One of my all-time favorite autumnal sweets (besides candy corn) is gingerbread. Not the cookies (though I love those, too), but the cake. However, I sometimes find it hard to find a suitable recipe. So many that I read extol the virtues of how there is "but a hint of spice," or "a touch of ginger," or "just a touch of molasses" to the flavor. Now, I don't know about you, but when I want gingerbread...I want gingerbread! None of this holding back of flavor. Give it to me full flavored and don't wimp out. I now think I've finally found a recipe that lives up to my demanding expectation, Gramercy Tavern's Gingerbread.
Another wonderful recipe from the folks at Gourmet Magazine, Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread is a dense, almost sticky cake that delivers a kick to the face, as spice and flavor goes. Hell, there's a heaping two tablespoons of ginger in this baby, plus an entire cup of dark molasses. You also get the pleasure of adding a cup of stout beer to the batter, and as we all know, beer makes food better.
I've used stouts in baking before, and yielded delicious results. I've used both Guinness and Sierra Nevada Stout, and both work. However, I have found that Guinness, though great when drunk straight up, does not deliver as much when used in baking. Therefor, I recommend Sierra Nevada Stout, here. It's got more chutzpah, which comes through well when added to a cake batter. You don't really taste the stout so much, but it helps to balance the three cups of sugar (1 cup each dark molasses, dark brown sugar, and white sugar) with some bitterness. It also adds richness to the gingerbread.
Hm...a second slice is looking good, right about now. ^_^;
Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread
1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Special equipment: a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan
Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.