Dark, imposing, sultry, spicy.
This is the dark ’n’ stormy of cakes. The George Clooney of cakes.
And served with orange + clove ice-cream, it’s a perpetual gateway to Christmas.
(Quite seriously, you shouldn’t have one without the other.*)
1 bundt tin
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup demerara sugar
For the cake
1 cup porter (or stout**)
1 cup molasses
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger (a medium-sized “hand”)
3 eggs (room temp.)
1 tsp vanilla extract***
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup light-flavoured oil (I used rice bran)
- Preheat the oven to 176º C.
- Butter the inside of a bundt tin, then sprinkle the demerara sugar into the tin, aiming for the “walls” — you want an even layer of sugar stuck to an even layer of butter, on all surfaces.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the beer and molasses, stirring well until just simmering, then whisk in the baking soda. (It will froth up quite a bit, then subside.) Set aside to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, spices and salt. Set aside.
- Grate the fresh ginger into the bowl of your stand mixer (with the whisk attachment****) then add the eggs, vanilla (or rum), sugars and oil, and whisk/mix for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in the porter/molasses mixture, and mix for another 5 minutes.
- Still mixing, add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepped bundt tin, and bake for 55–60 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean. (The exposed surface will get quite dark and maybe cracked, but that’s fine — the batter is already dark so it’s probably not burning, and you’ll never see this side of the cake once you’ve finished baking anyway.)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the tin, right side up (i.e. don’t invert it yet).
- Once the cake has cooled a little, place a plate on the top and flip it over — the butter + sugar layer not only forms an incredibly delicious crust, it also means the cake will slip straight out of the tin, no awkward “jimmying with a butter knife” required. It’s SO satisfying.
- Allow to cool completely… and serve with orange + clove ice-cream. (If I say it often enough you’ll do it, right?)
This cake is, among other things, sturdy. So you can make it at home and carry it to a party pretty easily. Or make it a few days in advance and just keep it in an airtight container until you’re ready to bring out the big guns.
*But if you must, double cream mixed with a little brandy and ground clove might suffice.
**Or just the darkest, chocolate-iest, spiciest beer you can get your hands on.
***Or spiced rum. Why not?
****Whisk attachment is important. I tried with the regular paddle and… it’s messy. The mixture is quite wet, so the whisk = less disturbance, and also incorporates the flour more evenly.