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Nov 9, 2008 01:22 PM

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread--Comments and a Question

First, I'd like to thank all the people who've been posting about gingerbread, this recipe in particular. My first attempt, long ago (decades) and far away, was utterly inedible. (Lesson learned: USE FRESH SPICES!) Since tasting the gingerbread cake from Dancing Deer a few years ago, I've been wanting to try again, but hadn't gotten the nerve until reading your posts.

So last week, I assembled all the (FRESH) ingredients and baked my first batch of gingerbread according to this recipe on Epicurious:

I used a bottle of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Grandma's Yellow Label (Original) Molasses, and, in place of brown sugar, dark Philippine muscovado. I also used a Nordic Ware mini-bundt tray (6 minis) sprayed with TJ's baking spray and a parchment-lined loaf pan.

The results were everything I had hoped for! Spicy, but not exessively so, fairly dense, but tender, with a rich, multi-layered molasses flavor. (Dark muscovado is so good I have to keep myself from eating it straight). The only thing that could make the cake better is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each slice.

As another poster mentioned, the batter is thin--probably too thin to add the candied ginger chips I had been contemplating until I realized they would sink to the bottom of the pan. And the baking spray is certainly not optional: a thin coating of cake did remain in the mini bundt pans, but since scraping up the residue left me with a delicious, chewy gingerbread "candy," I'm not complaining. I lined the loaf pan with parchment, so no problem there.

The mini-bundts cooked up very fast--around 20 minutes-- and baked very evenly. But the loaf took over an hour. The sides were kind of dry by the time the middle had set. I wonder whether this had anything to do with the fizz from the beer. Next time, I'm sticking to bundt pans for this recipe.

Speaking of beer fizz, the oatmeal stout I bought comes in 500ml bottles. I used the requisite 1 cup and transferred the balance to one of those European beer bottles with a lock-down ceramic cap. It's been over a week. Can I still use the beer for my next batch of gingerbread, or do I have to toss it?

Again, thank you fellow chowhounds, your recipes and suggestions are at least as good as, and certainly more reliable than, any cookbook in my collection!

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  1. Are you worried about the left over beer being too flat or too fizzy?

    I thought one of these recipes called for letting your beer go flat before adding it to the batter - by letting it sit out. Heating the beer with the molasses would also flatten it. So if the beer is supposed to be flat, then there shouldn't be any problem with using the leftovers. They are going to be flatter than when you first opened the bottle.

    The alternative is to try to use the beer in a way that it contributes leavening to the batter. But doesn't the recipe already include baking powder or soda?

    Shirley Corriher is guest on Splendid Table (PBS) this week. She was saying that the standard amount of leavening for cakes is 1 tsp of bp, or 1/4tsp of bs per cup of flour.

    By all means don't toss the leftover beer. At the very least drink it!

    1. That is such a fabulous recipe. I think it would be even better with pumpkin ice cream, though :)

      1. If you want to use the ginger chips, try leaving out a little of the flour, and tossing the chips in the flour and then fold in after you did the final mix. The flour keeps chips or nuts from sinking to the bottom.

        1. Serving it with a lemon sauce might be grand. I have used Orval beer in this recipe and it comes out great.