HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Which Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread/cake recipe?

flzhang Sep 24, 2011 11:52 PM

There have been a lot of posts on this forum about the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread, but there are two recipes on epicurious with significantly different quantities of sugar.


Also, the first recipe calls for a 6-cup bundt pan while the second one uses a 10-12 cup, even though both recipes basically use the same amount of ingredients. What is the correct measurement?

  1. k
    Klunco Jan 8, 2014 12:01 PM

    One substitution that we've really enjoyed is swapping the stout for strong, black coffee. Yum yum yum!

    1. l
      luvcubs Jan 6, 2014 02:44 PM

      Has anyone made this with Guinness Extra Stout? The store had Extra Stout and Draught. I wasn't sure of the difference, so I bought Extra Stout. Making this tomorrow.

      12 Replies
      1. re: luvcubs
        paulj Jan 6, 2014 04:48 PM

        Most any beer will work, unless it is too hoppy.

        1. re: luvcubs
          meatn3 Jan 6, 2014 06:00 PM

          It should be fine. I tend to use a chocolate stout since I frequently have that on hand.

          1. re: luvcubs
            luvcubs Jan 8, 2014 12:03 PM

            (Thanks for the advice, PaulJ and Meatn3)

            I tried it with the Extra Stout and it seemed to work. However, the cake just didn't do it for me, and I love ginger. It needed *something*. I may try it again (I still have stout--even after having to do the molasses and stout twice because the first time I put 1 1/2 T of baking soda...). And the cardamom was $13. for 1/8 t. Shesh. But I think I might try it with candied ginger instead of raw ginger. I really like the idea of seeing the bits of ginger throughout the cake.

            1. re: luvcubs
              Caitlin McGrath Jan 8, 2014 12:16 PM

              One thing to know about this cake is that it really improves with age. It's better two or three days later than it is freshly baked, and it easily stays moist for a week if kept well wrapped.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                luvcubs Jan 8, 2014 01:39 PM

                Everyone liked it, going to try more after dinner tonight.

                ETA: also served it with whipped cream, just lightly sweetened.

                1. re: luvcubs
                  JudiAU Jan 8, 2014 09:25 PM

                  Yes, but then you miss the delicious wonder of the freshly baked crust. I have seriously considered lopping off the top.

              2. re: luvcubs
                biondanonima Jan 8, 2014 12:19 PM

                If you have a store near you that caters to an Indian population, you should be able to buy cardamom there for CHEAP. Like, $1 for a couple of ounces of pods cheap. It's definitely best if you grind it fresh anyway. I agree with you that the cake needed a little something, but I blamed it on my mother's none-too-fresh spices.

                1. re: biondanonima
                  luvcubs Jan 8, 2014 01:42 PM

                  I will try that (thanks), because we do have an Indian store. It was tough to buy....

                  and LOL on 'none-too-fresh spices'. I do that too. I leave spices until I use them up. (I did have fresh spices for this, though). Best buy ever: whole nutmeg. Love using that.

                2. re: luvcubs
                  paulj Jan 8, 2014 12:45 PM

                  Was the problem with the lack of ginger taste? Sometimes recipes use all 3 types (fresh, candied and dried) to get a strong enough ginger taste.

                  1. re: paulj
                    luvcubs Jan 8, 2014 01:43 PM

                    I think that may have been part of my disappointment. Because I love ginger, and this didn't have the taste I was looking for.

                    1. re: luvcubs
                      Caitlin McGrath Jan 8, 2014 02:01 PM

                      You could always try something like David Lebovitz's fresh ginger cake: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  2. re: luvcubs
                    paulj Jan 8, 2014 07:53 PM

                    With the others spices, I would not consider the cardamon to be essential. The ginger the essential one.

                3. j
                  JudiAU Jan 5, 2014 09:22 PM

                  You want the one that is from the cookbook, with 1/2 cup born sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar. I have a 9 inch which is 3 inch deep and that is perfect. 60 minutes as stated has always been perfect.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: JudiAU
                    biondanonima Jan 6, 2014 08:34 AM

                    Yes, I agree - I made it this Christmas, using the one with just 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 cup white sugar (the top link in the OP) and it was perfectly balanced - I think the other iteration would have been way too sweet. I used a 9x13 pan, which worked well and took about 45 minutes.

