chocolate stout cake – Happy Birthday to me!

by Eva Felis on August 30, 2012

After waiting with great anticipation since months, my birthday is coming up this week and my greatest gift is already on the way. My family is coming from Germany, and right now they are sitting in a plane above the clouds since some very long hours, watching movies and eating almost certainly bad airplane food. But I am going to make it all up to them when they are finally here in Memphis. This is not just going to be a great vacation for us all, it is my birthday (as mentioned before)! And for the first time after three years without them, we are celebrating all together again. So now you know why I am so excited.

Some weeks ago I bought a chocolate stout with already having this recipe on my mind and waited for a special occasion to accomplish this mission. Though I tried a chocolate stout cake from a local bakery before and loved it, I actually never made a cake with beer on my own. I made a lot other stuff with beer (I shouldn’t mention that…) but never a cake. The result was amazing and surprising, the combination of stout, chocolate and good butter is brilliant. The cake is rich and not overly sweet, looks like I slaved in my kitchen for long hours but it’s not rocket science at all. And you can go wild with the chocolate frosting and spread it roughly over the cake and done!


chocolate stout cake


 Adapted from the bitten word, smitten kitchen and bon appétit.

I used Boatswain Chocolate Stout from Trader Joe for this recipe.

As I don’t call a cake pan my own and neither two or three cake pans for a layer cake, I used my 24 cm / 9 .5 inch springform pan and sliced the cake in half which worked great. I don’t recommend to use a smaller pan, the batter might bubble over. A bigger pan will work great but don’t forget to adjust the baking time.

You might think, this is a lot of sugar, of cause you are right. The stout and the unsweetened cacao powder are very bitter and I would rather add more sugar than less.


355 ml / 1 1/2 cups stout (see notes at bottom of this recipe)

340 g / 1 1/2 cups / 3 sticks unsalted butter

95 g / 1 1/8 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted

500 g /   2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

375 g / 3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 Tbsp baking soda

1 1/8 tsp salt

3 eggs

230 g / 1 cup sour cream

120 ml / 1/2 cups heavy cream

250 g / 8.8 oz.  semisweet chocolate 45 %

100 g / 3.5 oz.  dark chocolate 60 %

150 g / 1/2 cup plum jam


Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and grease your springform pan size 24 cm / 9.5 inch.

In a medium saucepan bring stout and butter to simmer until butter is melted. Add cacao powder and stir until all lumps are gone, let cool.

In a bowl measure flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and stir.

In your big mixing bowl add eggs and sour cream and mix well (stand mixer with paddle attachment). Add stout mixture and mix briefly. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined, use a rubber spatula to clean the wall of the bowl. Scrape the batter into the springform pan and smooth the top.

Bake 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from springform pan and let cool completely before you cut in half. Add plum jam to a small bowl and warm it in your microwave oven or use a pot and a stove. Spread plum jam over the bottom layer, place the top layer on the jam.

Make chocolate frosting: Roughly break or cut the chocolate into chunks. In a small saucepan over medium heat add heavy cream and bring to simmer.  Remove from heat and add chocolate and stir until completely melted. Spread over the cake evenly. This cake stays fresh for a couple of days and tastes even better the next day.


bon appétit gives following tip for the stout:

If you can find it, use a chocolate stout (Brooklyn Brewery and Oregon’s Rogue Brewery make it) in the cake batter. The chocolaty flavors in the beer come from dark-roasting the malts. Some brewers even add a little chocolate to the beer as well. If you can’t find chocolate stout, use another stout, such as Guinness. Sierra Nevada Porter and Samuel Adams Honey Porter would also work well in this recipe.

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Lover of chocolate and vegetables, Atlantan by choice and German by birth

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  1. Looks very indulgent!

  2. Happy Birthday to you! What a delicous way to celebrate both your Birthday and your family’s visit. I hope you had a great day and visit. Your blog and photos are beautiful:)

  3. Hi Eva,
    also from me all the best to your birthday! Hope you have had a wonderful time with your family :). And I am glad that you helped me finding your blog!!!
    Cheers, Eva

  4. Gorgeous photos! Wanna eat the chocolate through the screen. Oh and Happy Birthday!!! Hope you had a good one–with that cake, I can’t imagine that you didn’t :)

  5. Oh I’m late but happy birthday to you :)
    Today is my sister’s birthday. And chocolate cake will be fantastic surprise for her.

  6. Beautiful photography! I saw your photo on and clicked over to your site.

  7. Happy Birthday to you! This cake looks delicious! I’m thinking about making this for a birthday cake, but I’ve made a Guinness cake before and it was good but very dense. Is this cake dense like brownies? Thank you!

  8. Thanks for the nice birthday wishes! It’s a month ago but never too late… :)
    No this cake isn’t dense at all. There is unsweetened natural cocoa powder in the batter and no chocolate – so no brownie texture. I would say it’s more fluffy but still firm enough and easy to handle.