With so many flavorful ingredients, this bold and intense spice cake really does justice to old-fashioned gingerbread. With no mixer required, it’s a simple and delicious recipe that’s perfect for fall!
Since I don’t normally keep stout around I had to go to the grocery store and buy some to make this recipe. Although I looked like a wreck after a long day at the park with my kids, I really wanted to give this cake a try. After picking out some Guinness, I passed by the snack isle, saw my favorite chips, and decided to grab some of those as well before heading to the checkout line. I was more than ready to head home when this concerned gentleman behind me asked, “Is everything alright?” It was then that I realized what I must have looked like to him: a tired, disheveled woman checking out with nothing but a single beer and a bag of chips, the perfect recipe for a (pity) party of one.
It really feels like my life stories revolve around the grocery store lately, but I simply can’t pass up making amazing sweets just because I don’t have everything on hand – and amazing this cake is! This gingerbread cake is super moist, sticky, and spicy with a complex and intense flavor. It’s definitely a “mature” cake, for adults only. It keeps well, staying moist for 4 days, and actually tastes better the day after it’s made.
The recipe is an adaption of a few wonderful sources that use similar ingredients: The Last Course, Baking Illustrated, and Miette books.
Let’s talk ingredients
- Stout Beer: Stout helps deepen the flavor of the cake. You could use water or coffee instead if you prefer, but neither will provide the same complexity as stout does. If you’re concerned about alcohol in the recipe, the beer is boiled to greatly reduce the amount of alcohol.
- Vegetable or Canola Oil: Oil adds moisture, and with all the flavors already in this cake, using butter isn’t necessary for taste. If anything, the flavorless oil lets the ginger shine.
- Spices: The traditional spices in gingerbread cake are cinnamon and cloves. I feel that a lot of cinnamon overpowers the ginger, though, so this recipe cuts down on it. Nutmeg and cardamom are also great spices that go well in this cake, so if you like a spicy cake with a rich flavor, go ahead and add them. Some recipes also use a pinch of ground pepper for extra heat.
- Ginger: You can use purely ground ginger if you prefer, but I highly recommend adding fresh ginger, as well. Ground ginger adds pepperiness to the cake, while fresh root gives it an extra zing.
What kind of stout should I use?
You can use any kind of stout beer for this recipe. I used Guinness because it’s readily available and easy to find, but any stout will do!
Tips for making perfect gingerbread cake
- This cake is really sticky, so depending on the pan you choose, generously butter it or line it with parchment paper. If using a loaf or square pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment paper for an easy lift after baking. You can do the same thing with a round pan, or just line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the sides well. Then, while the cake is still quite hot, run a knife or offset spatula around the edges.
- To prevent your cake from become dense, don’t overmix the batter. Combine the ingredients just until they are incorporated, and stop there.
- Try not to open the oven door before the minimum baking time, as it may cause the cake to sink in the center.
- This cake is wonderful served plain or with whipped cream. If you want to top the cake with whipped cream, you’ll need to keep it in the fridge and you won’t be able to freeze it. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving. However, you can freeze the cake on its own and frost it’s defrosted and you’re ready to eat it.
More delicious fall cake recipes
- Spice Cake: Moist and tender spice cake is topped with velvety-smooth cream cheese frosting.
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes: A perfect end to any meal, these carrot cake cupcakes are rich and full of flavor.
- Baked Apple Cider Donuts: Baked apple cider donuts are dipped in melted butter and coated in a cinnamon-sugar spice mix for the perfect treat.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake: Just like pumpkin pie in cheesecake form, this recipe is incredibly creamy, smooth, and bursting with pumpkin flavor.
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies: These cookies are so soft and almost cake-like. They’re full of autumn spices and drizzled with an amazing maple glaze.
With so many flavorful ingredients, this dark, bold, and intensely spiced cake really does justice to old-fashioned gingerbread.
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) stout , such as Guinness
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup (186g) molasses
- 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (70g) dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- A pinch of cardamom (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (160 ml) vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon grated , peeled fresh gingerroot
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or an 8-inch square or round pan, or line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (for an easy release as the cake is sticky).
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the stout to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully add baking soda (the mixture will foam). When the foaming subsides, add molasses, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and mix to combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.
