- 1 2/3 cups blackstrap molasses (or lighter molasses, like Grandma’s)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 cups beer, medium-bodied (I like using Racer 5 IPA)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla bean extract
- Pour molasses, maple syrup, and beer into a large pot. Whisk together. Bring to just under the boil, then take off the heat. Add the baking soda. Careful. It will rise up like a volcano. Set aside to cool completely.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Butter and flour your baking pans. Grease a small extra pan just in case you have extra batter.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking power, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk egg mixture in with the cooled molasses/beer mixture. Pour liquid mixture over the sifted dry ingredients. Whisk together until there are no large clumps of flour. Small clumps are fine.
- Place your chinois or large fine strainer over a bowl or bain marie. Using a pestle or a wooden spoon, help the batter pass through the strainer into the container below. Stir the grated ginger in with the strained batter.
- Pour batter into greased baking pans. Do not pour up more than halfway or you might have quite a mess in your oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325° F. Bake for another 20 minutes. If your pans are different sizes, give the smaller one a jiggle. If several inches in the center move like a water bed, it needs more time. If only the very center is loose, take it out of the oven. Another way to check is with a toothpick or a paring knife. You want the center to be a bit wet and just moving towards a crumb. Take them out earlier than you think for optimum moistness. (Sometimes this take a little trial and error. But remember, you can alway put them back into the oven.)
- Cool cakes completely in the pans. Top with as much cream cheese icing as you dare. If your cake is tall enough, you can cut it in half for a middle layer of cream cheese icing. Serve right away. But I have been amazed at how moist this cake will be even after a few days.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 16 ounces whipped cream cheese (preferably room temperature)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a standing mixer and beat the heck out of them for 2 minutes with the paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides. Taste. Add more vanilla or salt if you wish. If it’s still a little lumpy, beat for 30 more seconds. This will keep in the fridge for about a week.