Chocolate Stout Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting

Chocolate Stout Cake via Sweetapolita

This was kind of an unexpected post, actually, so you may notice that there is only one photo of this cake, which isn’t how it usually goes around here. Since it has been so dark and gloomy outside for the past few days, I just couldn’t hold out any longer for nice natural light to take photos (or to eat the cake!), so I took a quick photo and decided to share this recipe with you anyway, because I have a feeling you, like me, have a thing for cake. Yep, I’m catching on quick.

Before I chat about it though, I want to share the winner of the Taste of Home Baking book that I talked about here (along with those rich and chocolatey dipped brownies!).

The winner of the giveaway is…

Sarah {Songbird Sweets}: “…my favorite dessert is definitely chocolate peanut butter cupcakes…i just cant seem to resist them:-)”

Congratulations, Sarah! I will be in touch with you via email!

So, back to this decadent Chocolate Stout Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting…it will be a short and sweet post, but wow, guys, I loved this cake. I’ve been seeing Chocolate Stout Cakes here and there on other blogs, and I’ve always been intrigued, but never tried it. Since International Stout Day is fast approaching, I figured I better get a move on. Okay, no, I just read that tonight, but that would have been impressive, no? This is a rich, dense and moist cake made with, among other things, dark beer or stout, such as Guinness. The beer really just heightens of the chocolate-ness that’s going on and adds moisture to the cake, but I won’t lie–the dinstinct Guinness flavour is definitely present, however unexpectedly appropriate. It just all works (and trust me, you don’t need to be a beer drinker!). It did, however, lure my husband into trying it, and he was quite amazed. Just promise me you won’t tell him there’s sour cream in it? Don’t ask.

I decided to fill and frost it with my new(ish) favourite sweet frosting, the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting, rather than the popular chocolate frosting variety, simply because I love contrast in both taste and visual. Since this frosting (as you may recall) tastes like vanilla bean ice cream, all together this cake is kind of like a Guinness Ice Cream Float, and, although I’ve never had one, I’m pretty sure that’s not a bad thing.

Before I leave you with the recipe, I wanted to give you a save-the-date of sorts, for a fabulous giveaway I’ll be posting about next week. As part of the giveaway prize, Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts (where it all began for me!) will be saving 2 spots in the upcoming 2-evening Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class on November 24th & 25th from 6:30pm-9:30pm for a winner and a friend to attend! I’m so excited for the future winner of this prize, truly. Anyone will be able to enter, however you would need to be available those evenings and able to attend the Toronto class. There will be more even more chocolate goodness added to the prize from Barry Callebaut (you know, those folks who produce all of the premium chocolate products I love to use in my recipes, including the extra dark cocoa powder I use in all of my chocolate cake, including this one!), so stay tuned for details.

I’ll be back with another recipe shortly, friends!

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting         {click to print}

Yield: One 9-inch round two-layer cake–12-16 servings.

Cake Layers


1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) stout or dark beer (I used Guinness)

1 1/2 cups (340 grams/12 ounces/3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1  cup sifted (115 grams/4 ounces) King Arthur Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark)

3 cups (360 grams/12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour

3 cups (600 grams/20.5 ounces) granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (12 grams/11.25 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (8 grams) salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup ( 165 mL) sour cream, at room temperature


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round pans (2″ deep), line bottoms with parchment paper circles, then grease circles, dust with flour and tap out excess. Set aside.

2. Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan and heat on medium heat until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the sifted cocoa powder until smooth. Pour into a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater), mix the eggs and sour cream on medium speed (I use #4 on KitchenAid) until well combined, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, and mix on medium speed (I use #4 on KitchenAid)  until combined, about 1 minute.

6. Add the dry ingredients slowly and combine on low-speed (I use #2 on KitchenAid) until blended, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl, and then mix for another minute.

7. Divide batter into prepared pans evenly. If possible, weigh the pans and batter with a kitchen scale for accuracy and even layers. If you do, each pan of batter should weigh ~1 kg/2.2 lbs. Place cake pans on middle oven rack side-by-side, but about 2″ apart and bake until toothpick inserted into centre comes clean, about 35 minutes.

