Chocolate Stout Cake

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Yield: 1 large cake, 16 servings

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Stout and other dark beers are often described as having chocolatey overtones, so this combination might not be as far-fetched as one might initially think. The flavor of this cake is multi-dimensional: the presence of the stout gives it a much more interesting finish; the hops from the beer act as a counterpoint to the sugar in the cake. It's an incredibly moist cake, too, and its rich, dark color comes mostly from the beer. This recipe makes two tall, imposing layers; be sure your 9" cake pans are at least 2" tall, or use 10" pans if you have them. For a smaller dessert, see the bottom tip, at right.

You can see this recipe in greater detail at our blog, Flourish.

Chocolate Stout Cake

star rating (101) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 large cake, 16 servings
Published: 01/01/2010




  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tips from our bakers

  • If you're using salted butter, decrease the salt in the recipe to 1 teaspoon.
  • If you're buying Guinness in cans (they list 14.9 ounces on the label), use 1 can and make up the difference in volume with water.
  • If you're making 2 layers, be sure your 9" cake pans are at least 2" deep. If they aren't that tall, use three 8" layers instead
  • The batter for this cake weighs 5 pounds, 15 ounces or 95 ounces. If you have a scale, a two layer cake should have 2 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces of batter in each pan. For a 3 layer cake, each layer should weigh 1 pound, 15 1/2 ounces.
  • If you have access to chocolate disks or chips that are pure chocolate, they'll melt more quickly when making the frosting. We used a bit of leftover tempered chocolate in the photos for this recipe.
  • For a somewhat less imposing (smaller) cake, downsize the ingredients as follows: 1 1/2 cups each beer and butter; 1 cup cocoa; 3 cups each flour and sugar; 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 3 large eggs; 2/3 cup sour cream. Bake in two 9" round pans, at 350°F, for 35 minutes. Frost with Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting, with the optional espresso powder added. This downsized version also makes 30 standard-size cupcakes; bake them for 18 to 22 minutes, then remove from the oven, cool, and frost.


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1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8" or two 9" cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9" pans are at least 2" deep.

2. For the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.

3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.

6. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.

7. Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

8. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. (See tips section for hints on weighing out the batter if you have a kitchen scale.)

9. Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8" pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9" pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

10. For the frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.

11. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.

12. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

13. To assemble: Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate).

14. Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top. Spread 2/3 cup of the icing over just the top of the layer.

