Beer? Cake? or Better — Chocolate Stout Cake

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My Mom came to dinner for her birthday last night. That’s a special occasion and I had the birthday dinner menu down, but wanted to make a cake that was just perfect for her. My mom is a fan of anything British. She took students to England on school-sponsored trips for many years. Having had the opportunity to go with her much later, I do remember that she has a fondness for English style ale. So that’s the inspiration for this Chocolate Stout Cake with Buttercream Icing. The cake is easy to make – I didn’t even need the electric mixer - it all just whisks up in a bowl. The batter is one I like to use, only this time the stout took over the job of being the wet ingredients – which would usually be buttermilk. Sour cream added that little tang and in truth – this is sort of embarrassing  - it was such yummy batter it was impossible not to eat a spoonful or maybe it was two or three. The icing part was supposed to look like a foamy head on a pint of stout while being completely delicious at the same time. I think it worked. In fact I was feeling pretty cocky about the whole thing until my son said, “Let me get this straight, you made a beer cake for my grandmother’s birthday?” It kind of took the wind out of my sails, but only for a minute because, I stand behind my idea and the cake was truly marvelous. 

She may be his Nana, but she’s my Mom and I know what she likes. About that cake: the cocoa powder base made it extremely dark, the butter and sour cream gave it richness, and the stout – well that was the surprise flavor that was just perfection. I don’t think you could go wrong with this Chocolate Stout Cake for any occasion. The cake might inspire some fun conversation, but it will end any meal or make any party a special event that you’ll be proud of and your guests will be asking, “May I please be invited again!?” It IS that good. Enjoy!

Chocolate Stout Cake with Buttercream Icing

Ingredients (for cake)

1 cup stout or dark beer

12 Tbsp (1½ sticks) butter

¾ cups cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup sour cream

2 eggs

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt


2 stick softened butter (can do that in the microwave – 8 to 10 seconds)

6 cups powdered sugar

½ cup heavy cream

¼ tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 2 cake pans with baking spray.

In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer stout and butter until butter melts.

Add the cocoa powder and sugar and whisk to blend.

In a mixing bowl combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.

Pour in the stout mixture and whisk to combine.

Add flour and baking soda and combine thoroughly.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes until the cake has risen and center is firm.

Cool completely.


Using an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix until smooth.

Add cream and salt and mix until smooth – add more cream if necessary to make icing spreadable.

Ice middle and top and leave sides dark to look like a pint of stout!  

© Deer One Publishing 2018