Gingerbread Beer Cake

It’s the last day of the year.  So instead of reminiscing about what’s past, being intimidated by what’s to come, I'm indulging in all that’s present.  Family.  Food.  And Gingerbread Beer Cake.

After a whirlwind 6 weeks of new and exciting projects, a couple of house guests, farewells, a flight and family packed Christmas later, 2016 is coming to a close and I am no less exhausted.  I’ve also not actually stepped outside the kitchen for more than about an hour since being ‘on holiday’.  Guess it really is a bit of an obsession…

All this to say, over the past week, I’d unintentionally, though very much necessarily, taken a tiny step back from blog/social/work-related thoughts.  I hope you did too.  But only until I happened across a new recipe, couple of straggling beers and my dad’s new Nikon.

I had fully intended to follow said recipe down to a T, by the way.  Until it came to baking – and the morning of our drinks party where plans b and c are already out the window for lack of time – when I realized I didn’t actually have half the ingredients.  Thank god for fridge finds, pantry cleans, improv.-ed and bestover substitutions.

Inspired by my Granny’s Magenbrot, Nigella’s Guiness Gingerbread on Food Network, and the bottles of leftover beer from last year’s annual drinks party… (we are not a family of beer drinkers, in case that wasn't obvious... though I have quickly learnt that I rather like what it does to food when cooked and or baked), I found myself making one of my family’s now new favourite – and most moist, as has been repeatedly mentioned a few too many times – festive cake.

So as one last hurrah to 2016, a New Year’s Eve showstopper from my table to yours as a massive thank you; to all of you readers out there, the family and friends for their endless support, the hand models and icing-sugar shakers, here’s one last post that I hope puts a smile on your faces and in your bellies, as you've done for me.  Happy New year, friends.

Gingerbread Beer Cake
Nigella Lawson inspired recipe.  Makes 24-60 pieces (depending on size).

1 1/4 sticks/141g Butter
1 cup Molasses
1 cup Brown/Muscovado Sugar – packed
1 cup Beer (Stout/Guiness, Pale Ale/Cardinal Blonde)
2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch Nutmeg + Pinch 5 Spice / 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 cup Yoghurt
2 Eggs

Grease 9 x 13 in Baking Tin, line with foil, and grease again.  Preheat the oven to 150*C Fan/160*C/325*F.
Melt the butter, molasses, sugar, bear and spices over low heat, in a large saucepan.
Then remove from the heat, and add in the flour and baking soda, whisking – patiently – until lump-free.
In a separate jug, quickly beat together the yoghurt and eggs, before adding to the gingerbread mixture, whisking until fully incorporated and you are left with a smooth batter.
Pour into prepared baking dish, and bake for around 45-55 minutes, until center is “gleamingly” risen, and the edges are starting to pull away from the edges of the tin.
Allow to cool completely before serving.

Sliced into 60 perfect cubes and sprinkled with icing sugar to – successfully, I might add - round off any drinks party.
With a dollop of crème fraiche, plain yoghurt, vanilla ice cream or custard and a larger slice for dessert or afternoon pick me up.
As yet, untested, but suggested additions might include: amp-ed up spice level, chocolate chips, crystalised ginger pieces.
Sliced in half and layered with maple/spiced/cream cheese frosting to make a festive square layer cake.
Substituting sour cream for yoghurt, and golden syrup for Molasses, as per Nigella’s original recipe.