Monday, January 19, 2009

I made Gingerbread!

I've been thinking about gingerbread recently for several reasons: it's delicious, Christmas, the winter weather. My gingerbread dreams remained unrealized, however, because I didn't have a "go-to" gingerbread recipe, aside from a very tasty gingerbread man one that we used when I was little. Also, although there is very GOOD gingerbread out there, gingerbread can also be very mediocre, and I was skeptical about many recipes I came across. Finally, I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (which is originally from Epicurious ) so I decided to give it a try, because all of her recipes I've tried have been delicious. It was a tiny bit of a pain, but only because I ended up having to try several stores to find molasses as it was late-ish on a Sunday and I wanted to avoid a trip to Met Food. After trying several local stores, I ended up at the Met Food and, of course, should have gone there all along since they had everything I needed. Oh well. Anyway, the gingerbread is really good and very hearty. One piece of advice -- it's much easier to clean up molasses right when it drips than when it has been sitting in a measuring cup/pot/on the floor, so cleaning as you go is a good idea for this recipe.

This is the recipe on Epicurious:

My notes are in bold.
  • 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout (I used Guinness Stout -- and you can drink the rest as you cook!)
  • 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap) (I wasn't sure what "dark molasses" was, so I used the regular yellow Grandma's jar -- seemed fine.)
  • 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 (I omitted the cloves as I'm not a clove fan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used regular brown sugar)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
Extra note: I thought it was a little strange that the recipe didn't call for salt, so I added a decent pinch with the rest of the dry ingredients. I also used 1/2 tsp of vanilla as well, since I thought the flavor would be good.

Special equipment:
  • a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan (I don't have a bundt pan, so I used two loaf pans. The results were two low cakes. Maybe you could use just one pan? It would probably take longer to bake...)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. (Smitten Kitchen emphasizes making sure you butter the pan enough. I didn't lose any cake except for a thin coating on part of the bottom)
2. Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Molasses and Guinness...mmmmm

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. (This is where I added the salt)

4. Whisk together eggs and sugars. (This is where I added the vanilla)
5. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Wet and dry ingredients, about to be combined...

6. 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 (It was exactly 50 minutes for me). Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
7. Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream. (I didn't have whipped cream, just confectioners sugar, which was delicious. Ice cream would also be a great topping).

The final product.

Note from Smitten Kitchen: This gingerbread is better if made a day ahead. It will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature.


  1. This gingerbread is really pretty! Probably great with a glass of something good. Some tea, cold milk, cold apple cider, hot tea and whiskey.

  2. I made this recipe a few weeks ago & it's still the background pic on my cell phone because it came out so pretty & snow covered with lots of powdered sugar! Yum yum. Any recipe that starts with beer is fine by me!