A Bit of Holiday Spirit

By Emily Del Bel

I’ve been gradually getting into the holiday spirit. This is a fairly new thing for me. I used to work in retail, and let me tell you, when you get holiday shipments in July, start putting up holiday displays in October, and have to listen to Christmas music (including all twelve versions of The Little Drummer Boy) from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s, you are NOT a big fan of the holidays.

The first year that I went back to school, it really caught me off guard how little exposure the average person gets to the things that had annoyed me so much. By the time the second year rolled around, I was out there with the rest of them putting up a Christmas tree and *gasp* singing along to White Christmas when I heard it while shopping.

As school progressed (and we moved a million times), I got rid of most of our decorations. This time of year has a tendency to be really busy, so we haven’t had a tree in a while. I still like celebrating the holidays though…And what better way to celebrate than making the apartment smell like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice? Well Jubelale of course.

Jubilale is a seasonal beer put out by Deschutes Brewery  of my beloved home state of Oregon. It’s a Strong Ale that (I’ve been told) has a slightly different recipe every year, but it’s always spicy, malty, slightly sweet, and well-hopped (For a better description and reviews, see Beer Advocate).  This year Jubelale is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, so I was really excited to see it in stores around Thanksgiving. It’s been a staple in the fridge since then and probably will be until it’s off the shelves for another year.  *preemptive sniff*

I really do love this beer, so when my husband suggested a recipe posted by O’Dell Brewery (another fantastic brewery from Colorado) that used their Isolation winter ale to make a spice cake, I knew I had to try making a Jubelale cake.

Now, I’ll be honest, I made a lot of changes to the original recipe and, while it turned out delicious, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I converted it from a loaf cake to cupcakes, so I expected a denser texture. They were pretty fluffy, and as you can see, they collapsed in the oven (probably because I overfilled them a bit). I got a bit distracted and accidentally let them cool in the tins, so I had to pry them out, making a bit of a mess as I did so. I added a beer glaze and some powdered sugar topping to make them pretty; because what doesn’t look pretty when covered in powdered sugar snow?

They definitely need more work before I call Deschutes and tell them about my recipe (I kid), but if you have time to do so, try it out and let me know what you think!


Adapted from Odell Brewing 

½ cup butter, salted

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1½ cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup Jubelale (or any other winter ale)

¼ teaspoon ground cloves1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

 Beer Glaze:

¼ cup of Jubelale

½ cup of sifted powdered sugar



In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed well. Add one third of the flour mixture alternately with one third of the beer and mix well to combine. Continue until all of the beer and flour mixture are mixed in.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in full-size cupcake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

Fill each cupcake 2/3 of the way full (You’ll probably get about 16 cupcakes out of the batch this way. I was being lazy and filled them about ¾ of the way. Lesson learned: don’t be lazy.). Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Mix together ¼ cup of Jubilale and ½ cup of sifted powdered sugar in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons over each cupcake and let cool. Sift a bit more powdered sugar over each and serve.

What kind of recipes put you in the holiday spirit? Do you have plans to try out any new recipes this year? Let us know in the comments below.


Science Meets Food

The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members. Through competitions, scholarships, networking, and leadership opportunities, you’ll set yourself apart from your classmates (unless they’re members too).

Leave a Reply