One of my favorite indulgences around Christmastime is freshly baked gingerbread – and to me, Claudia Fleming’s recipe from Gramercy Tavern in New York City epitomizes everything that makes this holiday cake so wonderful. The addition of Guinness gives the batter an amazing degree of effervescence, and it cooks into a light yet incredibly moist treat packed with the perfect combination of seasonal spices. While Claudia’s recipe typically calls for the use of a bundt pan and dusting the final cake with confectioners sugar, I opted instead to make mine in a baking pan, from which I ultimately carved the Christmas present Snake that Jack Skellington brings to a child during his attempt to hijack Christmas (which I brought to life with bands of Wilton edible Sugar Sheets).
Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread
1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
½ tsp baking soda
2 c all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 c packed dark brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
¾ c vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter baking 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.
Dust cake with confectioners sugar and serve with whipped cream.