozen), NO heavy cream, NO dark sugar, NO dark molasses, NO vegetable oil, NO ground cloves, NO cardamom and to put the icing on the cake (no pun intended) our electric blender was broken and I did not have my trusted cake stripes for flat layers. Instead, I had fresh blueberries that I followed the recipe for and dried cranberries I soaked in rhum, single cream, cane sugar, a heavily sweetened molasses mixture (with only 33% of molasses content and a whopping 77% content of glucose-fructose), OLIVE OIL (I want to cry), full cloves and zero cardamom.
The layers taste like the boring blonde version of the mysterious brunette full or richness and depth if you will. I made a cake strip out of wet bandages and aluminium foil. My first cake was perfectly flat and tasted ok. I left the kitchen to do a two-hour job interview and when I was finished, made the second layer thinking it would be fine, forgot I turned the fan option to pre-heat it and cooked it 20°C more than intended and the cake had a quasimodo dome on one side… So I wanted to cry some more.
In the meantime, I went and tried to make the mascarpone cream layer and noticed then and there that our food delivery guy gave us single cream instead of heavy cream and of course, our blender broke while mixing. My mother in law cleverly suggested to add gelatine to the mixture I made to set it up but at this point, the stringent instruction follower that I am is just faded about this abominable cake.
To add to that entire disaster, we just tried to even up the layer with unflavoured dental floss and now I have three uneven layers of varying sizes and I am just done.
Cake disaster. WHY did I think I could make a cake like this abroad, in my mother in law’s kitchen, with my mother in law watching, with half the ingredients unavailable??
I’ll let you know how it turns out.
This is my very most favorite comment ever on this site, and I’ve read a lot of them. French in London, how did you ever fare in the end??
I made this cake for Christmas and Oh, My Word! I believe this is the best cake I’ve EVER had! So rich and moist and flavorful! I didn’t change a thing. I will be making it again later in the week for a friends birthday party. I think I’ll switch out the cranberries for candied Meyer lemons for a more summery vibe. This will definitely become my signature special occasion cake.
For those at high altitude (I’m at 7300 ft), how much do you adjust? I have used a ‘little less’ of both sugars, oil, baking soda and baking powder. Wondering if I should be more scientific. Love the cake, but not sure the texture I have is the texture I’m -supposed- to have!
I made this cake for dinner at a friends house, as my husband said “it’s superb”.
I used the Wilton baking strips soaked in water and rung out and placed on the outside of the pans. They bake the cake evenly and flat. Although may take a bit longer to bake the 22 minutes. I also added some freshly ground ginger to the cakes. Heavenly.
could i use sorghum syrup instead of molasses and, if so, would the amount be the same?
Hi Deb! I am a huge fan of your site. I make this cake every christmas! And this year, I’ve decided to make it as my wedding cake, since we’re getting married December 27th. My only issue is, I find that the cake is so moist, that the molasses seeps into the delicate cream frosting and gives it an unsightly grey-brown color. In the past, that hasn’t been an issue because the cake gets gobbled up so quickly, it doesn’t have time for seepage until theres only a couple slices left. However, since this is my wedding cake, it will be sitting for a day after I’ve frosted it. Do you have any ideas for a solution? Thanks! Cyan
I love this idea! It might be worth experimenting with other frostings that hold up better. You can try setting the whipped cream with some gelatin and see if it gets less muddled. Swiss meringue buttercream is very common on weddings cake too, since it holds up well, but won’t be cold and creamy. I made a German buttercream for a friend’s wedding two years ago that’s like a whipped custard; it was very good.
If you put the sugared cranberries on top, do they lose their crispness over time because of the moisture in the filling on top? I’m planning to bring this to a party, so trying to decide whether to put them on in advance or do it when it’s served.
It should be fine for a couple hours — the parts that are embedded in the cream will soften, but not the exposed parts — but you can also add them right before serving too.
My cake layers aren’t rising. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I’m following the recipe to a T. What do I need to do?
The cake doesn’t rise a lot, but should rise some.
Ok. But it hardly rose at all. What should I do differently next time?
Any chance the amount of flour is off? I made this today, measured all ingredients on the scale and I don’t think that the cake will ever set ( it’s bubbling in the oven after 25 minutes, 2 nine inch rounds). I also had 1320 grams of batter, not the 1545 that 515*3 would give you. Thanks!
I forgot the eggs!
I loved the recipe! I’ll test it tomorrow at Christmas dinner with my family! Kisses from Brazil!!!
I have made your original Guiness Spice Cake recipe dozens of times and rarely have problems releasing it from the bundt pan. I butter and flour the pan carefully because of your words of caution. It is one of my favorite cakes. I made multiple batches in mini bundt pans this year to give to neighbors.
Very nice yummy cake recipe
Thank you so much for sharing your tips. So very generous of you. And thank you for your wonderful recipes. You’re definitely one of the best!
Made this again (first was a few years ago) for family and they all began exclaiming after just one bite how good it was. Just as I remembered. I made the cranberries this time too and could have eaten them all myself.
I divided the batter between two buttered, floured non-stick cake pans and was unable to remove these. Maybe the weight of so much sticky, heavy cake was the problem, and the three thinner layers would have successfully come out (FYI I used Grandma’s molasses and a chocolate stout beer). Next time I will use parchment! Had to pivot and present the cake as a trifle as others suggested, with the cream and some cranberries stewed in simple syrup. Despite the stress it was a delicious pivot!
This amazingly delicious cake is how trifles were invented – broken layer cakes turned into a dessert to hide the mess. https://www.marthastewart.com/338946/gingerbread-trifle-with-cognac-custard-a