makes one 8” round layer, baked in an 8” cast-iron skillet
(adapted from Grammercy Tavern and Macrina Bakery)
⅓ cup Guinness
⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
½ tsp. baking soda
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⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cardamom
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
generous pinch of ground cloves
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⅓ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ oz finely grated fresh ginger (1½ teaspoons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8” cast iron skillet with butter or non-stick canola oil spray. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
In a medium saucepan, combine the Guinness and molasses over medium heat; bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda; the mixture will get foamy and then settle down. Let the mixture cool. (It should be cool to the touch on your finger.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Place the brown sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the vegetable oil and the fresh ginger. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the cooled Guinness-molasses-baking soda-mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.
Place the cast iron skillet on a baking sheet and pour the batter into the pan. Bake on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake tests clean with a small paring knife and the sides just begin to pull away from the pan. Set on a rack to cool while you prepare the meringue.
For the meringue-
3 ounces of egg whites (⅓ cup, from 2-3 eggs)
4½ ounces granulated sugar (½ cup + 2½ tablespoons)
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
(If you do not have a hand-held kitchen torch, make sure to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F in order to brown the meringue.)
Fill a wide pot with 2 inches of water, place over high heat until steaming hot, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Set the bowl over the pot of steaming water, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the egg whites reach 175 degrees F. This will take about 8 minutes. Using an oven mitt, carefully transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the whites at high speed until thick and glossy then add the vanilla. Using an icing spatula, cover the gingerbread with the meringue. Brown the meringue using a hand-held kitchen torch (or toast briefly in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven, just until golden, 3-5 minutes.) Serve with your favorite lemon curd or use this one .