Holiday Recipe: Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread in both cookie and cake form is one the great Christmas classics. It's savory enough to be served at breakfast, and the rich, spicy flavor makes it a great afternoon snack with tea. Our favorite food technicians at America's Test Kitchen have added a little verve to this year's version: there's beer in there! The dark stout helps round out the flavors by adding a little caramel and bittersweet to the mix. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy America's Test KitchenClassic Gingerbread Cake
Makes one 8-inch square cake, serving 8 to 10
3/4 cup stout (ATK prefers Guinness)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
2 tablespoons ground ginger (reduce to 1 tablespoon if you want a milder flavor)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square baking pan.

Bring stout to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously). When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper together in large bowl; set aside.

Transfer stout mixture to large bowl. Whisk in eggs, oil, and grated ginger until combined. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake until top of cake is just firm to touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack, about 11/2 hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature -- we like it with whipped cream.

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About the Author

Katherine is the former Living Managing Editor at She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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