Chocolate Stout Cake

Chocolate Stout Cake

I debated a long time about posting this recipe. In fact, I’m still not sure I want to. You see, I had certain expectations for this cake and I guess they were set a little high. I had visions of a rich chocolate cake with a hint of earthy beer flavor. I’m not a beer drinker. I’ve tried and tried and just can’t get into it. And I thought that by putting beer into something I love, cake, I would find just the application for me.

The cake baked up beautifully and I was grinning up until the moment I took my first bite. It was different, it was unexpected. Disappointed, I was ready to throw the whole thing in the trash until Steve stopped me. He took a bite, then another, and declared it to be delicious. I thought he was just being nice until we served it to his family that evening and they all declared it delicious also. I was overruled.

Icing cake

It isn’t a chocolate cake, although pairing it with the chocolate ganache helps bring out its chocolate undertone. The cake most resembles something like a spice cake or honey wheat bread, thanks to the beer. It’s definitely a cake with a grown-up taste. I’m going to give this cake another shot, and I think I’ll be pleased the second time around.

Pouring a frosty glass of beer

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect them to and you think you’ve failed. But often it’s your expectations that have failed you. Just because this cake isn’t my favorite, doesn’t mean it’s something I shouldn’t share with you. We all have different tastes, and this just might be right up your alley.

Oh, and happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. If you won’t be celebrating with an ice cold one, perhaps you’d enjoy some beer in your chocolate cake?

Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from
Makes one two-layer nine inch cake

For the cake:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup stout (I used Guinness)
2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee, at room temperature

For the chocolate ganache icing:
1 pound bittersweet chocolate chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two nine-inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the stout and then the coffee (the batter will look curdled at this point, that’s okay). Add the flour in two additions and beat thoroughly until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Leave the cake in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. If cake layers are domed on top, trim with a knife.

To make the icing, heat the coffee and cream over medium high heat until it comes just to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes and then stir until the mixture becomes silky smooth. Frost the cake with the chocolate ganache.