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Why Did My Guinness Gingerbread Take Longer To Bake?

Asked by CitizenSmiff. Answered on 8th June 2019

Full question

My Guinness Gingerbread took almost twice as long to cook vs. the recipe! Approx. 75 mins at 170c, it rose up like no tomorrow and cracked, though tastes just fine! I wonder if I should have whisked by hand, I used my stand mixer to save my crampy hands!

KITCHEN UK book cover
Guinness Gingerbread
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Guinness Gingerbread (from KITCHEN) is a moist, spiced cake that is made by the melting method. This means that the butter, sugar, golden syrup and Guinness are melted together in a saucepan with the spices, then the flour is whisked in. This type of cake does not rely on whisked in air to rise, the mixture only needs to be whisked (or stirred) enough to mix in the flour thoroughly. There is a chance that using a stand mixer would have beaten in a bit of extra air, so if you use the stand mixer again then mix in the flour on the lowest possible speed and mix only until you have combined the flour into the batter. The cake rising excessively is also sometimes due to too much raising agent being used, though in this case the cake usually shrinks back on cooling. But measure the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) carefully using a 5ml measuring teaspoon and use flat teaspoonfuls.

The other reason that cakes rise a lot is that the tin was too small. This may also be a reason for the longer baking time. The recipe specifies a 23cm/9-inch square tin, or a rectangular tin approximately 30x20x5cm/12x8x2 inches. If you used a smaller tin, such as a 20cm/8-inch square, then the cake would rise up a lot (and could even overflow from the tin) and would take longer to bake. If you only have a smaller tin then fill the tin half full with the gingerbread batter and use the remaining batter to half fill a few cupcake cases. Cupcakes made from leftover batter should take 20-25 minutes to bake at the same oven temperature.

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