Gingerbread Cake

Cover recipe- America’s Test Kitchen All-Time Best Holiday Recipes, Gingerbread Cake: 2011

The Gingerbread Cake on the cover of this America’s Test Kitchen holiday magazine cookbook immediately caught my eye on the bookstore magazine rack.  America’s Test Kitchen has always had wonderful recipes.  Their recipes are tested this-way-and-that so many times that there really isn’t any way they can be less than perfect, right?

The test kitchen testers noted that gingerbread cake is easy to make but that most recipes are too dry and too sweet.  They wanted to come up with a recipe that was a more moist, boldly flavored gingerbread cake.

I’m such a sucker for holiday recipes, and this magazine is sharing 95 of them!  Every recipe contains notes and tips and tricks and product recommendations.  If there is anything that requires a step-by-step process, then there’s a inset box with photos showing how to do it (such as how to braid challah).

Read my notes below to see what I thought of their Gingerbread Cake cover recipe…

Print Print Recipe

Gingerbread Cake

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Prep Time: 25 min + chill time

Cook Time: 45 min


2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
4 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup robust or dark molasses
3/4 cup stout beer

1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons ginger ale
1 teaspoon ground ginger


1.  For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until bubbling.  Stir in ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove saucepan from heat and let cool just slightly.
2.  Whisk eggs, sugar and fresh ginger in large bowl until light and frothy.  Stir in melted butter mixture, molasses, and beer until incorporated.  Whisk flour mixture into egg mixture until no lumps remain.
3.  Pour batter into prepared pan and gently tap pan on counter to release any air bubbles.  Bake until skewer inserted  into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet; let cool completely.
4.  For the glaze: Whisk all ingredients in bowl until smooth.  Pour glaze over cooled cake.  Let glaze set 15 minutes.  Serve.


*I used the Test Kitchen's suggested brand of stout:  Guinness.  The beer gives the cake a deep, malty tang.
*I used dark molasses.
*The spices are cooked in melted butter until they are fragrant- this really draws out the flavors.
*"Real" ginger is used in this gingerbread, along with ground ginger.
*I used ginger-ale in the glaze, but the Test Kitchen suggests that an equal amount of orange or lemon juice can be substituted for the ginger ale.
*I sifted the powdered sugar to avoid lumps
*The glaze is a little tricky to get just right- if it's too thin, it will just run off of the cake.  If you accidentally get it too thin, just add a little more powdered sugar.  A thicker glaze will stick to the cake better and not run down the sides quite as much.
*In hindsight, I wish I had drizzled the glaze onto the cake while it was still on the cooling rack.  I didn't like the puddling effect on the cake platter.
*My cake turned out much, much darker than the cake on the cover.  I can't figure out why mine would have turned out so much darker- I did not use a dark pan either.  It was not burnt, and it was not over-baked.  I'm baffled.

The results:

My family loved the cake.  It had quite a strong gingerbread flavor- as a gingerbread cake should.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight? Yes!  It was a cake more full of ginger flavor than any I’ve ever tasted… a great holiday recipe and a great one to don the cover of a holiday magazine.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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3 Responses to “Lemon Meringue Pie”

  1. 1

    Faith Gorsky — November 13, 2013 @ 5:10 am

    What a great review – I really appreciate how thorough you were! I’ve been looking for the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe myself, so I might give this a try with the mods you suggested!

  2. 2

    Bella — November 17, 2013 @ 6:37 am

    Interesting results! It sure looks tasty, so I am sorry to hear that it wasn’t as outstanding as you had hoped. The cookbook itself sounds amazing, so I think I will get a copy for myself! :)

  3. 3

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — November 17, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

    I’ve never tried making my own lemon meringue pie, but I definitely trust America’s Test Kitchens. Yours looks beautiful.

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