Gingerbread isn’t just for cookies anymore. This dark, damp cake-style gingerbread spiked with stout and moistened with pumpkin purée could not be more appropriate for Halloween festivities, don’t you think? Made with dark molasses and a double whammy of ginger, it’s more complex on account of the stout (if there are kids at the table, swap it for apple cider), makes your house smell divine as it bakes and is easy to eat out of hand, with or without cream cheese frosting. (Which, it must be said, can be spiked again with Guinness (or any stout) if you’re really a fan. Just swap the milk for it. You’ll make some friends.)
To make layers, bake the batter in two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray for about 30 minutes; for cupcakes, divide the batter among paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are springy to the touch. As with most gingerbreads, the flavor of this cake improves after a day or two, so feel free to make it ahead and store it well-wrapped until you need it. (It also freezes well.)
Baking it in a Bundt pan makes frosting easy – just lob the soft mixture on the top and swirl it around – if it’s too runny, it will drizzle down the crevices appealingly and look as if you meant it to be that way. If you want to skip the frosting, leave it plain or dust it with icing sugar.
Pumpkin Guinness Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup Guinness
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional):
1/4 cup butter, softened
half an 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. regular or light cream cheese
2-3 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan really well with nonstick spray.
In a medium saucepan with room for the mixture to foam up, stir together the stout and molasses over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Set aside until the foam subsides and the mixture cools slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil, pumpkin puree, ginger and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until combined. Add half the molasses mixture, then another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the molasses mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients, stirring after each addition just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until the top is springy to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a wire rack while still warm. Cool completely before spreading with cream cheese frosting.
To make frosting: In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla, beating until the mixture is creamy and well-blended. Add a little more sugar or milk if necessary to achieve a spreadable frosting.