Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Gingerbread with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted January 11, 2011

On Saturday night, we had a little party.  It was to celebrate Randy’s birthday, the new year, and some fairly big news in our family (once again, I am not pregnant).  We have some friends who own a very cool art gallery.  Over dinner with them one evening, we threw out the idea of having a gathering there.  Being the lovely and accommodating people they are, not to mention the fact that they are both gorgeous and ridiculously talented, they thought it was a great idea.  We invited our nearest and dearest, I got some catering and organizational assistance from my good friend Julie, and a lovely time was had by all.  I hope.

The gallery has a kitchenette but does not have an oven or stove.  That means that all the food served has to be room temperature or cold.  Since we didn’t have seating, we wanted everything to be pick-up-and-eat food so that people did not have to worry about how to manage plate, fork, napkin, and drink.  Add to that, party time was 7pm.  People need to have dinner if it is 7pm.  5:30, appetizers are fine but by 7 folks are hungry.  I have to say I struggled with my menu.

But!  There is always dessert.  I toyed with the idea of doing a big cake, but decided in the end to keep the easy to pick up food theme going.  I made small versions of those amazing chocolate chip cookies (and was told by more than one person that it was the best they had ever tasted), mini lemon tartlets, and these mini gingerbread bundt cakes.  One of Randy’s favorite things in the world is ginger.  He loves ginger cookies and his favorite cake is gingerbread.  I have a few mini bundt cake pans and a terrific recipe for gingerbread, so it seemed like a no-brainer to make these little guys.

When I make the gingerbread in a standard bundt pan, I just dust the finished cake with powdered sugar.  For this party, I felt we needed something a little fancier.  I made a maple cream cheese frosting – super simple and a nice compliment to the ginger.  Each cake was garnished with some chopped candied ginger.  Now, this is some serious gingerbread.  There is a full cup of Guiness and a full cup of molasses in there, along with a very healthy amount of spices.  I would call it “grown-up” gingerbread if my six year old hadn’t inhaled a left over piece this evening.  Ahem.  If your eyes have glazed over at any point during this post, now would be the time to perk up.

Grease and flour your pan(s).  I know this.  I know the batter is thin and incredibly sticky and I know you can never trust a non-stick coating when it comes to bundt cakes.  I got lazy.  Everyone has their kitchen tasks that they hate and one of mine is greasing pans.  The idea of coating 24 mini-bundts with shortening and flour (my method of choice) was too much to contemplate so I crossed my fingers.  And guess what?  Prying completely stuck-on cake from 24 mini-bundts, washing each of them thoroughly to remove all traces of said cake, and remaking the entire recipe is much more time consuming than just greasing the pans to begin with.  Trust me.

Grammercy Tavern Gingerbread

Since most people probably do not have 24 mini bundt pans (it’s really just two pans with 12 slots each), I’m just giving the original recipe.  It says that the cake serves 8-10 but that can’t be right if I was able to get 24 individual servings (plus a mini-loaf pan) without even doubling the recipe.  And I apologize that the directions in this recipe are running together.  Not quite sure what is going on there.

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Powdered sugar or Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Generously butter a 10-inch (10 to 12 cup) bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from the heat.  Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl.  Whisk together eggs and sugars.  Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture.  Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles.  Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes.  Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes.  Turn out onto rack and cool completely.  Either serve dusted with powdered sugar or with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.

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