Gingerbread Beer Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

By • February 16, 2012 44 Comments

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Author Notes: Beer in a gingerbread cake??? Absolutely! Dark brews give a depth to the spicy flavor of the cake. And as always, a little chocolate makes it better; this quick and easy one bowl cake batter has a ribbon of chocolate swirled through it and dark chocolate glaze drizzled over the top. Some may find the use of sorghum unusual but here in the south, we use it in everything. It has a milder flavor than molasses and tends to add less color and is worth the time spent finding it. What beer you bake with is up to you but I suggest one that is dark; an ale or porter will work out nicely.

This recipe is adapted from the gingerbread beer cake featured in my first book Sky High, Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes. For valentine's day, i needed a cake for a class I was attending and decided to turn a triple layer cake into a bundt cake. The recipe has been reworked and adjusted for a bundt pan and to yield a decadent dessert that is quick and easy to make and does not require any cake decorating skills!

Food52 Review: WHO: janeofmanytrade is a devoted gardener, beekeeper, and cook.
WHAT: A deeply spiced chocolate cake with a secret ingredient.
HOW: Make a glaze while a marbled batter bakes in the oven, and try to wait until it cools to eat.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The unusual ingredients in this cake (mustard, sorghum, beer -- we're looking at you), combine to make one of the most complex, nuanced chocolate cakes we know.
The Editors

Serves 12-16

  • 2/3 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, natural preferred
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard (such as coleman's)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup dark beer (I used yazoo-dos perros ale)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil (to melt with the chocolate)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons half and half
  1. Grease and flour a large bundt or tube pan-10 to 12 cup capacity. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, sorghum, eggs and salt.
  3. Place a large mesh strainer over a bowl and place the flour, cocoa, spices, baking powder and baking soda in it. Sift about half of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and then return the remaining dry ingredients in the strainer to the other bowl while you fold the batter a few times. Add the buttermilk and fold until smooth. Sift the remaining dry ingredients over the batter and dump any that have collected in the bowl into the batter as well. Fold a few times, add the beer, and fold until completely mixed. Remove 2 cups of batter for the ribbon and pour the remaining batter into the prepared pan.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the 1 teaspoon of oil on the lowest setting. Stir until smooth and then stir into the reserved cake batter. Pour this chocolate batter over the top of the batter in the pan and using a spoon, gently stir it in to create a marbled effect in the batter.
  5. Bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. To glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate with the half-and-half in the microwave on the lowest setting. Stir until smooth and glossy. Place the cooled cake on a serving platter. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze all over the top of the cake. Allow the glaze to set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes but serve it at room temperature for the best flavor.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate|Bread, Rolls & Muffins|Cakes|Desserts|Bread

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Comments (44) Questions (5)


5 months ago Nancy Charlton

At last, I had occasion to make this cake. I took it to a potluck, but there were four cakes, several pies, a pudding, and a fruit compote there too. Three quarters of my huge cake came home with me, and I took it to a much smaller gathering the next day. Two people, one of whom was having her own party, took most of this.
I made it in a rectangular Pyrex, and had planned to put the excess into a square pan, but the gingerbread batter barely covered the Pyrex to a half-inch depth, so I just concentrated on it and scrapped the other pan. I think I took out too much batter for the chocolate, as it seemed to overwhelm the gingerbread. Nevertheless, it baked up nicely to a 2" depth in about 40 minutes. I used Dagoba unsweetened chocolate, and then most of a bag of Ghirardelli 60-40 Chocolate Chips (IMO the best to be had) with some whole milk and cream for the glaze. I used chocolate stout, but a pale IPA might do well; beer and ale so wonders for baked goods. The potluck was vegetarian, so I was fudging a little with eggs and dairy. I used the last of a bottle of grapeseed oil and some coconut oil for the cake, had to substitute maple syrup for sorghum (which I couldn't find). Another time I think I'd whip the eggs separately, as the cake could stand to be a tad lighter in texture. Now I ask, would the sorghum make it lighter in color so that the marbling would stand out better? But all in all, it was a wonderful cake, and next time I'll definitely use a bundt pan. I'm also thinking that two glazes might be spectacular, one with a smaller amount of chocolate chips, the other, white chocolate. Perhaps the top could be studded with nuts and/or dried fruit. Or the center could be filled with whipped cream to spill over the top. And if it's the Fourth of July, I'll plant a small Old Glory in the center!


7 months ago MaryFrancesCooks

Alas I've yet to make this recipe but I'm going to have to try it! I've never had a gingerbread bundt let alone one with beer in it, but I HAVE made a Spice Cake using Bruce Cost Ginger Ale! (ok not the same, but still good!


