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Why Is The Bottom Of My Guinness Gingerbread Dense?

Asked by Trudy sampson. Answered on 22nd December 2023

Full question

I’ve made the Guinness Gingerbread Cake about 6 times and half the time the same thing goes wrong. The bottom doesn’t turn into cake, it’s dense and heavy. It’s like the golden syrup sits at the bottom and doesn’t cook. I follow the recipe, it’s mixed thoroughly and I cook it for the allocated time. I am not sure why this happens but get so disappointed each time.

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

Our answer

Nigella's Guinness Gingerbread (from KITCHEN) is a melt and mix cake, where the butter, sugar, syrup, spices and stout are melted together and then the flour, eggs, sour cream and leavening are mixed in. The cake batter is quite liquid so can take a while to bake properly. The cake is baked when it is risen, coming away from the sides of the pan slightly and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

The texture of the cake can be affected quite a lot by the leavening, so make sure that the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is measured carefully and is evenly distributed in the batter. It can be a little more tricky when you add the dry ingredients to a lot of liquid so we would suggest either thoroughly whisking or sifting together the flour and bicarbonate of soda before they are added to the other ingredients. The other factor that can cause a dense layer in the cake is the baking. Make sure that the oven is thoroughly preheated when you start to make the cake so that it can go into the oven as soon as the batter is mixed. Bicarbonate of soda acts quickly and If the batter stands too long waiting for the oven to preheat (or even goes into an oven that is not quite up to temperature) then the bicarbonate of soda will have expired by the time the cake goes into the oven and starts to cook, meaning that the cake does not bake evenly. Also an oven that is too hot can cause the cake to rise quickly, but not actually be properly baked. So it is worth checking that the oven is not running too hot.

Winter Wonderland Cake

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