15. Top with another cake layer, top side down, and repeat the process. If you baked three layers, add that one also.

16. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. Sprinkle with shamrock sugar decorations, if you have them.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: one 2-layer slice, 2 Servings Per Batch: 16 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 824 Calories from Fat: 450 Total Fat: 53g Saturated Fat: 30g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 160mg Sodium: 498mg Total Carbohydrate: 89g Dietary Fiber: 3g Sugars: 62g Protein: 9g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 04/11/2015
  • Angela from Mount Laurel NJ
  • For all you SERIOUS chocolate lovers, this cake is for you!...Except for ME, EVERYONE LOVED this cake...and every bit was eaten over a couple of was HUGE!!!....if you need to feed an army of guests, this will do the trick!...thanks for the help on this one King Arthur! turned out great!
  • star rating 04/09/2015
  • Tammy from Edmonds, WA
  • This cake is tasty, yet it did turn out a bit dryer than we expected, per the comments. We used "Samuel Smith's Chocolate Stout", a delicious chocolate specialty beer. I would make it again since it makes a lot and is still very chocolaty. It filled 2, 9" rounds and 1, 6" heart shaped pan, and the ganache frosting was plentiful enough for a few extra taste testers roaming the kitchen. It looked beautiful with several large strawberries decorating the top.
  • star rating 04/06/2015
  • Mel from Kittery Point, Maine
  • I just made this to celebrate both my birthday and completion of a one-year contract working in Iraq, and I'm pretty sure this is going to become my go-to birthday cake. Instead of the chocolate frosting in the recipe, though, I went with the simple cream cheese frosting from Nigella Lawson's similar recipe (doubled for two layers). It's a pairing that's not overly sweet, but still incredibly, amazingly rich. One thing I'll mention is that the center of the layers did fall slightly as they cooled, after 56 minutes of baking time in 9" pans with bake even strips. I think an additional 4 to 5 minutes in the oven would likely have made the difference here, which has more to do with me being impatient than with the recipe itself, but it certainly didn't damage the flavor and the slight concavity filled in easily with frosting. Everyone who's tried it has been bowled over at how good it turned out. My only other comment has to do with the baking tip to buy just one can of Guinness and make up the remaining volume with water. Clearly the proper answer here is to buy two cans, use 16 oz. in the cake, then drink the rest. Or if stout's not your beverage of choice, give it to someone who will appreciate it. If you're baking this cake, odds are you know someone who will.
  • star rating 04/01/2015
  • Since 8 from KAF Community
  • I made this into 2 8" round layers and one small bundt cake (6 cup capacity pan). The bundt was a birthday cake/gift for someone who otherwise wouldn't have gotten a cake. The layer cake was cut into small pieces and sent to an office St. Patrick's Day party. Even cut small, the cake lasted a couple of days in the refrigerator because it is so rich. It was a big hit. I did modify the frosting/ganache by adding confectioner's sugar. I knew my preference for super-dark chocolate was in the minority, so the sweeter topping was appreciated by others. (The bundt just got the ganache drizzled over it.)
    That's what baking is all about - sharing the love with others! Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 03/21/2015
  • Sarah R. from Fredericksburg, VA
  • Delish! My first cake from scratch so I was scared it would be a disaster. I am trying out the recipe before I make one for my husband's office party. The cake was great and easy, but my icing didn't set up properly, and was very runny. I need another icing recipe that is compatible with the powerful cake.
    This one of my personal favorites! I am sorry the filling/frosting did not set for you. If you were sure to set the filling in the frig for at least 2 hours it should have set up to a spreadable consistency. We would love to help you get this right for next time so please call us, 1-855-371-BAKE. We look forward to your call. Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 03/19/2015
  • Robin from Woodbine, MD
  • Have family visiting, so thought I'd give this a try, and all agreed it was delicious. Even with 14 of us for dinner and dessert, we barely put a dent in it, which is okay - more leftovers for another time. I used three 8" cake pans, and as I was filling them, I realized they were getting quite full, so pulled out my scale and weighed them per the tip (thank you for those tips). Going by the suggested weight per pan, I had extra batter (which I poured into KAF's little pie pan, cooked for about 30-35 min, and a perfect sized little cake to stick in the freezer). After having baked the three 8" pans, I think I could have divided the extra batter between the three, and while they would have been really full, I don't think they would have run over since the cake is so dense. I also didn't use all the icing, maybe just a cup left, but I didn't think the cake was lacking without that one cup.
  • star rating 03/17/2015
  • Lori from Fort Collins CO
  • I just accidentally posted this review under the frosting recipe for this cake -- oops, please ignore. I made this cake at 5000 feet in Colorado with some adjustments for altitude and it worked perfectly. This is a very rich, moist, chocolatey cake, and you can really taste the Guinness, which I like. It was easy to mix together. It was also easy to handle the layers once it was baked. They were firm enough to move easily and didn't leave crumbs all over the place. If anyone needs the altitude adjustments, I'd be happy to share.
  • star rating 03/17/2015
  • Louise Getchell from Pflugerville, Texas
  • Made to share with co workers that stayed at work instead of out for South By South West or spring break somewhere AND cuz my husband bought me a 7quart Kitchenaid mixer! Freakin Amazing cake - and I made the 'smaller version' with 'simple' frosting used Rodelle dutch cocoa - rich and tasty Hubby wants to know when I will do it again 😃🎉. Thanks KAF
  • star rating 03/16/2015
  • pmayre from KAF Community
  • Made the frosting yesterday and 36 cupcakes and a 6 cup bundt cake today. Warmed up the frosting a bit and then whipped it up- used about 3/4 of the frosting. Super dense and chocolatey- I wonderful annual treat. BTW, I made with Guinness this time, but I have substituted 'good' root beer and have had great results.
  • star rating 03/14/2015
  • Roxanne Morris from Montrose, Co.
  • Easy, sturdy, great depth of flavor.
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