Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Guinness Gingerbread

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.


Cristine May 17, 2009 at 7:54:00 AM EDT  

Welcome to SMS! Your gingerbread looks great!

Katiecakes May 17, 2009 at 10:12:00 AM EDT  

Welcome to SMS and thanks so much for baking along with me. Your gingerbread looks amazing!

I almost omitted the white pepper for the same reason as you, but I had a flick through the book and there's a few recipes that call for it. Plus, I found a tub of ground white pepper for 28p (around 18 cents I think). Bargain :D

Katie xox

Jennifer May 17, 2009 at 1:20:00 PM EDT  

Our little local grocery store carries a very limited selection of beer, so I ended up subbing rootbeer, which worked well.

Oh, and I wouldn't have bought a whole jar of white pepper for a 1/4teaspoon, either, luckily I did have some (I think from a mac and cheese recipe?) on hand.

Tracey May 17, 2009 at 5:00:00 PM EDT  

Welcome to the group :) Your gingerbread looks marvelous! I forgot to mention in my post, but my gingerbread was also done at 40 minutes and wasn't dry at all so I bet if you take it out earlier next time it'll be fantastic. Isn't that chocolate stout beer great? My husband is a huge fan.

Fit Chick May 17, 2009 at 5:39:00 PM EDT  

Welcome to the group! The chocolate stout sounds interesting; will try to find some around here. Your cake looks great.

MaryBeth May 17, 2009 at 7:50:00 PM EDT  

WOW.... This looks so wonderful that I can almost smell it. I bet it made the house smell wonderful!

Anonymous May 17, 2009 at 9:09:00 PM EDT  

Welcome to SMS! Your ginger bread looks great!

margot May 17, 2009 at 9:37:00 PM EDT  

Welcome to the group! Your gingbread looks fantastic! I didn't use white pepper or
Guinness either; this recipe seems to lend well to subsitutions.

Megan May 17, 2009 at 10:29:00 PM EDT  

Welcome to SMS - and what a great recipe to start with.

Although I did skip it, because it's too hot here to think about such a cool weather dessert.

Steph May 17, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM EDT  

Your gingerbread looks really moist!

Shandy May 18, 2009 at 12:01:00 AM EDT  

Thank you for the welcome and welcome to the group too! =)

I loved your idea of using the chocolate stout and I thought my gingerbread was the only one coming out of the oven slightly dry. Your gingerbread does look tasty in the picture.

Eliana May 18, 2009 at 1:22:00 AM EDT  

Welcome to the group. Your rendition of this recipe looks fantastic!

matty May 18, 2009 at 4:23:00 PM EDT  

This gingerbread was very good tbh! Would be awesome with some icing tbh!

Nancy/n.o.e May 18, 2009 at 8:06:00 PM EDT  

I thought the cake needed icing also. Glad you liked it despite the dryness. I'm always overbaking or underbaking things.

Pamela May 18, 2009 at 9:36:00 PM EDT  

I skipped the pepper, too. I don't know what kind of difference it would have made, but I liked it just fine as it was. Your pics are great!

The Bahens May 18, 2009 at 10:31:00 PM EDT  

I'm glad you enjoyed your first week! Welcome!

Sophie May 19, 2009 at 11:17:00 AM EDT  

Yum! Gingerbread is meant to be spicy, that's how I love to eat it -- like the texture on this one too :).

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