7 months ago janeofmanytrade

baking with beer is fun especially now that there are so many to choose from! I have made this cake with a taddy porter, a stout and the dark ale listed above-they were all really good!


9 months ago babymustard

I made this last night and loved it. The spice is so complex and the cake is dense and perfectly moist.
Adapted it to be dairy-free by using almond milk with a teaspoon of white vinegar (left to stand for a minute or two).
Used 1/4 cup + 3tbs agave, and 3tbs molasses in place of sorghum.
No bundt pan to speak of, so I made two layers in ceramic 9" circle pans, which cooked up fine, and was good-looking even unfrosted. Filled it with an almond milk/semisweet chocolate ganache. Really stellar!


over 1 year ago Kitchen Geek

I have a similar recipe, but use molasses instead of sorghum. I use Young's double chocolate stout. The cake actually gets better after sitting for a few days, if you can resist that long. It's based on a cook's illustrated recipe, but I go extreme with the fresh ginger and use only brown sugar.


over 1 year ago Laura415

This recipe really caught my eye. I can't wait to try this instead of my go to chocolate stout cake. I plan to sub the sorghum syrup with a mix of other liquid sweeteners I have on hand. Probably Molasses and honey because of their spicy taste. I don't use seed oils so will use a combo of melted butter, light tasting olive oil and coconut oil. This will not change the recipe much unless you refrigerate the cake. I always use spelt flour in cakes and it works very well. Thanks for this gem. Looking forward to making it my own.


over 1 year ago Cherie

Over here in South Africa, sorghum is a flour, but I see most comments imply a sort of syrup? What should I use?


over 1 year ago cookingcontestjunkie

If you live near any Amish or Mennonite markets they usually have sorghum.So glad!


over 1 year ago Ntailleart

I just made this for a potluck and it was a hit! I would say it has a very grown up flavor that pairs well with coffee or red wine. The recipe also stood up to some abuse. I made it gluten free (just used my favorite all purpose mix) and with gf stout- the cake didn't suffer for it all. And lastly, I made the cake several days in advance and froze it. Day of, I thawed it out and iced it- it held up great!


over 1 year ago Michelle Trim

I used half molasses and half lyles golden... can't find sorghum here in CT. I think next time I will use golden and agave. The molasses darkened the cake so much that the marbling was invisible and it deepened the flavor too much. Otherwise, great cake, especially on the first day.


almost 2 years ago henandchicks

Has anyone tried NOT marbling this cake- just adding the chocolate to all of the batter?


almost 2 years ago Sharon Hanna

Hi - Great recipe - however canola oil (at least in Canada) is almost always genetically engineered. I'd recommend using another type of oil - grapeseed perhaps.


over 1 year ago enthous

Yes! It is in the states too.


almost 2 years ago Rachel

I'm in England and don't think sorghum is available here. Would golden syrup be ok? or maybe a mix of molasses or treacle and golden syrup?


over 2 years ago ehuckaby

I was able to find sorghum at a brewing supply store (apparently, it is used to make gluten-free beer). The cake was so lovely; interesting but not heavy or overly rich. Congrats!


over 2 years ago PRST

I just made this cake and it fell- smells delicious though. My batter was on the runny side so I am wondering about the amount of flour I used. I fluffed up the flour in my canister and then spooned it into the measuring cup. Wished the recipe had weights, especially for the flour. Also, I assumed the brown sugar was 2 cups, PACKED.


over 2 years ago essabagel

I rarely bake but couldn't resist the siren song of this cake, and I'm so glad I gave in to the temptation. It turned out beautifully, one of my all-time favorites. I thought I'd find sorghum at my local Whole Foods; when they turned out not to have it, I grabbed a jar of barley malt syrup instead, and that seemed to work well as a substitute. I can't wait to make it again!


almost 2 years ago Yogamani

How much barley syrup did you use?


over 2 years ago moxyroxy

I just made this beautiful cake (: I used molasses instead of sorghum, and baked it in a 9x13 pyrex for 30 minutes. The texture is delicate and it is aggressively spiced (which I like). Do sift the dry ingredients!! I don't have a sieve, and some clumped up dry mustard snuck its way past my spatula into the finished cake. I'll think of it as an element of surprise...


over 2 years ago Nicole Dula

This is such a beautiful cake. I'll have to make it for the next special occasion. Congratulations on your win!


over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Stunning cake! I love all the flavors you included. Congratulations!


over 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

Congrats on a boosy cake, with mustard even! I must try this.


over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks wonderful! Many congrats on your win!!