Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake

It’s September and time to make a Birthday Cake! My friend, Lee, passed along this recipe from Epicurious for a not-too-sweet dark chocolate cake. The recipe makes a three layer 8″ round cake. If you make all three layers, your cake will be about one foot tall! I opted for a two layer 8″ round. My cake was very tall, and I had enough batter left for a “baby cake”.

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Baby cake
Baby cake

The original recipe comes from Barrington Brewery, Great Barrington, MA and is copied below from Epicurious (with my own process photos and notes in italics).

yield:Makes 12 servings



  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness) I used Overcast espresso stout from Oakshire Brewring in Eugene, Oregon. 
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
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  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8″ round cake pans with 2″ sides. Line with parchment paper. As mentioned, I used two pans. 

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Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

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Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. This seemed like a ton of flour and sugar to me, but it worked!

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Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.

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Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans.

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Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. (Because I made just two layers they may have been thicker.  I had to bake my cakes for about 40 – 45 minutes. I used the extra batter to make a baby cake in a loaf pan.) Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

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Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours. It took about 3 hours to get the icing to a proper, spreadable consistency. If it gets too thick, just warm slightly over a bain marie.  

I inverted the cakes again after cooling and sliced the tops off with a serrated knife to  flatten.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. (Adjust for layers.)

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I topped my cake with some fresh mint and raspberries. This cake is DENSE and delicious. The recipe says it serves 12 but I think it would probably serve about 30. And then everyone would take a nap. 


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Find this recipe on © Condé Nast Digital, Inc.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Marla says:

    Oh my!


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