Gingerbread, with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, was one of Mike Cassel’s favorite deserts. I don’t know if I can eat a whole pan, but would love to try this. Wonder if PPG members would eat the leftovers…and it’s America’s Test Kitchen, so it’ll be really good…

Gingerbread cake, from America's Test Kitchen

Gingerbread cake, from America’s Test Kitchen

Makes one 8-inch square cake, serving 8 to 10

This cake packs potent yet well-balanced, fragrant, spicy heat. If you are particularly sensitive to spice, you can decrease the amount of dried ginger to 1 tablespoon. Guinness is the test kitchen’s favorite brand of stout. Avoid opening the oven door until the minimum baking time has elapsed. If your cake pan has thin walls, you might want to wrap it with premade cake strips or make your own from cheesecloth and foil. This extra insulation will help ensure that the edges of the cake don’t overbake. Serve the gingerbread plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days.

  • 3/4cup stout (see note)
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3cup mild molasses
  • 3/4cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
  • 2tablespoons ground ginger (see note)
  • 1/2teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 2large eggs
  • 1/3cup vegetable oil
  • 1tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square baking pan.
  • 2. Bring stout to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously). When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper together in large bowl; set aside.
  • 3. Transfer stout mixture to large bowl. Whisk in eggs, oil, and grated ginger until combined. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.
  • 4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake until top of cake is just firm to touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack, about 11/2 hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.


    Most cake batters require a gentle touch to avoid developing glutens in the flour and, thus, a tough crumb. But vigorous stirring actually gave our super-wet gingerbread batter the structure necessary to keep the center from collapsing.


      Dark stout contributes deep, caramelized notes.

      Clean, neutral-tasting oil brings key flavors into clear relief.
      Fresh ginger kicks up the fiery, pungent notes of dried ginger.
      Black pepper and cinnamon complement—without overwhelming—the ginger.


      Cake strips promote more even baking, preventing doming and cracking as well as keeping the edges of a cake from overbaking. This extra insulation is particularly important if the walls of your pan are thin.

    • 1. SOAK STRIP Soak 2 by 32-inch piece of cheesecloth or folded newspaper with water. Gently wring out excess water.
    • 2. FOLD IN FOIL Place damp strip at bottom of 36-inch length of foil. Repeatedly fold foil over dampened strip to cover to make 2 by 36-inch strip.
    • 3. WRAP AROUND PAN Mold insulating strip around pan and pinch ends together to seal.
    • 4. SECURE To ensure insulating strip stays in place around pan, secure with twine.

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