By MELISSA CLARK (Photo Evan Sung for The New York Times)
There is gingerbread, a homey and rustic snack with tea. And then there is ginger cake, which is fancier and company-worthy and meant for dessert.
This rich, fragrant confection from The Marrow in the West Village is decidedly on the cake side of this gingery spectrum.
It’s impressive on many levels, the first of which is because it’s baked in a Bundt pan coated with Demerara (raw) sugar. This gives the cake a crystalline crunch that melts into its tender, moist crumb. Then there’s the complexity of flavor. The combination of grated fresh ginger root and powdered ginger, along with a dash of black pepper and cloves, imbues this cake with a particularly intense spiciness. And a good measure of stout and molasses contributes a pleasantly bitter edge.
Make sure to use an excellent stout here. Since you’ll only use part of a bottle, choose one you’d be happy to finish off while the cake is in the oven.
As with most oil-based baked goods, this keeps well without drying out, and can be made a day or two ahead. Store it wrapped in foil at room temperature. Then serve it with tangy whipped crème fraîche to offset the sugar coating on the cake. Gingerbread never had it so good.
This is a rich, fragrant ginger cake with a crunchy raw-sugar coating and moist crumb. The combination of grated fresh ginger root and powdered ginger, along with black pepper and cloves, gives it a particularly intense spice flavor. Make sure to use a good stout here. Since you’ll only use part of a bottle, choose one you’d be happy to finish off while the cake is in the oven. As with most gingerbread, this is a good keeping cake, and can be made a day or two ahead. Store it wrapped in foil at room temperature. Then serve it with cream whipped with a little crème fraiche or sour cream for tartness, which will offset all that crunchy sugar coating the cake.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 grams raw (Demerara) sugar (1/2 cup)
1 cup stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
340 grams all-purpose flour (2 cups)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
210 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed (1 cup)
200 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
3/4 cup safflower oil
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan well with the softened butter. Coat the entire pan with raw sugar so that it sticks to the butter. Turn the pan over to dump out any excess sugar.
2. Add the stout and molasses to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Carefully whisk in the baking soda and let cool to room temperature. Be careful as the stout mixture will bubble up.
3. Sift together the flour, ground spices, pepper and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the fresh ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed for five minutes.
5. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the oil. Mix for another 5 minutes. Slowly add the stout mixture and mix for another 5 minutes.
6. Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then flip upside down to release while still warm. Let cool completely.
YIELD: 12 servings
TOTAL TIME: 1 1/2 hours plus cooling