Add eggs, oil, and grated ginger to the stout mixture and whisk until combined. Add stout mixture to flour mixture in 3 additions, whisking between each addition, until smooth.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean – 35-45 minutes for an 8-inch pan, or 45-55 minutes for a loaf pan. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done or the center may fall slightly. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.
Store cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Cake can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge.
dinaJuly 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm
it looks delicious!
ShiranJuly 11, 2014 at 9:53 am
Thanks Dina 🙂
Sugar and CinnamonJuly 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm
The crumb of this cake actually looks perfect! I love the combination of flavours you’ve used 🙂
ShiranJuly 11, 2014 at 9:53 am
It is a perfect gingerbread cake, and I’ve tried so many! 🙂
Samantha @ Carpe CibusJuly 11, 2014 at 11:56 pm
I hadn’t thought of using stout with such aggresive spices, but your cake looks absolutely amazing!
ShiranJuly 12, 2014 at 9:43 am
Thanks Samantha! The beer is the perfect addition for this cake!
Carrie PaciniJuly 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm
Love gingerbread and can’t wait to try this.
LenaJuly 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm
Oh my goodness this looks so good!!
ShiranJuly 18, 2014 at 7:42 am
Thanks Lena 🙂
BobbiAugust 25, 2014 at 12:50 am
I made this cake today. I followed your recipe 100% (minus the whipped topping). IT IS AWESOME! It smells wonderful and tastes even better! Thanks for sharing!!!!
ShiranAugust 25, 2014 at 8:36 am
That’s wonderful to hear! Thank you for sharing Bobbi 🙂
SidmarDecember 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm
precise information over frost the recipe the Stout Gingerbread Cake.Very obrigade.Abrace Sidmar
ShiranDecember 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm
Hi Sidmar! Can you please elaborate what you mean, so I could help? Thank you!
SidmarDecember 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm
Over icing the stout gingerbread cake, a recipe the icing.Very obrigade.Abrace Sidmar.
Sidmar AraújoDecember 24, 2014 at 6:10 am
good morning, I am precise information over icing ou frosting recipe Stout Gingerbread Cake, either or whether to testate this recipe.Very obrigade.Abrace Sidmar.
ShiranDecember 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Hi Sidmar, the frosting you see in the photos is whipped cream. To make whipped cream: Using a mixer, whisk 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream with one tablespoon powdered sugar or granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Hope this helps!
AdrianApril 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm
I recently made this cake and it came out really well, the crumb was just perfect. However it wasn’t gingery enough for me, I’m thinking of doubling the fresh ginger root and I also use a local brewery stout instead of Guiness.
ShiranApril 8, 2015 at 4:34 am
Hi Adrian! I also like a strong ginger flavor and sometimes add more of it. it’s just a matter of taste. I’m glad you like the cake though! 🙂
JacklynNovember 4, 2018 at 5:50 am
I loved making this cake. It was like a chemistry experiment watching the ingredients transform with the extended mixing. It was also very zen. The patience was well worth the time and effort. I used my own personal gluten-free flour mixture which is a 3 to 1 ratio of chickpea flour to tapioca flour. It was very moist and had a delicious flavor. Making this recipe has influenced how I make other baked goods now.
TinaJanuary 6, 2020 at 2:42 pm
I have made a guiness cake before with cocoa and it always goes down well but I think I will have to give this a try .
ElizaDecember 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm
What would be a good substitute for molasses?
CJMarch 14, 2023 at 10:46 pm
Can I add about 1/4 cup minced candied ginger to up the ginger profile, or would the pieces sink to the bottom during baking?
ShiranMarch 16, 2023 at 6:55 am
You definitely can 🙂
CJMarch 22, 2023 at 1:32 am
Made this moist and spicy cake with its tender crumb, and loved it. DO NOT add candied ginger. I did, and despite finely mincing it, the candied ginger sank to the bottom of the cake because the thin batter can’t support it. The taste was nice and gingery, but unfortunately the bottom got a bit gummy because of the sunken candied ginger. Lesson learned. Cake written as is, is excellent. (I added 3/4 teaspoon to light brown sugar because I didn’t have dark brown, and that worked out great.)
Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.April 2, 2023 at 3:45 pm
Thank you, CJ!