Friday, April 20, 2012

50 Women Game-Changers in Food - #44- Nigella Lawson - Guinness Gingerbread

A tender, quite moist gingerbread from Nigella.

Gingerbread is Christmas, right?  Maybe New Year's Day?  Certainly a cold-weather dessert.  Except that I love it.  I'd eat it in July if I were willing to turn the oven on.  Which I'm not.*  So that's why it's April and there's Nigella Lawson's gorgeous Guinness Gingerbread on the blog. (Two "n's" and two "s's" in Guinness--tells you  alot about how much I know about Guinness.  I did tour the brewery in Dublin once and actually drank a tall one.)  If you've been following along on this trip, I've joined a group of great food bloggers who are each week cooking, testing, and writing about one of Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game-Changers.  And, you guessed it, this week (number 44) is Nigella's week--I'm so grateful.  After all, I needed a reason to make gingerbread in the spring.  Didn't I? (Cold and nasty in St. Paul today after a great, warm spring.  I was happy to have a warm kitchen.)
   *I have just installed a combination microwave/convection oven above my rangeThis may help with summer baking.  More later!

If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Nigella on tv or reading one of her books, you just need to do it.  Picture a well-fed, very pretty British woman with a great accent sneaking out of bed in the dark to raid the refrigerator of crispy fried pork fat or snarfing down the last, well-hid piece of flourless chocolate cake.  Not only is she real with a capital R, but she's fun and brings more than a bit of the seductive into the kitchen, where it surely belongs.'s great to watch someone enjoy what they do and Nigella does that in spades.  Isn't that what really draws us to people?  I adore friends who are happy in what they do.

For a biographical sketch that may surprise you, check out Nigella's Food Network biography page here.  Not only has Nigella been a food tv star for several years and written a variety of best-selling cookbooks, but she was Deputy Literary Critic of the (London) Sunday Times before setting out to follow her own drummer as a free-lancer.  No small apples.

For a list of all of Nigella's books, lots more info and recipes, check out her website.

But!  If you're intrigued by the gingerbread:   get out a 9x13 pan and get baking.  Easy as pie (which isn't easy--who said that?)  you warm up some butter, a cup of Guinness stout and a couple of other things, whisk in a few dry ingredients, pour into a greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool, cut, and serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or Crème fraîche.  Nothing better.  My own notes are in red.  Enjoy!

Guinness Gingerbread by Nigella Lawson


  • 1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
  • 1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's) (I used Organic Corn Syrup plus a little Molasses.)
  • 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness) (There's just a taste left for a chef's snack!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • (I added 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 rectangular aluminium foil pan or cake pan, approximately 13 by 9 by 2-inches


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan (2-3qt saucepan)  and melt gently over a low heat.

Organic Corn Syrup with a little molasses poured in...quite pretty.

Dave was so sad that I bought a whole 6-pack.
Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug (4c glass measuring cup) and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it's ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

Add sweetened or spiced whipped cream, Crème fraîche,  or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.  Just a winter dusting of powdered sugar is lovely if you're into simplicity:

For grin and giggles, watch this Nigella Interview:

If you'd like to read more great recipes, try one of the other blogs on our trip visiting 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Sue - The View from Great Island, Barbara - Movable Feasts
Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen, Annie - Most Lovely Things, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me, Martha - Simple Nourished Living, Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sara - Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Next week we'll feature Diana Kennedy, the very fine Mexican cookbook author.  Join us!

Sing a new song,


  1. Guiness would add a richness of flavour to gingerbread. I always deem this is as holiday food buy why not celebrate all year round!

  2. This is worth stealing one of my husband's Guinness's for! How welcoming (and we have turned cold - so appropriate!)

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  4. Ach! Can't spell this early. Another try: My hub came downstairs into the family room late last night: "Where have you hidden that gingerbread?" I had put it in the microwave to keep our golden retrievers from having their way with it. This gingerbread calls: Just one more tiny sliver!

  5. Sounds wonderful! I had a slice of chocolate cake with beer that a friend made last year and it was the best cake that I ever had. I'm betting this is a remarkable gingerbread.

  6. Creamy, spicy, damp sweetess. Ah!

  7. i was telling a friend about these posts and she raved about her Guinness chocolate cake! this sounds rave-able as well, great pick!

  8. Let me tell you that anything with Guinness in it has to be good. I could eat Gingerbread at anytime. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. I, too, am a fan of Nigella. I love her joie de vivre and plain spoken way. As for this gingerbread ... it isn't at all the way my mother made gingerbread for us as we grew up, but with a bit of stout in there to 'body up' the batter? I'll take it, thank you, ma'am!

  10. Seriously, I just have to make this for that beer lovin Brit I married! And your photo make me claw at the screen to get a piece!!

  11. Wow! That looks delicious, Alyce! Love gingerbread....marking this one to try next winter.

  12. So interesting, I've never seen a recipe for gingerbread with stout. I bet it adds some extra flavor to this gingerbread.

  13. Yay, fun post! I've made her Guinness Gingerbread it! Now, of course, I want a piece in front of my stat. ;)

  14. What a nice post. Gingerbread makes a regular appearance on our table. It was a standard dessert when I was a child and I've maintained the tradition in my own home. I have, however, never made this one and seeing your results, know her recipe must be tried. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  15. Now this is the kind of post where I drool uncontrollably! Those pictures make me want to eat some right now! Great choice for Nigella week!

  16. Wish I could drop in for a piece of that luscious looking gingerbread. I loved it since childhood and look forward to trying Nigella's version. Such a perfect choice to represent Nigella. Love all your step by step photos and links to more information about her.

  17. Copy this recipe for a lovely holiday dessert. Serve cut up and layered in pretty stems with caramel sauce, cinnamon ice cream and nutmegged whipped cream.


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