Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gramercy Tavern's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake

Heading into my wife’s birthday, I decided to try my hand at a dessert as part of a weekend-long culinary extravaganza. (Well, an extravaganza in terms of effort for me!) Many chefs will tell you that desserts are a world unto themselves: different techniques, ingredients that act (react?) differently. It’s no accident that many chefs specialise in only making desserts…or not making them at all.

A while back, a friend had mentioned the Gramercy Tavern's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake. With Guinness Stout, molasses, ginger and other spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom), it’s got a taste profile that I think we’d like. The recipe didn’t appear overly complicated.

The first step is “In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout (1 cup) and molasses (1 cup) and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. The mixture will foam up energetically. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.” Sounds easy. OK, a large saucepan. How large is large? A quart-sized pot looks about right. Into the pan go the stout and molasses.  As the mixture heats up, I turn my attention to the next step, preparing and mixing the dry ingredients. Ah, a cardinal sin of cooking: turning your back on a boiling pot. I suddenly hear this hissing sound coming from the stove. Foam up energetically? Uh huh. The molasses and Guinness mixture are roiling out of the pot and all over the stove. We have a ceramic-top stove, so it’s like watching the lava from Vesuvius overrun Pompeii. Oh, the humanity! It was a very sticky, black, awful mess to clean up, especially the stuff that had burnt onto the stovetop.

Fortunately, my wife was out at that point, so I was able to clean up everything before she came home. Otherwise, I probably would have had my kitchen privileges revoked. (Her only comment when she got home: “Are you trying to make caramel?”)

I had bought a six-pack of Guinness. So, after helping myself to a bottle of Guinness for medicinal purposes, I re-started. This time, I stared down the pot with the molasses and the Guinness Stout. Really, the mixture goes from placid to a frenzy in a couple of seconds. Fun to watch, if you can keep it in the pot, which I did the second time. The rest of the way was uneventful. How was it? Dark, heavy, moist, aromatic, and spicy…delicious. I served it with unsweetened whipped cream, but icing sugar sprinkled on top would work as well.

We skipped having a dessert wine, but you have a few options here. Wine should be sweeter than the dessert. This dessert’s not overly sweet, so you don’t have to go all the way to an Icewine; an Ontario late harvest wine should work just fine. I’d also try a 10-year-old Tawny Port, especially if you can match the raisin and spice profile.

Subscribing to this blog through RSS or email is easy! Just click on the subscribe link to the left ←

No comments:

Post a Comment