A rich and fudge-y one-bowl chocolate stout cake topped with an irish cream cheese frosting.
I have developed the most awful habit of not sleeping lately. I close my eyes, and out of nowhere I have a million things taking up my brain that are not important in the moment, or will never be important, and then suddenly it’s 4 a.m.! I’ve been constantly thinking about what couch I might want in a house Marc and I haven’t bought yet. And what caterer are we going to have at our wedding reception? How do you get from Tokyo to Osaka? What does chocolate stout cake taste like? How do narwhals kiss?
I also planned out how I am going to DIY an entire dessert bar at our reception, because I’m insane.
In case you’re wondering, my anxiety is well-developed, thank you very much.
And at least I got the cake question answered.
No really, what does chocolate stout cake taste like?
Moving on from my anxiety-ridden brain now. I know beer + cake sounds like it could be really weird, but it’s actually v good! Similar to coffee, the stout enhances the chocolate flavor, making the cake taste extra chocolate-y. So no, it does not taste like straight-up beer, but rather a chocolate cake with a little bit of a bitter-sweet finish. (Thanks to the stout). If you are a beer-lover, you’ll definitely love the slight hoppiness of the cake. But, if you’re not a beer-fan, it’s not going to taste like you’re eating a beer, but rather just a really good chocolate cake! Scout’s honor.
Additionally, the carbonation in the beer gives this cake such a delicious, texture. The cake is fudge-y and dense, but not so much that it’s hard to chew.
What ingredients do I need for chocolate stout cake?
I developed this recipe using a one-bowl chocolate cake recipe that I’ve been making for like, 10 years. This recipe has a couple extra ingredients, but nothing too wild. You’ll need:
- Sugar: Just regular sugar is fine! You can use superfine sugar if you’re feeling fancy, but it’s not necessary.
- Sour Cream: This will add both moisture and acidity, which is necessary to interact with the baking soda and create fluffiness!
- Canola Oil: I like oil in cake, because it makes the cake soooo perfectly spongy. Additionally, cocoa powder is a drying ingredient, so we need oil for extra moisture.
- Eggs: Make sure they’re room-temperature!
- Vanilla Extract: Just adds a little flavor.
- Stout: You can use any stout, just make sure it’s something flavorful.
- All-Purpose Flour: Regular AP flour makes up the overall structure of the cake.
- Cocoa Powder: I use dark cocoa powder, but any will do.
- Baking Soda: Adds lift!
- Salt: To balance out the sweetness.
Ingredients for the Irish cream cheese frosting
The Irish cream cheese frosting goes perfectly with the bittersweet chocolate cake. For the frosting, you’ll want to get:
- Cream Cheese: Full fat and softened!
- Unsalted Butter: Also softened.
- Powdered Sugar: Regular powdered sugar. Make sure you sift it to avoid lumpy frosting!
- Vanilla Extract: For sweetness and flavor.
- Irish Cream Liqueur: This adds the most delicious, coffee flavor. Replace with milk (or even some cold coffee) if you want a non-alcoholic version.
How to make chocolate stout cake
This cake only requires one bowl, it’s *amazing*.
Start by whisking together the sugar, sour cream, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. It will feel thick at first, but eventually it will become nice and smooth! Whisk for about two minutes, until it’s a pale yellow.
Next, add your stout of choice. It’s going to bubble and separate from the wet ingredients, but just keep stirring until everything is smooth!
Lastly, whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until the batter is just mixed. There may be a few lumps, but that’s ok! Just resist the urge to over-mix the batter.
Line the bottom of a 9” springform cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the pan with neutral oil, and fill the pan with the batter. Bake at 350° F for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick has a few moist crumbs on it. The toothpick should not have any runny batter on it! When the cake is baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then, remove the sides of the pan, and let the cake cool completely.
How to make Irish cream cheese frosting
Let’s talk about how to make the best-ever cream cheese frosting infused with Irish cream!
In a bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy. It’s important to make sure both the cream cheese and butter are nice and softened, or you’ll get big lumps in your frosting!
Next, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. Lastly, add the vanilla extract, Irish cream, and a pinch of salt until it’s thoroughly mixed.
When the cake is fully cooled, frost the top of the cake with the Irish cream cheese frosting. Decorate as desired, and enjoy!
Can I make chocolate stout cake into a layer cake?
Sure! You can either make a two-layer 8” cake or a three-layer 6” cake. Just make sure that you only fill the pans about half way so they don’t overflow. Start checking for doneness at around 20-25 minutes rather than 45.
Also, you may need to double the frosting if you plan on completely covering the outside of the cake. If you want to go with the “naked cake” look, the regular frosting recipe should be totally fine!
Storing and freezing the cake
If you have leftovers (you probs won’t), place the cake in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Usually, I don’t like storing cake in the fridge, because it dries out the cake! But, since there’s cream cheese frosting on top, we have to keep it cold. No worries on the cake drying out too much, though! The oil will keep it moist enough for 2-3 days.
To freeze the cake, wrap the un-frosted chocolate cake with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap. Next, wrap the cake with tinfoil or place it in an airtight container. Freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat the cake, defrost it at room-temperature for a few hours. Frost, and serve!
Decorating the cake
I chose to simply dab the frosting on top of the cake, because I like how it looks like a freshly-poured stout. But, you can have more fun with it if you’d like!
- Pipe the frosting on the cake with fun, decorative tip.
- Add some edible flowers on top.
- Sprinkle on some chocolate curls, crushed chocolate cookies, or sprinkles!
- Place some berries or boozy cherries around the edge of the cake.
- For a frosting-free version, simply sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.
- Or, drizzle chocolate ganache over the cake instead!
Can I use a different beer for this cake?
If you can’t find a stout, you can always use a porter instead! I would avoid any kind of light beer or super-hoppy brews like IPAs. Usually, I go for local brews, but in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I went with Guinness!
A few tips and resources!
I highly recommend lining the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper to make it easy to get off of the metal platform. Also, grease the cake pan well to avoid sticking on the sides!
If you don’t have a springform pan, bake the cake in two 8-9” cake pans, checking for doneness at 25 minutes. Then, make it into a layer cake!
It’s very important to not over-bake this cake. An inserted toothpick should have a few moist crumbs on it. If the toothpick has runny batter on it, bake for 5 minute increments until it’s done. If the toothpick is completely clean, take it out quick! It could be over-baked at this point.
Other cake recipes you might want to try
Chocolate Stout Cake + Irish Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Stout Cake + Irish Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Stout Cake
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs, room-temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup stout beer
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
Irish Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Irish cream liqueur
- Pinch salt
For the chocolate stout cake…
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (375°F for high-altitude baking). Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the bottoms and sides of the springform pan well with neutral oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, sour cream, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes, until it’s smooth and pale yellow. Gently whisk in the stout until it’s thoroughly incorporated.
- Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients just until the batter comes together. A few lumps are ok! Don’t over-mix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick has just a few moist crumbs on it. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the sides of the pan, and let the cake cool completely.
Irish Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until it’s light and pale yellow. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the vanilla extract, Irish cream, and a pinch of salt, and beat until the frosting is fluffy.
- Frost the cooled cake with the frosting, and serve! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: The Chills by Peter Bjorn & John