From Margaret Polaneczky, MD, The Blog That Ate Manhattan. Claudia Fleming, former pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, wrote in Gourmet‘s October 2001 issue that the moist dark fragrant gingerbread paid tribute to Dona Abramson and Stuart Tarabour at the Bright Food Shop, a now-shuttered little Mexican-fusion café in Chelsea. It became a seasonal classic at Gramercy Tavern. The original recipe called for Guinness Stout, but Peggy Polaneczky used a double chocolate Stout that gave it an exceptionally fine flavor. In 2016 I used Highland Brewing Company’s Black Mocha Stout.
Peggy also added a garnish of sliced candied ginger and served it with a dollop of whipped cream, but I prefer David Lebovitz’s Lemon Cream as a sauce. Speaking of David Lebovitz, this ginger cake recipe is a lot like his famous Fresh Ginger Cake recipe but uses stout instead of water and has a few more spices. Both recipes are incredible. And let’s not forget plain Gingerbread, a recipe from James Beard that is simple and spectacular.
1 cup stout beer
1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
½ tablespoon baking soda
4-ounce piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped as fine as you can
3 large eggs (room temperature if possible)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil (you can use vegetable or peanut oil if that’s what you have on hand)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9-inch tube pan. To avoid the heartbreak of cakebreak, cut a ring of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Butter it and then flour the entire pan. You can also use a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Cut a round of parchment paper for the bottom, butter and flour as above.
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates. Stir in the chopped fresh ginger and let it steep while the mixture cools to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the vanilla and oil.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper.
Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, one-third at a time.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the cake is almost done, or the cake may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Make sure to cool completely and loosen the edges well before inverting onto plate–it should come away with both the cake and your heart intact!
Serve with crystallized ginger slices and whipped cream, or with David Lebovitz’s Lemon Cream.