In the vast and greatly varied world of molasses cakes, this modest-looking bundt cake is perhaps the deepest, darkest, and most intensely flavored of them all. The batter is given a strong dose of blackstap molasses, and it has two types of ginger: ground and freshly grated. To further underscore its depth of flavor, Guinness Extra Stout is added, which is distinctively bitter-sweet, black, and full-bodied. Altogether, these ingredients produce a cake that is dark, sticky and chewy with flavor that booms like a timpani drum!
Because this cake has so much molasses in it, it is prone to stick in the pan. My advice is to make sure every little nook and cranny of your bunt pan is greased and floured. Or, if you use flour-based baking spray as I do, spray it once before you start mixing the cake batter, then spray it again just before putting the batter into the pan.
The cake is frosted with thick chocolate-stout ganache. The flavor of the chocolate really stands up to the intense molasses flavor in the cake. They are equals in this recipe; one does not outshine the other. A sprinkle of coarse sea salt is absolutely necessary! I think you’ll find it nicely counters the richness of all those dark elements.
This cake is absolutely meant to be eaten in fall and winter months. It is substantial, sustaining, and warming with ginger. It’s a cake for those who enjoy an occasional sharp or bitter note (think espresso or bittersweet chocolate). It’s best served with a big dollop of whipped cream, so I’ve included a recipe for fresh whipped cream in the recipe.
Ultimate Ginger Stout Cake
with Beer Ganache Icing
Yields 16 servings for a 12 cup Bundt pan. The recipe can be halved for 8 servings from a 6 cup Bundt pan. Recipe adapted from the Bright Food Shop and Gramercy Tavern, October 2001 issue of Epicurious Magazine.
This recipe makes a little more batter than can be fit in a large (12-cup) Bundt pan, so plan on making one or two cupcakes (or mini bundt cakes!) with the extra batter.
2 cups (500ml) Guinness extra stout
2 cups (500ml) blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon baking soda
6 large eggs
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (180g) packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (260ml) vegetable oil
4 cups (560g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (57g) ground ginger
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons peeled, grated fresh ginger root
1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beer Ganache Icing ingredients
1 cup Guinness extra stout
1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Coarse sea salt for garnish
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with flour based cooking spray (recommend Baker’s Joy) and set aside. (Or grease and flour pan well.)
In a large pot over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Mixture will raise and foam, so turn off the heat and remove from the stove eye immediately after it boils to avoid having the foam overflow the pot. Stir in baking soda and allow the mixture to sit until the foam dissipates and the mixture cools.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, both sugars and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture and whisk together, then gradually add the flour mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined; then add fresh ginger and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Pour into prepared pan no more than 3/4 full and bake for 1 hour (you may have extra batter, which can be baked in cupcake papers or mini Bundt pans). The cake is done when a skewer inserted near the center of the cake emerges clean when pulled back out. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn out to cool completely.
Make the whipped cream: Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high speed until slightly thickened. Gradually add in the sugar while mixing. When the mixture is thick and billowy, mix in the vanilla extract. Place the whipped cream in the refrigerator until ready to serve the cake.
Make the ganache frosting: In a medium saucepan, bring the 1 cup of stout to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the beer is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Let cool completely.
In a separate saucepan, heat the cream until hot and steaming but not boiling; add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add the beer reduction to the ganache and stir until well incorporated. Refrigerate ganache until thick and spreadable, about 30-40 minutes.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve slices of cake with the whipped cream.