Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Travels With A Blue Vase

News from Mary Ann Miller, author, educator and artist (Jacksonville, Florida)

My new book is finally here! NEW TRAVELS WITH A BLUE VASE: A SKETCHBOOK OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND with watercolor sketches and recipes from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales is now ready. See
for more information or to order.
I met Mary Ann at Amelia Island Book Fest last February. Her eye catching display caught my attention with Provence colors, homemade lavender cookies and clever book title.

I wrote a blog about the book More Travels With A Blue Vase and the book fest in February. See link below
After the book fest I had several email conversations with Mary Ann over her book and my blog. She was interested in one of my recipes Baileys Irish Creme Pound Cake posted March 11, 2014.

Some time went by and I heard from Mary Ann again. She wanted to include Baileys Irish Creme Pound Cake in her book New Travels With A Blue Vase:A Sketchbook of Britain and Ireland. 
So my news is the recipe can be found on page 130 in her new book. To order Mary Ann's books go to or orders can be placed directly at

Mary Ann writes a blog at 
It is a charming blog Mary Ann started in 2013 with travel pictures from Provence, England and Scotland. She also includes some of her sketches of different areas visited. Mary Ann has a group of friends called The Sippers. They  have all traveled together to France to sketch, eat and laugh. 

Mary Ann is a teacher for Cafe Sketching classes in the Jacksonville area. They meet regularly in cafes and restaurants to sketch. The classes change every 4 week term. 

Mary Ann sketching along the roadside in Provence.

To celebrate Mary Ann's newest book and my published recipe in her book, 
I chose a recipe fitting for the English, Scottish and Irish cuisine featured in her new book New Travels With A Blue Vase.
Guinness Stout Gingerbread Cake
Cook's notes:
Gingerbread is said to have been invented by the Greeks around 2800 B.C. At one time gingerbread was made with breadcrumbs and sweetened with honey, but as it made its way throughout the world it was adapted to meet the tastes of different cultures. That is why if you sample gingerbread in a country other than your own it may not look or taste as you expected. It can be a bread, a spicy sweet cake or a molded/shaped cookie that can range from light colored with just a touch of spice to dark colored and very spicy.
In England and North America, we like to make our Gingerbread with either treacle or molasses instead of the original honey. The British favor treacle which has a much stronger taste and darker color than the milder tasting and lighter colored molasses that we like in America. Ground ginger is always present and, at least in America, ground cinnamon and often times ground cloves.

Guinness Gingerbread Stout Cake is flavorful and moist. It is really the perfect dessert for fall and winter. This recipe is also very adaptable. Although it contains lemon zest you could use the zest of one orange. Toasted nuts, minced fresh ginger, or even crystallized ginger could be added. For the brave at heart a little ground black or red pepper could be added for heat. Gingerbread Cake is very nice plain but it is absolutely delicious when frosted with a lemon glaze.

The most unusual thing about this recipe is that stout is substituted for the water or coffee used in most gingerbread recipes. I find it adds a lot of richness and underscores the spices. Since the cake is made with oil, it will stay moist for several days. Dress it up or simply enjoy it on its own, with coffee, tea, or leftover beer from the recipe :)
One word of caution-Do not be alarmed when baking soda is added to beer and molasses mixture. It foams up just like the science volcano projects we all once helped children make for school.
Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Guinness Stout or dark beer 
  • 3/4 cup mild flavored (light )molasses 
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • 2 cups of flour 
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger 
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • dash of ground cloves and cardamon 
  • 1 pie spice 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • optional: adding 1 TB finely minced crystallized ginger 
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1-2 TB. lemon zest 
  • 3 TB. fresh lemon juice 
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar 
Cake Directions:
  • In a saucepan whisk together stout and molasses. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8 x8 or 9 x 9 baking dish. 
  • Whisk together flour, spices and baking powder. 
  • In a large bowl whisk egg, sugars and oil to blend. 
  • Add in stout mixture and mix all ingredients together with a whisk. 
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  • Cool cake 10 minutes and pierce top of gingerbread liberally with a wooden skewer. 
Glaze Directions:
  • Mix lemon zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar with a whisk. 
  • Pour glaze over gingerbread. 

1 comment:

  1. How exciting that the recipe is in Mary Ann's book. Both that and the gingerbread cake sound so good. I'm looking for something to bake for bible study on Monday evening. Either one seems a good choice. Something fallish.


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