December 8, 2014

Gingerbread Layer Cake

Recipe: Eric Vellend

This cake was adapted from a recipe by Claudia Fleming, who developed it while she was the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York. To make the garnish, wash the cranberries, and while they’re still wet, roll them in granulated sugar.



  • 1 cup stout beer such as Guinness
  • 2⁄3 cup fancy-grade molasses
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Baking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3⁄4 cup vegetable oil

Eggnog Icing

  • 2 250-g bars Philadelphia-style cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp rum extract
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Sugared cranberries, for garnish


Yield: Serves 8

  1. To make cake, bring stout and molasses to boil in 4-L saucepan over high heat, whisking to combine. Remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda. (It will foam up.) Cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 8″-round cake pans with baking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper. In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk eggs, sugars and oil until smooth. Whisk in stout mixture. Gradually whisk wet mixture into dry to form smooth batter. Divide evenly among prepared pans. Place pans on baking trays. Bake on middle shelf until toothpicks inserted in centers come out clean, 35 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely.
  4. To make icing, place cream cheese, butter, rum extract and nutmeg in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium speed, until smooth, 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low. Gradually add sugar until combined. Refrigerate 30 minutes before using.
  5. To ice cake, split each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife to make 4 layers in total. Spread 1⁄4 icing on top of base layer. Top with a second layer and repeat until you have 4 iced layers stacked on top of each other.
  6. If making ahead of time, place iced cake in fridge for 1 hour to set icing. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Remove plastic wrap and let cake come to room temperature. Garnish with cranberries right before serving.

Michael Graydon, Nikole Herriott


House & Home November 2014