This cake is robust, like a bear hug. We actually need it to get through the next eight weeks. It’s baking as I write and the house smells like a holiday, like a gingerbread house. I found this recipe in the New York Times last week and decided that it would be this year’s ginger-something recipe, following past years’ Gingersnap cookies and Etta’s Pear Ginger Upside Down cake.
With cups of stout and molasses, fresh ginger, powdered ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and pepper I could tell when I read the recipe that this cake isn’t messing around. It’s a cake with character and the essence of deep dark spice, and with the stout, almost smoky. Its sparkly sugar crust glitters in the candlelight and is a crunchy counterpoint to a rich moist crumb. Gild the lily (or, hey, guilt the lily) with a little whipped cream or lemon sauce on top.
Marrow’s is a restaurant in NYC and this, apparently, is a winter specialty.
Ingredients: 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature/ ½ C raw sugar (Demerara)/ 1 C stout/ 1 C molasses/ ½ t baking soda/ 2 C all-purpose flour/ 1 T ground ginger, 1 t cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, allspice, and salt/ 3 T grated fresh ginger/ 3 large eggs at room temperature/ 1 t vanilla extract/ 1 C dark brown sugar, lightly packed/ 1 C granulated sugar/ ¾ C safflower oil.
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees/ Grease a Bundt pan thoroughly with the softened butter/ Coat the entire pan with raw sugar so that it sticks to the butter/ Turn the pan over to dump out any excess sugar.
Add the stout and molasses to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer/ Remove from the heat, carefully whisk in the baking soda and let cool to room temperature/ The stout mixture will bubble up.
Sift together the flour, ground spices, pepper and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the fresh ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed for five minutes.
Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the oil/ Mix for another 5 minutes/ Then slowly add the stout mixture and mix for another 5 minutes.
Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan/ Bake for 55 to 65 minutes ( less in a convection oven), or until a cake tester comes out clean/ Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then flip upside down to release while still warm/ Let cool completely before serving.
Notes: When I removed the cake from the pan a lot of the sugar coating disappeared. While it was still very warm I sprinkled more of the raw sugar on top and it held. In my convection oven this cake was done in 45 minutes. Stays moist and delish for at least a couple of days, serves 12, make it ahead of time for a party.
The cake cooled off enough to sample just now, and I have to say that it’s pretty fabulous, dark, spicy and moist, gingerbread taken up a couple of notches. And yes, we do need this cake. We do.