                    1. re: biondanonima
                      roxlet Jan 6, 2014 08:51 AM

                      That's a good idea -- to use a 9X13 pan. The last time I made it, I couldn't get the bloody thing out of the pan even though the pan was a new non-stick one, and I used the Wilton release on the pan. It was so frustrating!

                      1. re: roxlet
                        biondanonima Jan 6, 2014 09:00 AM

                        Yeah, I lined the 9x13 with a parchment sling but still had a little sticking on the ends where there wasn't any paper - I can see how getting it out of a bundt pan (especially one with a cool design) would be impossible. I ended up trimming the edges and cutting the 9x13 into two 9x6.5" halves to create a cute little rectangular layer cake, sandwiched and iced with salted caramel Italian buttercream. I piped a gingerbread man on top for decoration, much to my two-year-old niece's delight. She loved the actual cake, too!

                        1. re: biondanonima
                          roxlet Jan 6, 2014 09:42 AM

                          Yes, I had to trash the cake, it was that bad! But, strangely, I had made it before with absolutely no problem. Next time I will definitely go the 9X12 sheet pan with a parchment sling route. I might even do the sling in both directions! Nothing I hate more than trashing a cake.

                          1. re: roxlet
                            Caitlin McGrath Jan 6, 2014 10:40 AM

                            Next time - well, I hope there won't be a next time! - keep the bits of cake; it makes a great base for a trifle.

                        2. re: roxlet
                          walker Jan 6, 2014 09:41 AM

                          I think you just need to use more Wilton cake release. Yes, I'd never try it with a fancy bundt pan.

                          1. re: walker
                            paulj Jan 6, 2014 10:33 AM

                            I'm not familiar with Wilton release, but ATK found that Baking Pam worked well, even in bundt pans.

                            For some reason I'm happy using that in my loaf pans, but in a beatenup 8x8 pan I tend to use parchment paper.

                            1. re: paulj
                              Caitlin McGrath Jan 6, 2014 10:43 AM

                              I've used baking sprays for years, and still do for straight-sided pans (often parchment, to), but the Wilton cake release, which I learned of from roxlet, is much more reliable for bundt pans, especially those with lots of detail and/or deep troughs.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                meatn3 Jan 6, 2014 10:47 AM

                                Someone had shared a recipe for a copycat of Wiltons release which works great. I've used it with this recipe in a bundt and had minimal release issues.

                                I think the recipe for the release was in a bundt thread I started 3 - 4 years ago. That thread provided some terrific recipes too!

                                1. re: meatn3
                                  herby Jan 6, 2014 10:57 AM

                                  Please share the release recipe!

                                  1. re: herby
                                    meatn3 Jan 6, 2014 11:02 AM

                                    Above links to the post in my Bundt thread - lots of good stuff there.

                                    Recipe provided by Roxlet:

                                    "Easy, readily available, stays spreadable even stored in the fridge.
                                    The "recipe": equal parts (1) solid shortening, such as Crisco, (2) vegetable oil, and (3) flour. Whisk until smooth"

                                    I've found it lasts close to a year in the fridge!

                                    1. re: meatn3
                                      herby Jan 7, 2014 01:07 PM

                                      Thank you, Meatn3! I stared the thread and will check it out - lots of posts there! Do you use this 'release' on everything you bake in forms?

                                      1. re: herby
                                        meatn3 Jan 7, 2014 04:56 PM

                                        I do.

                                        I had also read some where to let the cake cool for a specific amount of time (perhaps 10 min. iirc) and then unmold it. The few times I forgot it did not unmold as trouble free.

                                        1. re: meatn3
                                          herby Jan 9, 2014 06:10 AM

                                          Thanks again :)

                          2. re: roxlet
                            luvcubs Jan 8, 2014 11:59 AM

                            I used a Bundt pan and buttered and floured it. And then sprayed Pam For Baking. Overkill? Maybe, but it didn't stick.

                          3. re: biondanonima
                            JudiAU Jan 6, 2014 10:09 PM

                            I've never been able to get it out of a bundt, which is annoying since I bought a fancy one for this. Also never tried Wilton release.

