This recipe marks my first official entry into Sweet Melissa Sundays, a bake-along group that takes a page from Tuesdays With Dorie. Instead of baking our way through a Dorie Greenspan cookbook week-by-week, a group of bakers (currently standing at 38, and membership will be capped at 50 members) will tackle Melissa Murphy's Sweet Melissa Baking Book, filled with recipes from the Sweet Melissa Patisserie in Brooklyn, NY. It's an awesome little hard-covered collection with 100 recipes, so this is set to be a two year journey.
I'm kicking off my membership with Guinness Gingerbread, a spicy chocolate bread with a ton of molasses flavour and a nice richness from the stout.
I have to admit, for me, this title is a misnomer. I couldn't find a Guinness tall boy at my local liquor store (I didn't want to buy a six pack), so I snagged a big bottle of Young's Double Chocolate Stout, which I thought would complement the cocoa powder in this recipe.
I also skipped the white pepper the recipe calls for, because I'm way too cheap to buy a jar of white pepper for a recipe that only calls for 1/4 tsp. of it. I think it tasted just fine without it - the cinnamon and powdered ginger packed quite a punch all on their own. After whisking the ingredients together by hand (using the typical dry-wet-dry method of mixing cake batter), I poured the batter - fizzy from all of the beer - into a 9"x9" square pan and popped it into the oven.
The recommended baking time was 50-60 minutes. After 40 minutes it seemed done, but I let it cook for another 7 minutes -- I have issues paying attention to my kitchen instincts at times. I did find that the cake was a bit dry, and when I make this again, I'll definitely cook it for less time.
Still, the flavour of this gingerbread was fantastic, although I did wish I had a bit of whipped cream to offset the slight dryness, as Melissa suggested. My boyfriend also suggested that I added chocolate chips next time - he's a chocolate fiend. I might even make it with Dorie's icing recipe for her version of chocolate gingerbread. You can't go wrong with icing!
Thanks go to Katie of Katiecakes for choosing Guinness Gingerbread this week! I enjoyed it and think it deserves a place in my December holiday baking. Go visit her blog for the recipe.