Monday, 21 February 2011

Gingerbread - the perfect winter cake

I have a big admission to make, Im absolutely terrified of cup measurements. For years now I have had monthly subscriptions to US food magazines without ever making one recipe in any of them, all because of the cups! I was brought up to believe that baking was an exact science, one where everything was very carefully measured in ounces and then later grams. Cups, as a result dont make any sense to me and scare me senseless.

the prettiest cake you have ever seen?
On a recent trip to the US I bought the most fabulous Bundt cake tin and spent a week looking for the perfect cake to grace it on its maiden oven voyage. The American Bundt cake comes from the German Bundkuchen and Austrian Gugelhupf which looks fantastic but has always surprised me by its dryness. I decided that I was going to have to brave a US recipe for my new US cake tin and the first place I looked was the fabulous archives at SmittenKitchen.

This cake certainly hit the spot as a great winterly cake. Two days later its even better so as the cake has ripened and become even more sticky and chewy. Its the kind of cake that cries for a cup of strong coffee after a brisk walk in the cold, the kind of cake that will warm you all the way through with its fantastic spiciness. This is definitely not a cake for wimps, but saying that its definitely not difficult to make.

Grammercy Tavern's Gingerbread (from SmittenKitchen adapted to metric by me)
makes one bundt size tin or two loafs.

8 fl oz/220 ml Guinness
8 fl oz/220 ml Treacle (molasses on the original recipe but I couldnt find this)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

250g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom (I couldnt find this - it worked perfectly without)

3 large eggs
190g dark brown sugar
220g granulated sugar
6fl oz/150ml vegetable oil
Icing sugar for dusting

Ive grouped the ingredients into the dishes you will need - which are as follows:
- One large saucepan
- Two big mixing bowls

treacle, fabulous sticky ingredient that my uncle feeds to cows when milking them
First measure your guinness and treacle and heat until boiling in your large saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda (the mixture will double in size and become quite fluffy). Leave this to cool to room temperature and then prepare everything else.
volume doubles in size when you add bicarb!
Butter the tin and dust with flour and set aside

Heat the oven to 180C/170 (fan)

Sift the flour, spices and baking powder in one large bowl

Weigh and mix the sugars in another bowl. Once your treacle mixture has cooled whisk the eggs into the sugar and then add the oil, whisking until smooth (I used a handmixer for this). Add the treacle mixture and whisk again.

Combine the flour mixture with the liquid mixture and mix until well combined.

Add caption
Pour the mixture into the Bundt pan (or small loaf tins) and give them a good knock on the counter to remove air bubbles.
the bottom does not need to look pretty!
Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes, a tester should come out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. This should last a good few days covered (assuming you dont eat it all very quickly!)


  1. Gorgeous! Well done Dierdre:) I hope 2011 is treating you guys well. All the best from Manila!

  2. This is not the best blog to discover after one commits to a lifestyle change!


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