High Altitude Gingerbread
This recipe was adapted from Claudia Fleming’s own gingerbread recipe from the Gramercy Tavern, which has been floating around the internet for quite some time now. I adapted the recipe for the high altitude here, but I also toned down the ground ginger a bit, as I prefer a strong cinnamon presence (my favorite of the warm spices) and a less prominent ginger flavor; however, I left the original spice quantities in parentheses for anyone who prefers a spicier gingerbread. If you’re after something even stronger, adding 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper and/or reducing the granulated sugar to 3/4 cup should do the trick. But be warned… even with the toned down spices, this gingerbread packs quite a punch. It’s not the sort of dessert I’d feed to children, but rather the kind I’d serve at an adult dinner party with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.
This cake is delicious the day it’s made; it forms a bit of a crust which encases a moist and rich interior, and the combination is to die for. Sadly, the cake is so moist that the crust softens overnight when covered. The good news, however, is that the flavor profile of the cake only improves with time, so eating it immediately or allowing it to age both have their benefits.
The original recipe calls for a Bundt pan, but I’m adverse to that particular shape because it reminds me of those mediocre cakes with surprise fillings that landed on every potluck table in the 1970s. It might also have something to do with those Pillsbury Bundt cake mixes that were popular when I was growing up. Anyways, I instead use a 9” diameter high sided cake pan (my pan has 2” high sides) and I’m glad that I do, because this cake is so sticky that I have a hard time imagining it releasing from a Bundt pan. I’d probably end up passing spoons around the table and asking everyone to eat it out of the pan. Don’t attempt to bake it in a traditional sided cake pan, either, because it will definitely overflow. I imagine that two 8” cake pans, two loaf pans, a 9”x12“ casserole dish, or a 12-cup tube pan would all work well (with the baking time adjusted accordingly). I lined the pan bottom with parchment and again, I’m glad that I did. Absolutely line whichever baking vessel(s) you select with parchment; however, if you opt to make it in a Bundt pan, use a generous amount of butter, greasing the pan crevices and then dust with flour. Oh, and good luck.
High Altitude Gingerbread
Adapted from a recipe by Claudia Fleming
1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout - 8 ounces
¾ cup molasses (I did not use blackstrap) - 9 ounces
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar - 7 ounces
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed - 5.6 ounces
½ cup grapeseed oil (or other oil of your choosing) - 3.5 ounces
2 cups all-purpose flour - 9.5 ounces - see note on accurately measuring flour here
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ tablespoon (or 2 tablespoons per original) ground ginger
1 tablespoon (or 1 teaspoon per original) cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup water
In a large saucepan combine stout and molasses. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in baking soda. allow to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9”-10” high sided cake pan by generously greasing then lining the bottom with parchment paper, then greasing again. Dust pan with flour.
Combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl, then set aside. In a second bowl, whisk eggs. Add sugars and whisk until well combined. Whisk in oil. Add egg mixture to molasses mixture and whisk. Add to dry ingredients and whisk. Add water and whisk until combined - this may take some patience; however, continue whisking until the water incorporates.
Place in preheated oven and bake for ~50-60 minutes (if baking in two pans, decrease cooking time by 10 minutes), or until the internal temperature reads 180°-190°F, or until it passes the toothpick test.
Allow cake to cool completely before removing from pan. Invert (or twice invert) cake onto a platter, sift confectioner’s sugar over the top, and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.