Prime Pairings - Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

 Photo: Nick Nick Photography

Photo: Nick Nick Photography

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

- Recipe by Chef Elizabeth Buckingham

Rye ales offer milder hoppiness than most traditional IPAs, but also provide spicy and sour flavors, making them perfect for winter’s gingery desserts. This pairing showcases a dark and rich chocolaty ginger cake with Black Shirt Brewing Company’s Timekeeper Rye Pale Ale, “filled with overtones of juicy tropical fruits and undertones of pine and citrus,” BSB says.Learn more about Chad and Carissa Miller’s Red Ale Project and commitment to local music and great beer at


For the cake: (Adapted from Rosanne Toroian)

  • 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks
  • 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup very hot water

Simple Bourbon Caramel Sauce: (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • Pinch of salt


Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 10-cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, pepper and chocolate chunks.

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Whisk together molasses and hot water in a heatproof container. Using rubber spatula, add flour mixture alternately with molasses mixture in three batches, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with spatula and combining just until well blended.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and is firm to the touch, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Simmer sugar and water on medium heat, swirling pan until mixture is a deep amber color. Watch closely so as not to let it burn. Turn off burner and remove from heat; slowly whisk in cream. Add salt and bourbon and place back on still-warm burner for another minute while stirring until smooth. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool.

Pair with - Timekeeper Rye Pale Ale

Denver’s Black Shirt Brewing Company calls it a “precise, balanced and crisp Rye Pale Ale.” The softly bitter but refreshing finish is a perfect complement to the rich, sweet spiciness of this wonderful cake.