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Which Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread/cake recipe?

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.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

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?

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  1. 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.

    1. 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. 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

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

          1. re: flzhang

            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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                  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.

                  Thanks.

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    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

                      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

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

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          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

                            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

                              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. 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. Hi,
                          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

                            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. 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. 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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              Please share the release recipe!

                                              1. re: herby

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7587...
                                                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

                                                  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

                                                    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.

                                      2. re: roxlet

                                        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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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. 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

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

                                        1. re: luvcubs

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

                                          1. re: luvcubs

                                            (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

                                              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

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

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

                                                1. re: luvcubs

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

                                              2. re: luvcubs

                                                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

                                                  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

                                                  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

                                                    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

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

                                                  2. re: luvcubs

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

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