gingerbread layer cake Recipes

gingerbread layer cake

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.


what you'll need
wet ingredients

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.

lots of spices
adding the beer-molasses mixture
stir in dry ingredients
dividing the cake batter
whipped mascarpone cream

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.

a good thwunk of cream
stacked and humble
gingerbread layer cake
gingerbread layer cake

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.

Sugared Cranberries
1 cup (200 grams) plus 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup (100 grams) fresh cranberries

Cake layers
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

Filling
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 2 1/4 cups or 565 grams of batter (apologies, these are a little high; update to come) 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.

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140 comments on gingerbread layer cake

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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 :)

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Hi,
    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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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. ;)

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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. =)

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

    Pam m
    Baking spray helped release my cake from my the Bundt pan but I also added more flour then then recipe called for. :l

  29. 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.

  30. 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
    ism

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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!!

  38. 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.

  39. 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..

  40. 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!!

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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!).

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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?

  50. 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.

  51. 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!!!

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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!

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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!

  60. 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! :)

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!

  64. 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!!!

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. 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

  70. 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!
    Beth

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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!

  74. 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!

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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!

  79. I made this cake for Christmas and it was wonderful. The leftover cranberries were delicious in my spinach salad afterwards.

  80. 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! :)

  81. 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!

  82. 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,

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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?

  86. 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?

    Thanks!

    E

  87. 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!

  88. 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.

  89. 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?

  90. 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!

  91. 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.

  92. 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?