8. Let cakes cool on wire racks for ~10 minutes, loosen edges with knife or small palette knife, then gently remove from pans to cool completely.

*Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting

Note: This is the same frosting recipe I often use, but I have modified the quantity to yield enough to fill and frost this cake.


1 pound (454 grams/2 cups/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3 3/4 cups sifted (600 grams/1 lb + 5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

4 tablespoons (60 mL) milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped

2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract — I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract

pinch of salt


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency reasons).

4. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use 4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

*Adapted from Donna Hay 

Good luck & enjoy!


Share the Sweetness!


  1. Sarah says

    This looks so good! I love how dark the cake is with the white frosting. I’ve tried this frosting from the vanilla cake post, and it was to die for. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. says

    I LOVE the contrast. Plus secretly I think vanilla frosting tastes better than chocolate anyway. It looks deliciously dense… and the beer part is a quirky twist. I don’t think I get more excited about any other blog posts than Sweetapolita ones. AND it’s Friday. :)

  3. says

    I love the depth of flavour in a chocolate stout cake and the fact that you’ve paired it with a vanilla frosting sounds so absolutely perfect. Delicious!

  4. says

    I have a similar recipe and all of my male clients rave about it. It is the perfect birthday cake for all of those guys out there who are not sweet tooths. I am not a huge fan of beer but to my surprise I really enjoyed this cake. I can’t wait to try your recipe along with that frostings – it looks devine! Thanks for sharing and Happy Halloween!!

  5. Meli says

    I’ve always loved making the Chocolate Stout (Guinness) Cake! Everybody loves it because it has a beautiful moist texture and a taste that isn’t overly sweet.
    Your photo looks lovely and I’m sure the cake lifted people’s spirit with the gloomy weather recently.

    Can’t wait for the contest next week!

  6. says

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while but this is my first time to be actually commenting! The contrast of the dark cake and pristine frosting is so beautiful. I’m sure it tastes amazing too!

  7. Pam says

    :) This is the same recipe I use, it is amazing with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting!! It’s my hubby’s favorite and it always makes the boys happy because of the beer lol

  8. John Stepikura says

    i made a similiar stout fudge cake and i made your swiss meringue buttercream with clearified bacon fat. instead of 4 sticks of butter, i used 3 sticks and 1/4 lbs of bacon fat. the buttercream was delish. i then topped each mini cupcake with a crispy bacon lardon. perfect for FATHERS DAY!!!

    ps. i love your blog. keep up the great work.

  9. Amy C. says

    yummy perfect for my ladies slumber party! Would this recipe do good as cupcakes without changing anything? Or should I stick to a cake? Thanks for your wonderful blog.

    • says

      Amy, I bet it would make fabulous cupcakes, because it’s sturdy but moist. I’ve not tried it that way, but I personally would try it as is if you do. The cake is also yummy as it is, so either one would be a great choice. Hmm, I’m not sure I answered the question! :)

  10. says

    I made this yesterday – the cake is amazing, but we found the frosting was just too sweet for our taste. Easy fixed, just eat the cake… LOL!

    I don’t have 9″ cake pans, so made a triple layer cake in 8″ pans and it worked really well. Later this week we’re going to halve the recipe and make cupcakes.

    This really is a wonderful chocolate cake – I want to see how it goes with a dash of chilli powder added as well. I think that would add to the flavour without taking away from the guinness and chocolate yumminess.

  11. says

    I love your blog and have been reading for a while. We seem to have similar taste in recipes….. Anyway, I have a small specialty cake biz and have been trying to add new cakes to my menu. I am especially interested in “grown up” cakes with stout, wine, liquor etc. I made the stout cake and loved tasting that batter, shame on me, I know. But the cake was more brownie than cake. Is this how it is supposed to be or did I make an error? My husband has been eating it everyday, but I was expecting and am missing that “cake” texture. It has great flavor. Just curious if I did something wrong or if it’s just a different type of cake?

    • says

      Thanks so much, Tammy. Hmm, to be honest the cake was very cakey and not brownie-ish, so I’m curious why. Did you measure the ingredient by weight or volume? Sometimes when it’s by volume, ingredient precision is an issue. I wish I could help in some way!