                            But no problem with oil/flour/parchmont/oil in a circular 9X3

                            1. re: JudiAU
                              walker Jan 7, 2014 10:10 AM

                              If you have trouble finding the Wilton Cake Release, you can order it from Amazon; I used it for a pound cake in the very swirly bundt pan and it came out perfectly. (Best to put it on a sheet pan because it tries to overflow some .. the pound cake, that is...)

                              1. re: walker
                                roxlet Jan 7, 2014 10:18 AM

                                That was why I was so surprised when I couldn't get this cake out of a bundt pan using the Wilton Cake release, since it had worked perfectly the first time. This is a very sticky dough. Very unusual.

                        3. j
                          JudiAU Nov 5, 2012 11:09 AM

                          I use this version which is published in the book: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Although I bake it from the book which I own.

                          This is a spectacular, deeply flavored cake. I did buy a 6 cup fancy bundt for it but I generally don't use it anymore because I always had trouble releasing it and can't be bothered. It was a super fancy shape though and I think a standard bundt design would be any easier release. I've actually come to appreciate the "boring" look of a loaf pan when the flavor is so spectacular.

                          1. t
                            tidecreek Nov 5, 2012 09:21 AM

                            Has anyone ever tried making these in Cupcake form, just curious since I had a hard time getting it out of the pan too but LOVE the Gingerbread probably the best Gingerbread I've ever had, I think I might try it just to see.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tidecreek
                              paulj Nov 5, 2012 09:52 AM

                              How about baking it as muffins? :) A year ago I thought it would work fine as muffins, but that was just an informed opinion, not a result of experience.

                            2. paulj Sep 25, 2011 03:39 PM

                              As long as it does not over fill the pan (I believe 2/3 full is about right), the exact size of the pan does not matter - provided, of course you know how to test for doneness. If you use a pan with more surface area, the cake will be thinner. It also does not need to be a bunt pan. One recipe says you can use a 9x5 loaf pan. With 2 cups of flour this sounds about right. I regularly split a 3c recipe between 2 pans, and get loafs that are on the thin side.

                              Also sugar is largely a matter of taste. This is a 'muffin method' cake (it does not cream butter with sugar), so the amount of sugar is more a matter of taste than structure. I think the one with 2c of sugar would be too sweet for my taste.

                              The one in the 10c pan bakes a bit faster (50 v 60), consistent with it being a bit thinner.

                              Note that one recipe calls for 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, the other 1/2 teaspoon. The 1/2 teaspoon is more consistent with other baking recipes.

                              Other than the use of beer, this recipe is not all that different from quick bread and muffin recipes. It could even be baked as muffins/cupcakes.

                              1. roxlet Sep 25, 2011 06:09 AM

                                The one in The Last Course is the one that I have made. It calls for a 6 cup bundt pan, so it must be the same as the first one you link to. It is absolutely delicious with a very serious, adult taste. I'm not sure children would like this, but my 15 year-old did. I do have one important piece of advice: many CHers who have made this have complained about the difficulty of removing it from the pan. I used the Wilton Cake Release, and had no problems whatsoever. If you don't buy it, make sure that you obsessively butter and flour your pan otherwise it will not release properly...

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: roxlet
                                  flzhang Sep 25, 2011 06:30 AM

                                  So did you actually use a 6 cup bundt pan when you made the cake? Or a regular 10 cup one?

                                  1. re: flzhang
                                    roxlet Sep 25, 2011 06:41 AM

                                    I don't know how many cups it was, but it was the smallest one I had, and smaller than my 10 cup one.

                                  2. re: roxlet
                                    rainey Sep 25, 2011 10:14 AM

                                    My 10-cup mold is that W-S gold finish. I certainly had to use a flour + oil baking spray but it released easily.

                                    I *hate* paying W-S's grossly inflated prices but they had an exclusive on a really great shape and that awesome finish.

                                    1. re: roxlet
                                      Caitlin McGrath Sep 25, 2011 11:00 AM

                                      That's my favorite, the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake, which I've made multiple times. It works well in a 9-inch springform pan, too. Its sweetness and spice are perfect to my taste. The other has twice as much sugar and no fresh ginger.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                        bushwickgirl Sep 25, 2011 02:21 PM

                                        Thanks for that pan info, Caitlin, I prefer a round pan for gingerbread, rather than a loaf pan, and don't have a 6 cup bundt.

