A decadent chocolate cake accented by a dry roast flavour from the stout and a rich buttermilk frosting. The key to this cake is using a good quality dry stout, and good quality ingredients. Don't skimp out on cheap cocoa or artificially soured cream. It's all in the details.

This cake recipe has a lovely dense consistency, perfect if you want to bake it as brownies instead.

BrewHQ Marketing Assistant, Tyler, with his Chocolate Stout Birthday Cake.

Break it out:

  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Stand or hand mixer & mixing bowl
  • 2 8" round cake pans
  • Cooling racks

Grub you'll need:


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dry stout*
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup natural sour cream or plain greek yogurt**
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons backing powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter (salted or unsalted), room temperature
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 - 3 tbsp milk

Dusting (optional)

  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Icing sugar
  • Cacao nibs

Get 'Er Done

The Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 ºC. 
  • Grease cake pans (don't skimp on the grease - this can be a sticky cake when it's baking).
  • In saucepan melt butter butter on medium heat (don't burn the butter).
  • Slowly add stout to melted butter.
  • Remove pan from heat and whisk in cocoa 1/4 cup at a time. Set aside to cool (10-15) minutes. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
  • In mixing bowl whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  • Slowly add in butter, stout & cocoa mixture when it has cooled. Whisk at medium speed until well combined.
  • On low speed, slowly add flour, raw sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Batter will be thinner than a usual cake batter.
  • Pour equal amounts of batter in each cake pan. Bake at 350 ºC for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake in the pans on a wire rake for at least 30 minutes. When cool. remove cakes from pans and leave on wire racks until completely cooled.

The Frosting

  • In mixing bowl, combine butter and icing sugar (add 1/2 cup at a time), vanilla extract and 1 tbsp milk on medium speed. 
  • When icing sugar is combined, increase to medium-high speed. Mix for 1 minute until mixture begins to thicken. 
  • Add more milk 1 tbsp at a time until desired icing thickness is reached. An extra 1 tbsp. may be needed.

The Dusting

  • When cake is iced, dust with icing sugar and cocoa***
  • Sprinkle cocoa nibs on top (optional)

*A dry stout is best for this recipe, but you can use a porter if you want a slightly sweeter cake.

**Artificially soured cream is more accessible, but a naturally soured cream is thicker with no added fillers. 

***Use a flour sifter or stainless steel strainer for dusting with icing sugar and cocoa to avoid lumps.