Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. Butter and flour your baking pans. Grease a small extra pan just in case you have extra batter.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking power, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Pour batter into greased baking pans. Do not pour up more than halfway or you might have quite a mess in your oven.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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

Instructions

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.