gingerbread cake

I’m very aware when putting up Christmas decorations that they’re going to need to be taken back down soon enough. I keep my decorations minimal. A 2-foot tree I bought in college, one string of lights, some pretty candles. When we get back from visiting our families a week after Christmas and start dreading the return to work on Monday, it’ll only take a few minutes to pack up the holidays until next year. I won’t make treats for that.

But I did make treats for decorating. It hardly seems worth it, since it took us longer to dig the box of Christmas stuff out of the garage than it did to spread the cheer around the living room, but everything is more fun with food. Gingerbread is the perfect accompaniment to Pandora’s Holiday Jazz station and the ceramic trees my Grandma gave me ten years ago.

I’ve never had a bad gingerbread, but this one – dense and spicy and moist – is just perfect for December. Maybe I will make another batch when we put the decorations away…

One year ago: Brussels Sprouts Braised in Cream
Two years ago: Candied Orange Peel

Printer Friendly Recipe
Gingerbread (from Claudia Fleming via Smitten Kitchen)

Please note that this cake is better if made a day in advance. After removing it from the pan, let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Cooks Illustrated recently published a recipe for gingerbread that’s very similar to this, except they stir the batter a bit more to give it more structure, to avoid the sinking that’s evident in the photo above.

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (9.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
confectioners sugar for dusting
lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

2. Bring the stout and molasses to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda; cool to room temperature.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs and sugars in a separate bowl. Whisk the oil, then the molasses into the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture; whisk until combined.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rap the pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in the middle of the 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.

5. Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream, if desired.

R.I.P. This cake stand, which I broke 30 seconds after taking these pictures.


  1. This looks beautiful (and delicious)!

  2. This cake looks super yummy, nice change to the normal cookies! Sorry to hear about your cake stand!

  3. I am still looking for desserts to make for Christmas and New Year. That would be a great one to make.

  4. I LOVE gingerbread desserts. So spicy and sweet at the same time. With that much molasses, I bet this cake is to die for.

  5. The addition of Guinness makes this cake sound fabulous. A wonderful addition to the holidays.

  6. This cake sounds fabulous, and SO perfect for the holidays!

  7. Yum! I absolutely love gingerbread and I bookmarked this recipe to try later this week!

    LOL at the RIP for the cake stand. I hate when I break stuff!

  8. Cake looks great…hopefully Santa will bring you a new cake stand

  9. *moment of silence for the late cake stand*

    I love my Martha Stewart for Macy’s cake stand if your mourning period is over.

    My husband is the seasonal decorator at our house, a fact I have to constantly explain. He decorates for Easter and Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July. Oh, Halloween babies….

  10. nom nom nom! Do you know a good caramel sauce recipe that might serve as an additional accompaniment?

  11. Omega says:

    NB – how do you think this gingerbread recipe stacks up to the chocolate & gingerbread cake you made last January?

  12. bridget says:

    Omega – Chocolate and ginger are a surprisingly good combination, but I do prefer this cake to the other. This one is wonderfully moist and dense. Plus, this time of year, I love classic gingerbread.

    I don’t have a caramel sauce I make often myself, but I found this one on Smitten Kitchen, and I rarely go wrong with her recipes.

  13. Omega says:

    Thanks Bridget – cheers!

  14. So sorry to hear about the cake stand! What a wonderful cake. My favorite holiday flavor (even beyond peppermint!) is gingerbread. A hearty, dense, moist gingerbread cake will win me over most any day of the week. I have never seen one that incorporates stout, what a great addition! Beautiful!

  15. RIP beautiful cake stand. The cake looks great, I’ve recently discovered the wonders of gingerbread 🙂

  16. I made this for christmas dessert, I served it with vanilla ice cream and bananas foster on the side – yummy city.

    This might be my christmas gift for the neighbors next year.

  17. This does look perfect. We keep our decorations to a minimum as well.

  18. Made this for Christmas Eve dessert. There were multiple other desserts on the table, but mine was the first to go! Yay!