Adapted from "The Best Quick Breads" by Beth Hensperger
Makes:8 to 10 servings (1 10-inch tube cake)
This tube cake gingerbread is the creation of my friend Rick Rodgers. Once while he was visiting food writer Bruce Aidells, who is a beer aficionado, they wondered how the intense flavor of stout, the Cabernet Sauvignon of beers, would work as the liquid in a gingerbread. The idea isn’t new after all; I found old Irish recipes using porter ale (a weaker form of stout) in gingerbread, as well as in porter cake, a spicy fruitcake that is also soaked with stout after baking. The dark, dense, malty flavor of the stout ends up making a gourmet, yet old-fashioned, gingerbread that balances the inherent sweetness of the sugar and molasses. I like to use one of the special decorative fluted tube pans to make this cake look really special. Serve warm slices with a small dollop of Orange Hard Sauce melting on the side.
Let the stout stand for a full hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally, to allow it to go flat.
Heat the oven to 350°F (325°F if you are using a dark-cast metal pan) and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 12-cup tube pan or Bundt cake pan with butter and then dust with flour, tapping out the excess; set aside.
Place the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs and egg yolk and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the molasses and beat on low speed until just combined.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the stout, and mixing for 30 seconds on medium speed after each addition. After the last addition, beat on low speed until just evenly incorporated, about 1 minute. Do not overmix.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top springs back when touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Place the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto the rack to finish cooling completely.
Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, and serve with Orange Hard Sauce, if desired.