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl
                                          roxlet Sep 25, 2011 02:47 PM

                                          If you have the book, you can see that she has baked this cake in a really interesting shaped pan that is not exactly a bundt. I have been all over the internet looking for a pan like that, but alas, no luck!

                                          1. re: roxlet
                                            bushwickgirl Sep 25, 2011 03:27 PM

                                            Alas, I do not have the book. Can't seem to find a reasonably priced copy, either new or used. Sadly I didn't buy it when it was first published, and now it's very sought after.

                                            Can you describe the pan?

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl
                                              roxlet Sep 25, 2011 03:32 PM

                                              It's taller than a bundt, but is very decorative with lots of indents and design. This is the result of the cake, not the pan...

                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                          beetlebug Jan 9, 2013 09:53 AM

                                          I'm making this cake later today for a dinner party tomorrow evening. 2 quick questions:

                                          1. In the 9 inch springform, was the timing similar to a loaf pan (@ 1 hr).

                                          2. Would chocolate chips added to the batter be overkill? I love the ginger/chocolate combo but don't know if it's too much for this recipe.


                                          1. re: beetlebug
                                            meatn3 Jan 9, 2013 10:00 AM

                                            I would skip the chocolate. The beauty of this recipe is that the flavor is quite sophisticated and nuanced. I adore ginger - this cake takes it to a whole new level. Chocolate would simply detract imo.

                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                              Caitlin McGrath Jan 9, 2013 11:18 AM

                                              As I recall, the timing in the cake pan was similar to what the recipe states, but I'd definitely start checking early. Good idea to make it today, as it gets better on sitting. (Not that it ever usually lasts so long, but incidentally, this morning I finished a bit of the one I baked exactly two weeks ago. It had been sitting on the counter in a ziplock bag, and was still perfectly moist and delicious.)

                                              And I concur with meatn3 on skipping the chocolate chips. I'm also crazy about the chocolate/ginger combo, but it's not right for this cake, IMO.

                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                meatn3 Jan 9, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                I have made this with chocolate stout when it was on hand. It worked well.

                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                  walker Jan 9, 2013 01:12 PM

                                                  I've made it 3 times now (recent) and I did it in a 9 inch springform with foil wrapped around the bottom, placed on a 1/2 sheet pan. Takes my oven about 46 minutes.

                                                  I use Wilton Cake Release, works like a dream. Also I use a parchment round.

                                                  Makes the whole house smell great. Freshly whipped cream, slight amount of sugar, finishes it off (spooned on to slices when served).

                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                    beetlebug Jan 9, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                    Great. Thanks for the info everyone. I'm going to omit the cc and check around the 45 minute mark. I did read in earlier threads that it improves with age so I actually planned ahead this time. Report sometime next week.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                      beetlebug Jan 9, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                      I just pulled it out of the oven and the whole house smells so delicious. It took about 45 minutes in the 9 inch springform pan. I was 2T short of molasses but I think it will be fine.

                                              2. lilgi Sep 25, 2011 12:39 AM

                                                Seems like another version of the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread was submitted by the author prior to the release of her book "The Last Course" in 2001. I have yet to try her gingerbread cake, but the recipe in your first link http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... the one posted in her book. I can't vouch for which one tastes better, I imagine that the one with significantly more sugar must be easier to release using a standard 10-12 cup bundt pan and no clue as to whether the batter fits in a 9x5-inch oaf pan since this size is not indicated, but the recipe in her book does. I'll be trying the one with less sugar as I have the smaller 6-cup bundt pan and it's also interchangeable with the loaf pan.

                                                1. r
                                                  rainey Sep 25, 2011 12:19 AM

                                                  The recipe I've got uses a cup each of granulated and brown sugar plus a cup of molasses and bakes perfectly in a 10-cup bundt pan. You could probably get by cutting the total sugar by 1/3 (1/2 cup each of granulated and brown sugar + 1 cup of molasses) if you wanted to or planned to serve it with ice cream.

                                                  Do you think that, since 10-cup mold are less common, that different cooks have simply made a choice between the more typical 12- and 6-cup sizes? If you don't have a 10-cup pan, the 12-cup is probably a safer bet.

                                                  Show Hidden Posts