the darkest gingerbread cake

My eldest sister is pregnant. I mean, really pregnant. She could have her baby any day now. I'm very much looking forward to meeting my second niece or nephew (my sister and brother-in-law already have a 2-year old son) and will be spending Christmas with them in Idaho.

My sister has called me throughout her pregnancy with requests like "Mail me that eggplant you made" or "Send me that pie" which I have, unfortunately been unable to grant her. I can't wait to fill her up with all kinds of delicious treats once I actually arrive. This recipe is top on the list.

If you are looking for a festive, rich, dark, gingerbread cake: this is tops. I made this cake and it changed my life forever. That is not a facetious statement. It will be a tradition in my house from this year forward that we always have this cake at Christmastime. A few hours after coming out of the pan, the cake has this incredible caramelized crust. It hardens a bit, but it's just chewy, rich and decadent. The toothsome crust protects the intensely spiced and moist interior of the cake. 

The chewy caramel crust will only last for a few hours after baking- as it sits, the humidity from the inside of the cake will soften the exterior. Which makes it only very slightly less fabulous in my book, but know that if you make it in the morning and have it with dinner, you probably won't experience the crustal epiphany. 

I adapted this recipe only very slightly from smitten kitchen- and as Deb recommended, I was very careful when greasing and flouring my pan. The batter for this cake is very thin, so you want to be sure the butter you grease the pan with is really solid before pouring in the batter to bake. I recommend greasing and flouring the pan as the very first thing, then popping the pan in the freezer while you make the batter. This way, the butter will remain a solid boundary between the cake and the pan long enough to keep it from sticking.

I also added a rich buttery vanilla glaze because...that's just what needed to happen. Although, I do think it would be equally good without. It's up to you.

Here's how it's done:

First, grease and flour your pan VERY WELL. I'm talking, every single nook and cranny of your bundt pan, okay? Take some softened butter and rub it alllllll over your pan. This is not the time for Pam. Only the real stuff will work here. Then coat the butter with flour and put the pan in the freezer.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Now, in a medium saucepan, combine the stout and the molasses.

Bring the mix to a boil over medium heat, then turn off the heat and whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will foam considerably.

Set the molasses mixture aside to cool.

Whisk together your dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar.

Once the eggs and sugar are well combined, whisk in the oil.

Marvel at what the oil looks like while you're whisking them together.

One they're well combined, slowly pour in the molasses mixture, whisking constantly- if it is too hot, it will scramble your eggs, so go nice and slow while you whisk it in.

Once well combined, whisk in your flour mixture. The batter will be very thin.

Pull out your frozen pan and pour in the batter.

Bake about 50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean (or with very few crumbs). Cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out.

If you like, once the cake is completely cool, make the simple glaze and drizzle over the top- or just put a bit of powdered sugar in a sieve and dust the cake with that. 

Enjoy! Here's the recipe: