After all the Christmas dust settled and the wrapping paper was cleared away, I found that I was the owner of two lovely new cookbooks.
One of these cookbooks is The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2013. The people who work in America’s Test Kitchen are on a quest to correct recipes so they are the very best recipes possible. The recipes are broken down and examined, then tested and retested until the dish is perfected and any problems in the original are eliminated. They are virtually foolproof. Their cookbooks are very detailed and precise, and there are great tips and recommendations for kitchen tools and ingredients.
I’ve found great recipes in all of the other America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks I own, so I was ready to dig into this one and see how it compared. And I found this to be the best gingerbread I’ve ever tasted! Loads of ginger flavour from dried and fresh ginger. I did opt to substitute ginger beer for the Guinness in the ingredient list because when I’ve used it in gingerbread in the past, I haven’t liked it. Ginger beer worked better for me.
Thank you to Christmas gift givers and thank you to America’s Test Kitchens for solving the gingerbread problems I didn’t know I had.
Here’s what happened:
Got the eggs out and let them come to room temperature.
Got some ginger beer.
Mixed together the dry ingredients.
Grated some fresh ginger.
Here are the wet and dry ingredients.
Began getting the batter made… the first third of the wet is added to the dry ingredients.
This is the gingerbread batter, completed.
Baked gingerbread. All cooked, no sunken middle.
Classic Gingerbread Cake.
The original recipe can be found here (though you’ll have to register to see it):
Classic Gingerbread Cake
Makes one 8-inch square cake, serving 8 to 10
This cake packs potent yet well-balanced, fragrant, spicy heat. If you are particularly sensitive to spice, you can decrease the amount of dried ginger to 1 tablespoon. Guinness is the test kitchen’s favourite brand of stout. Avoid opening the oven door until the minimum baking time has elapsed. If your cake pan has thin walls, you might want to wrap it with pre-made cake strips or make your own from cheesecloth and foil. This extra insulation will help ensure that the edges of the cake don’t over bake. Serve the gingerbread plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
3/4 cup ginger beer
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Bring ginger beer to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper together in large bowl; set aside.
3. Transfer ginger beer mixture to large bowl. Whisk in eggs, oil, and grated ginger until combined. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.
4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake until top of cake is just firm to touch and toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack, about 1-1/2 hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.