The addition of Guinness stout and dark molasses gives this triple-layer gingerbread cake rich, dark flavor. But what really sets this dessert up for the holidays are the cutout gingerbread cookie decorations, rosemary sprig “trees” and a snowy dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Get a head start by making the cookies and cake a day in advance, then assemble just before serving.
Gingerbread Cake with Maple-Mascarpone Whipped Cream
For the gingerbread cookies:
- 4 Tbs. (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) canola oil, plus more for greasing
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) Guinness or oatmeal stout
- 3/4 cup (8 1/4 oz./260 g) molasses
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. ground ginger
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
For the maple-mascarpone whipped cream:
- 2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. maple extract
- 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. To make the gingerbread cookies, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses and egg yolk and beat until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Beat until combined, then raise the speed to medium and beat until a thick dough forms, about 1 minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours or up to 3 days.
2. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Let the dough stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes, such as trees, snowmen and gingerbread men, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set, 6 to 12 minutes, depending on their size. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
4. To make the cake, keep the oven set at 350°F (180°C). Grease three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then grease the parchment. Dust with flour, then tap out any excess.
5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the Guinness and molasses and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble; continue to whisk until the bubbling subsides. Let cool completely.
6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, both sugars and the oil. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom over the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold until well combined into a cohesive batter. Add the Guinness mixture and stir until blended. The batter will be thin.
7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks and let cool completely.
8. To make the mascarpone cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the mascarpone, cream, vanilla and maple extract on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
9. To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread one-third of the mascarpone whipped cream evenly over the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, then spread the remaining whipped cream over the top of the cake. Gently stand the gingerbread cookies on top of the cake. Surround with the rosemary sprigs to resemble trees and dust the entire cake with confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow. The cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Serves 12.
Discover a swoon-worthy collection of cakes in the stunning cookbook Favorite Cakes, by the cooks of the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen.