From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Fall Classics
Most gingerbread recipes that are moist also suffer from a dense, sunken center, and flavors range from barely gingery to spice overload. Focusing on flavor first, we bumped up the ginger flavor by using ground ginger and grated fresh ginger and accented the ginger with cinnamon and fresh-ground pepper. As for the liquid components, dark stout had a bittersweet flavor that brought out the caramel undertones of the molasses. Finally, swapping out the butter for vegetable oil and replacing some of the brown sugar with granulated let the spice flavors come through. To prevent a sunken center, we incorporated the baking soda with the wet ingredients instead of the other dry ones, which helped to neutralize those acidic ingredients before they were incorporated into the batter and allowed the baking powder to do a better job. And vigorous stirring gave our bread the structure necessary to further ensure the center didn’t collapse.
Makes one 8-inch square cake, serving 8 to 10
This cake packs potent yet well-balanced, fragrant, spicy heat. If you are particularly sensitive to spice, you can decrease the amount of dried ginger to 1 tablespoon. Guinness is the test kitchen's favorite brand of stout. Avoid opening the oven door until the minimum baking time has elapsed. If your cake pan has thin walls, you might want to wrap it with premade cake strips or make your own from cheesecloth and foil. This extra insulation will help ensure that the edges of the cake don't overbake. Serve the gingerbread plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days.