The following recipe was contributed to our website blog page by Allo Gilinsky, aka Craft Beer Concierge, “an avid beer geek and aspiring Certified Cicerone who has fallen in love with the fascinating world of craft beer since age 25.”
The Holiday season ushers in all sorts of nostalgic sights, sounds, and smells. Holiday baking has become a tradition as you are able to fill your kitchen with the aromas of warming spices and holiday cookies. Whether made to share with loved ones or being put out for Santa, baked goods and the holidays go hand in hand. A favorite tradition of mine has become making a gingerbread cake infused with beer each year in the days leading up to Christmas. I love gingerbread with that zing of ginger mixing with all the other spices, and a nice icing or frosting to complement the richness. Infusing it with beer adds a depth of flavor and keeps the cake extra moist.
I’ve used anything from brown ales to Belgian dark beers to stouts in the recipe. Recently, I’ve settled on finding a gingerbread infused stout, as those have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Drinking local is important to me, so any time that beer can come locally, even better!
This year, I was excited to find out that Hopothecary Ales, a brewery and restaurant in Reading, MA released “Essence of Winter” imperial gingerbread stout. I went to the brewery to try it, and it was fantastic. An 8% beer that’s warming and rich, with spices you know and love from gingerbread playing nicely with the chocolate that comes from the malt. I knew this would be a perfect addition to this year’s recipe.
The recipe I use is adapted from “Eat The Love” Blog. The only change I’ve made is the beer used in the recipe, and the way I frosted the cake at the end. . I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do, and the final product pairs perfectly with another glass of stout, or whichever dark beer you may have on hand.
1 cup stout beer
3/4 cup molasses – not blackstrap
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger about 1-inch peeled gingerroot
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, making sure the long side of the pan has about 1-inch of overhanging paper.
2. Place the stout beer and molasses in a medium saucepan. Heat until the liquid starts to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Set aside.
3. Place the oil, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir together with a whisk until uniform in color.
4. Add the brown sugar stir until it is incorporated. Add the eggs and repeat.
5. Stir in the grated ginger, then pour in the molasses and stout liquid
6. Stir in the baking powder then the flour.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. Let the loaf cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes then remove it from the pan by using the overhanging parchment paper. Place the cake on a wire rack until it’s completely cool.
9. While the cake is cooling, making the cream cheese frosting by placing cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sift the powdered sugar over it. Don't skip sifting! It seems fussy, but powdered sugar clumps and once you have a clump in the frosting it is difficult to get out. Add the vanilla extract.
10. Mix until the powdered sugar is absorbed, and the frosting is creamy andsmooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel to keep it from drying out until use.
11. Once the cake has completely cooled to room temperature, frost the top of the cake with a butter knife or small offset spatula. Or, you can pipe the frosting onto the cake for a different design, like I did.
Other recipes contributed by Allo: