Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream is the definition of indulgence. Invite your favorite chocolate-loving friends, because dessert this good is meant to be shared.

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream |

About eight years ago when I was still new to this whole blogging thing, I shared about my favorite cake of all time, served at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I was practically raving about it then and quite possible foaming at the mouth. I think I used the phrase “edible masterpiece” and “wedding cake worthy”, which might seem a little over the top but hey, have you tried it yet?

To no surprise, it is still my favorite cake so of course the praise continues. However, recently I decided it was time to make a Chocolate Stout Cake myself and holy wow, it is decadence and chocolatey perfection in a slice. I’m warning you now, it is so rich and indulgent that more than a slice seems sinful. Plus, this recipe makes a big cake, so make sure you have plenty of chocolate-loving friends around to share.

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream is perfect for any celebration, particularly St. Patrick’s Day. The stout seems thematically appropriate, wouldn’t you say?

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream |

As I mentioned before, this recipe makes a very large cake. It’s pretty basic cake making. Nothing crazy. Just make sure to read all the way through the recipe as well as the recipe notes before beginning. Baking chocolate cake usually takes longer, so don’t forget to check and make sure it is done. It’s a simple step. Don’t skip it. Use a cake tester or toothpick to insert in the center. It is ready to cool when the tester comes out clean. (Note: I used Highland Mocha Stout, the same as the original cake that inspired me, but feel free to use your favorite stout. Highland Mocha Stout is local to me and easy to find, but Guinness is a worldwide go-to.)

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream |

Fore the record, I’ve seen this very same cake recipe in several places, on Bon Appetit and the King Arthur Flour website, just to name a few. That must be a good sign, right? From what I can tell the original source is the Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, MA. The stout cake recipe is ever so slightly adapted. Instead of using the frosting recipe shared with the other recipes, this recipe uses espresso buttercream, harkening back to the cake I’ve mentioned before at French Broad Chocolate in Asheville, NC.

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream |

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream

Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe with Espresso Buttercream |

Chocolate Stout Cake with Espresso Buttercream

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This decadent Chocolate Stout Cake with Espresso Buttercream is the quintessential indulgent dessert for a special occasion.


For the cake:

  • 16 fluid ounces stout, such as Guinness (or, if you can find it, Highland Mocha Stout)
  • 16 ounces, weight unsalted butter (4 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened dark cocoa powder*
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

  • 12 ounces butter, softened (3 U.S. sticks)
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans** with 2-inch tall sides, then line them with baking parchment paper circles and grease again.*** (Be sure your 9-inch pans are at least 2-inches deep.)
  2. Add stout, butter and cocoa powder to a large, heavy saucepan. Warm over low heat until the butter melts, whisking occasionally. Whisk until smooth. Set aside; cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. Separately, in a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.
  5. Using an electric mixer, mix in the stout-butter-cocoa mixture until combined.
  6. Mixing at low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; mix together. Stop to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl; mix again for 1 minute.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Spread evenly in pan.
  8. Bake the layers until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean: about 35 minutes for 8-inch pans; about 45-60 minutes for 9-inch pans.**** Remove the cakes from the oven and place on cooling racks to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Carefully turn out cakes and place on cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream:

  1. Beat together the butter and espresso powder on high for 4 minutes. Stop scrape down bowl and beat for another minute or so until most of the espresso granules disappear.
  2. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar and vanilla extract. Scrape down bowl.
  3. As needed, beat in a tablespoon of milk at a time to achieve desired consistency.
  4. Use to frost completely cooled cake.


* I used a blend of natural and Dutched dark cocoa. King Arthur recommends 100% Dutched cocoa.

** Another option is to divide the batter between three 9-inch round cake pans. It will still make a large cake, but the layers will cook quicker.

***I like to use Baker’s Joy. It works like a charm.

****Cook times are a rule of thumb and may vary. Chocolate cakes tend to take longer to bake. Please don’t skip checking to see if the cake is done with a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean before removing from the oven. I thought my 9-inch round layers would never get done. It took 64 minutes to be exact until they were done. I live a tad over 3000 ft elevation. I made no changes to the recipe ingredients or temperature, but it did take longer. If there is any question in the accuracy of your oven temperature, be sure to use an independent internal oven thermometer. I once had an oven that was 15 degrees off, which isn’t a big deal if you’re roasting chicken, but if you’re baking, it can make all the difference.

Did you make this recipe?

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