  12. says

    Mmm. It may only be 9 in the morning but Im pretty sure I already know what I’m having for dessert… ok maybe lunch. I’ve got some vanilla beans itching to be used up and it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last chocolate cake – far too long. And now this recipe gives me a delicious excuse to try a stout cake too. I love that pop of dark cake against light, white icing.

  13. Katarina says

    Oh my god this looks delicious. If I was to try this recipe… do you think it would go with fondant well? Just curious, I don’t want to ruin the taste :)

    • says

      Thanks Katarina! I think it would do just fine under fondant, as it really goes well with the sweet vanilla frosting, which is essentially what fondant is. I’d be curious to hear how it goes, if you do give it a go. Good luck!

      • Katarina says

        I made one tiny change: I used less sugar for the frosting because of the fondant; I didn’t want to make it too sweet:) I covered it with white fondant and did some painting on it (it was for a surprise party), I kept basically the black-and-white style of it. It was really, really, really yumm. Thank you for this lovely recipe:)

  14. Nichole says

    I don’t know if it’s faux pas to ask questions about mix and match but I’m making a cake for my man’s 30th – he collects stouts and loves both chocolate and peanut butter. I was thinking of mixing this cake with your peanut butter meringue buttercream. Am I trying to mash too many things together or might this work?

  15. says

    Wow this cake looks amazing!

    I will be making this for my brothers 24th birthday cake, as he has requested a 24 – beer box cake. So a stout cake will be perfect to go with the theme! Hopefully it will turn out great :)

  16. Dionne says

    I just made this for my birthday, I really didn’t care for it too much. I think I’m going to use coffee in place of the stout next time because I did like the texture and flavor of the cake minus the beer…I guess it’ll be a mocha cake instead.

  17. Stephanie says

    I am so torn between this cake and also your fluffy vanilla cake with vanilla bean frosting.. I know I want vanilla bean in my cake :) its for my 24th bday.. anyone have any advise in which cake is better to try??!! :)

  18. Kristin says

    Hello Rosie – I am wondering how this worked as far as crumbs were concerned. Did you need to do a crumb coat first? My friend made this for me and now I am giving it a go on my own so was wondering about the dark cake v. white frosting contrast.

  19. Beth says

    I love your website and getting inspired by all the lovely cakes :) i am planning on making this cake for a friend and I would love to know where you buy the cacao barry cocoa powder-extra dark. Thank you.
    Will let you know how it turns out :)

  20. Kendall says

    I love your Blog and I have made a couple of your cakes. I had a lot of fun with this one. I have just recently gotten into cake baking. (In large part due to your easy to follow baking rules post!) I’m super excited about it. Thank you!

  21. says

    Hello Sweetapolita,

    So loving your blog and the huge information therein. I have a Chocolate Stout Cake by Tish Boyle from The Cake Book.

    Would love to try out this one, but I want to substitute the sourcream for yogurt (plain unsweetened) to cut down the fat. I hope it will yield thesame quality?



  22. Stacey says

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it today for the 4th of July! The cake is rich and dense, however I didn’t taste the beer at all! I used Guinness – would the taste go away from having it on the stove too long? Also the icing was super sweet but unless in the fridge gets melty! I think I should’ve used less milk or more powdered sugar? I’ll definitely try the recipe again and I think a salted caramel icing would pair very well!

  23. Ellie says

    Hi there,

    I’m planning to make this cake on Monday. When you say a vanilla bean, scraped, do you mean that we should use the scrapings, or use the pod?

    Thanks so much!

  24. Camille says

    Hi! Can this be made a few days in advance, wrapped well and left in the fridge or will the taste/texture change? Thanks so much!

  25. Ellie says

    I made this cake for my boyfriend and my one year anniversary last September. It was an outrageous hit. I can not thank you enough! Everything on your site is delectable. Thanks so much!!! Now I just have to find what I’ll make him tomorrow…

  26. Leslie says

    Made this vanilla bean buttercream for my chocolate cake and it is outstanding. Total keeper. Probably the best buttercream I’ve ever had.

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