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Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake--Stuck!

Please help! After reading about this cake on another post I got all of the ingredients and made the cake. I couldn't get it out of the bundt pan! It stuck like crazy even though I buttered and flourered the pan. I am so not a baker...so please tell me what to do to make this come out. The cake is delicious and it would be so nice to be able to perfectly bake something!

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  1. how frustrating that must have been!
    i have made that cake before.
    i butter with crisco - it has no milk solids that can become sticky in baking and i find it works better for this purpose.
    i also never flour, instead i use sugar. i think i learned this trick on chowhound. for some reason it works, and there isn't that nasty pasty flour residue on the outside of the cake that way, instead a slightly crunchy, shiny outside.

    i have also heard those silicone molds are great for this purpose, although i haven't tried that myself.

    don't be discouraged about baking!

    1. Thank you. What kind of pan do you use? Can this recipe be made in a square pan instead of a bundt pan? I seriously don't bake and don't know if you can just subsitute a different pan shape. Thanks for your help. BTW...even though it came out a mess...it was so good!

      3 Replies
      1. re: DaisyM

        you can bake it in any shape pan, gingerbread is very forgiving. just make sure your pan has enough room for it to rise in the oven!

        that's true for most chemically leavened baked things - anything with baking soda or baking powder. not so true for cakes likeangel food, things leavened with eggs.

        i think for many new bakers it seems to be magic but it really isn't. with practice you won't feel nervous about it.

        1. re: pigtails

          In a simpler pan you can line the bottom, or the whole thing, with parchment paper.

          1. re: pigtails

            If you bake it in a square pan or loaf pan you can use parchment paper which, along with buttering the sides, will insure a good removal.

        2. it should not have been such a problem if you buttered and floured adequately in the cracks and crevices of the pan and always including the central tube- sometimes I coat butter with dried breadcrumbs - that can work well (I DO NOT recomend sugar since that will stick on some pans).
          Think about how you tried to take the cake out of the pan - was it fully cooked - did it pull away a little from the sides? You need to wait a little but not too long before removing cakes from the pan - it should still be quite warm - I usually use a table knife to run between the pan and the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven to assist in its shrinking/separation from the pan - this can be tricky with a bundt, since its easy to cut into the cake - a critical part is running your knife round the center tube of the bundt pan to make sure it does not adhere there. Then after a little wait to let the cake firm, Put a cooling rack firmly over the pan. Holding the pan and the rack firmly together, turn the whole thing upside down Set on your counter and tap firmly on the upside down bundt pan. If the pan has been properly prepared.it should come out ok. This is a buttery cake and there would normally not be big problems with it sticking. If it doesnt feel like its coming out when you tap, then you can turn it back upright go back around the edges - tilt the pan a bit and see where it might be adhering - use your table knife to release it there.

          I would not sacrifice the butter for butter flavored crisco to improve this process! It is manageable. Any kind of work with cakes will help you get comfortable with this process of removing baked good from pans , but I agree that bundts are annoying and particularly hard to work with.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jen kalb

            All great tips. I tend to be impatient when buttering and flouring a Bundt pan, but have learned to be a bit obsessive about it. And, I do wait to take it out of the oven - making sure that the cake has started to pull away from the pan.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Thank you! I'm going to try it again.

            2. re: jen kalb

              Americas Test Kitchen found that baking spray (the kind with flour) worked as well as butter and flour, and was easier to apply.

              1. re: paulj

                I second the recommendation for baking spray (Baker's Joy, Pam for Baking, and Spectrum makes one, too). It's especially useful for bundt pans and the like, where it's hard to butter thoroughly. I've never had something not release easily when using baking spray.

              2. re: jen kalb

                i've never heard of butter flavored crisco, that sounds gross - no, i just use plain old crisco. not in the cake, just for the pan. i don't notice any taste difference and i would be amazed if anyone else could, it is a tiny amount and it is a tasteless product.

                i have used breadcrumbs before too, with a particular cake with apples they work like a charm.

                but with this gingerbread, i've used sugar before and it works well, with a bundt pan. the cake does have to be warmish, it didn't occur to me that it would be cooled when taking it out of the pan. i'm sure it would stick miserably at that point. also, if it begins to crack a bit but it is still warm, it can be easily stuck back together into the proper shape.

