Last year, I spent the better part of a Friday night with brewer Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey just north of San Diego. Before that, cheesemonger Zeke Ferguson, photographer John Schulz, and I began with lunch under the hop vines at Stone Brewing’s beer garden. We ended up at Lost Abbey among racks of oak barrels, eating cheese, breaking out funky chocolates, and sampling a load of Tomme’s specials, including some vintage bottles he pulled out so we could taste the variations over years. All in all, it was a great night.
It also made me more appreciative of Lost Abbey beers, so I’ve been scoring more of them since then. This week, I grabbed a stout. At 11% abv, Serpent’s Stout is a seasonally available beer (early winter) in a 750ml corked bottle. It’s a very dark, malty beer, light on the carbonation, with an almost creamy texture. Given its notes of chocolate, molasses, and even coffee, I immediately realized how well it would work in baking.
After lightly chilling the bottle, I poured out 8 ounces, then savored the rest as Tomme intended. The portion I set aside went into a dense, dark, moist gingerbread cake that carried over the lingering taste of Serpent’s Stout with undertones of molasses and racy ginger. Photo to the left courtesy of StudioSchulz.com.
Adapted from Claudia Fleming’s Guinness Stout Ginger Cake in The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern, this version contains slightly more ginger and double the cardamom of the original.
Lost Abbey Gingerbread CakeBecause of the canola oil, this cake keeps at room temperature for several days. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or just plain with a cup of coffee or tea.
1 cup Lost Abbey Serpent Stout
1 cup molasses
½ Tbl baking soda
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ Tbl ground ginger
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 ½ Tbl peeled fresh gingerroot, grated or finely minced
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan or ring mold.
(1) In a large and deep saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat immediately, stir to mix thoroughly, and add the baking soda. The resulting foam will subside after a few beats.
(2) Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and both sugars in a bowl, then whisk in the oil.
(3) In a separate bowl, sift the flour, then whisk in ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Combine the stout mixture (1) with the egg mixture (2), then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture (3), half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Goes well with:
Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights at The Lost Abbey’s tasting room.
Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey
155 Mata Way, Suite 104
San Marcos, CA 92069