Manzanita Gingerbread Cake
Smoky, sweet, and perfect for fall.
Manzanita is a beer made specifically for autumn, with a smoky, multi-layered aroma that’s perfect for a cool, crisp night. To celebrate the turning of the leaves and changing of the seasons, we asked Bay Area chef Yella Catalana to help us create the perfect Manzanita-inspired recipe.
Yella honed her pastry chops at Gjelina in Venice, and has cooked at some of our favorite San Francisco restaurants, including Greens and Boulette’s Larder. She currently helps run two restaurants with her husband (and Fort Point co-founder) Tyler Catalana — Mill Valley Beerworks, where she has acted as pastry chef and executive chef, and Joinery where she heads up menu development.
When we approached her for a Manzanita-inspired recipe, Yella immediately thought of this cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen). The beer is assertive enough to be a central flavor in the gingerbread, standing out against the sugar and strong spices. “I love the transformation that goes on in this recipe,” Yella told us. “Boiling the molasses and Manzanita creates this very funky aroma. And then after the cake bakes and rests a bit, the ingredients really harmonize so beautifully. The Manzanita is so complementary to the warmth of the cardamom and heaps of ginger.”
This is a cake to make as soon as sweater weather hits and a tasty treat to kick off the holiday potlucks and dinner parties. Keep in mind this recipe scales well, making it the perfect big-batch dessert to whip up and share as homemade gifts for the holidays (gifted alongside a six-pack of course).
“I can not think of a cozier fall afternoon snack, a more wonderfully hearty dessert, or better camping duet than a big slice of Manzanita gingerbread cake with a fresh can of Manzanita,” remarked Yella. “I just want to put this cake in my bindle, hike deep into the woods, and enjoy it.”
1 cup Fort Point Manzanita
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Unsweetened whipped cream
(Optional) salted caramel sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally butter the bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out any excess.
2. Pour Manzanita and molasses in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda, then let cool to room temperature.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, and spices together in a different large bowl.
Whisk together eggs and sugars in a separate bowl, followed by mixing in the vegetable oil and then molasses mixture.
4. Add wet ingredients mixture to dry flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
5. Pour the batter into your bundt pan and tap the pan sharply on counter to expel any air bubbles.
6. Place the pan on the middle oven rack and bake for about 60–65 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
7. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and onto the rack to cool completely.
8. Dust the cake with confectioners sugar and serve with unsweetened whipped cream and an optional drizzling of salted caramel sauce.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s gingerbread cake recipe