              3. With stickier cakes (like gingerbread) I've had luck putting the pan back in the oven for a minute or two and then flipping it out of the pan while it's still warm. A similar trick, is to pass the pan over your burner just to melt the sugars a bit, then turn the cake out.

                1. Thanks to your post, DaisyM, and all the helpful advice, I finally got around to making this tonight to pre-test for comany this coming weekend. I'm looking for easy, make-ahead snacks so we can enjoy our time together.

                  I don't have a bundt pan, so I can't really help there, but after reading about your sticking problem I used lots of Trader Joe's canola baking spray (definitely more than I usually use), and coated with as much flour as would stick. I waited twenty minutes or so after the cake came out of the oven, and then turned it out effortlessly. Certainly not as challenging as a bundt pan, but it worked like a charm.

                  By the way, we didn't wait for it to cool completely. I served it with unsweetened whipped cream, and it was delicious, the best gingerbread that I've had. Definitely on the menu for guests.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: bear

                    bear: Was this the Oatmeal Stout Gingerbread or another recipe?

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      Is this Oatmeal Stout or oatmeal and stout? I'm guessing the former. But interestingly, there is a traditional Yorkshire gingerbread that uses oatmeal (about equal proportions with flour), molasses (black treacle) and lots of ginger. It's called parkin. Without much egg it's on the dry and crumbly side, and is supposed to be better after aging a week or more.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        This was the oatmeal stout recipe. I didn't realize there was another one.

                      2. re: bear

                        Sorryy, meant to say that I cooked it in a plain tube pan, which worked fine. Not as pretty as a bundt, but I flipped it so that the nice rounded top was showing, especially with a sifting of confectioner's sugar on top.

                      3. you've already got enough responses, but...

                        i make this in two loaf pans instead of the bundt (to increase top "crust" surface area). i spray the loaf pans with Pam (sometimes the one for baking), then drop some flour in the pan, turn the pan around to make sure all surfaces get coated properly; then, i turn the pan upside down and tap it hard to get all the excess to avoid any bits of uncooked flour on my edges. never had a problem. you may get one or two little bits maybe dime-sized or so that stick but never the sides, just on the bottom.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Emme

                          Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I'm going to try this again. Because I don't bake...it really feels like I'm back in college in chemistry class and that if I don't do everything perfectly something will explode! I'm serious...I'm so afraid of screwing it up. One more question what type of stout did you use?

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            Baking definitely relies on chemistry, but try not to fret quite so much: even if things go badly, the worst you'll get is a stuck-on cake and a learning experience - no explosions!

                            Also, many recipes, especially those for things like muffins and quickbreads, are more forgiving than you might think. If you're in the early stages of learning, it can be easy to worry so much about details that you lose the fun. Try to pick recipes that are manageable (I definitely think this cake, which I've made before, is one), and don't be afraid to simplify things a bit at first.

                            For instance: if bundt pans are scary right now, just bake in a loaf pan (the directions for the cake on epicurious.com specify a loaf pan, in fact - not sure if you're working from a book or not).

                            And here are some websites which might help you out: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Cake-Pan-... (cake pan sizes by volume, and conversions); http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingc... (ingredient conversions by weight/volume); http://www.epicurious.com/tools/foodd... (a dictionary of ingredients and cooking terminology)

                            1. re: DaisyM

                              i prefer the guinness stout, but i know others prefer the oatmeal, so there really isn't a "better..." you might experiment for yourself.

                              and as to the poster below that suggested not using brown sugar, i wouldn't do that. another poster said the original recipe only had one cup of sugar, but that refers to the cake not the gingerbread. i'd recommend making it true to the recipe, then if you don't like it, tweak it from there....

                              don't be afraid of screwing up... i swear i've never had a problem with pam, flour, and loaf pans...

                              1. re: Emme

                                My reason for backing off on the brown sugar is that the molasses already provides that flavor - in a more concentrated dose.

                          2. As someone said, you have so many great responses already but I'll add one more. I use a product called Cake Release by Wilton. It is the flour and butter in one step. I use it strictly for bundts. I put it in the pan and use a silicone pastry brush to get it in all the nooks and crannies. It works even on those intricate pans and its really easy to use. I got mine at our local supermarket in the baking supply section. Good luck.

                            1. I wanted to chime in to let you know that I am quite an experienced baker but this delicious cake has caused me problem after problem with sticking no matter what technique I try. Even the Baker's Joy didn't work! So it may not be your baking skills that caused the problem--this recipe is somehow tricky. In future, I think I will simply abandon the idea of making it in a Bundt pan and use a cake pan or loaf pans instead.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Laurella

                                Consider a tube pan as well. Worked well, and looked good, too.

                              2. Looking at the Epicurious version, I suspect the sticking problem has to do with the high amount of molasses and sugar - 1c and 2c (brown and white). Given the amount of molasses, I wonder if there is any point to using brown sugar. Since I don't like overly sweet things, I'd be tempted to make this with only 1 c of sugar.

                                It calls for oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout. If I had a choice I'd use the oatmeal stout - it is dark, but with a sweet (and less hoppy) character that should work with the other ingredients. A cream stout would also do.

                                I think this recipe would do nicely in a 8" square cake pan, with a parchment paper lining.

                                This might a be a good use for a silicone mini-bunt mold.

                                Here's a version of the Yorkshire Parkin that I mentioned earlier (with the nice UK weights)

                                This blog
                                claims that Sierra Nevada Stout is good for this recipe, having enough bitterness to balance the sugars.

                                Did anyone catch the recent beer Iron Chef competition? Didn't Flay make some sort of bunt cake with the chocolate stout? He served it with a layer of honey ale zabalone in the middle.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: paulj

                                  The original recipe by the (former) pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern only has 1 cup of sugar (and has 1 T. of fresh ginger in addition to the other spices). Recipe also available on Epicurious - search for Guinness Stout Ginger Cake.

                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    If I put it in the square pan with a parchment liner....do I spray that? Does the liner go up the sides of the pan? I'm sorry for what I'm sure seems like a ridiculous question. I really don't bake and would like to "get this right". MY husband already asked me to make one for his staff on Monday. He liked it that much.

                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                      In lining a pan, you have different options. I'd either make a sling with it (you want it to hang over on opposite sides but fit the bottom the other way, so for an 8" pan, you'd cut it 8" by maybe 16" so it hangs over) or cut it to 8'x8". The first way, you can just lift it out of the pan, after the cake has cooled somewhat (run a knife around the edges w/out the sling). The danger w/ this way is the cake can crack if it's too warm and you're not careful. If you cut it to fit, you can turn it out after 10-15 minutes (running a knife along the edge) and let it cool on a rack. You spray the pan first, add the parchment and then spray the liner. The problem w/ just cutting a big piece and lining it is the corners get messy. You can work around it but it's not worth the hassle. If the cake sticks that much, I'd probably use a springform pan.

                                2. IT WORKED!!! Oh, wow I'm so happy. I went out this am and bought a beautful bundt pan with a wave design. It is heavy and non stick. They suggested using Baker's Joy, which I remembered someone on the board had suggested. I totally sprayed every inch of it. I put the timer on for 5 minutes and then prayed...and flipped it over. I'm seriously happy about this. Thank you so much for all of your help. It really looks beautiful.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. If you can't get enough of a ginger taste, consider using freshly grated whole dried ginger. As with any spice, freshly ground is stronger than old, preground. And dried ginger has a different character than fresh or candied. Some recipes use all three to get a full ginger flavor.

                                    Racks of Mexcian spices in celo packages often include dried ginger. The pieces are branched like fresh ginger, but only about an inch long, and white. For small amounts I grate it with the nutmeg grater. I've also tried pounding it in a mortar, which is a lot of work. I've also pulverized it in a whirly coffee grinder. However I now have a crack in the plastic top of the grinder :( Next time I'll try to use a combination - break it up as best I can by hand, and finishing the job in the grinder.

                                    Another good source of ginger is a sweet ginger spread distributed by 'The Ginger People'. Trader Joes has carried it, on and off, with their own label, but clearly the same source. But WF and other upscale groceries and healthfood places still carry it.