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Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake3

Although I may be shattering illusion with this admission, I don’t always cook with beer. I often create very sober meals with teetotaling side dishes, not a whisper of booze in sight.

However, over the years of carving out a niche in this corner of Craft Beer Land, I have found that beer is an essential and non-replaceable ingredient in several dishes, it just does the best job.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake2

My Thanksgiving Turkey will always be brined with a brown ale, the meat tenderizing properties of beer have no match. If you want a juicy bird, it’s the best way to get there.

My dinner rolls will always be made with wheat beer, the leaving agents are just too good.

My steak will always be given a good soak in a dark craft beer, it gives the best results.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake5And my chocolate cake will always be made with a nice chocolate stout. The first recipe I ever made with beer was a stout cake, it was by far the best homemade chocolate cake I had ever made, wooing me to the boozy side of baking.

The taste was both rich and light, smooth and bold. It may have been a gateway recipe that lead me down a path of beer cooking obsession.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake4

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting


For the Cake:

  • 7 wt oz 72% dark chocolate chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces Chocolate Stout
  • 3 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs + 2 yolks
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tbs espresso powder
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cup dark chocolate chips melted & slightly cooled
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup heavy cream


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In the top of a double boiler (or a bowl set over gently simmering water), add the dark chocolate, and butter, stirring frequently until just melted. Stir in the chocolate stout.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the sugar, eggs and yolks until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the oil and sour cream, beat until well combined.
  • Slowly add the chocolate, beating until all ingredients are well incorporated, scraping the bottom to make sure all us well combined.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and kosher salt.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined.
  • Grease and flour 3, 9-inch cake pans (or two cake pans, and 12 cupcake tins).
  • Pour the batter evenly between the pans.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched, (15-17 minutes for cupcakes).
  • Allow to cool, remove from pans (it’s easiest to transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper.)
  • To assemble a tall cake it’s easiest if all ingredients are cold, warm cake and frosting tend to slide. For best results chill the cake layers for 1 hour prior to assembling.
  • Chill assembled cake until ready to serve.

For the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the softened butter on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, beat until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the mixer, beating until well combined with the butter mixture.
  • Add the powdered sugar and slowly building up speed, beat on high until well combined.
  • A few tablespoons at a time add the bourbon and the cream, allowing to fully incorporate before adding more. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes.


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Averie @ Averie Cooks August 22, 2013 um 1:09 am

the flavors, the FROSTING!!!, the food styling, the photography – just an all around stunning post!


Sarah | The Sugar Hit August 22, 2013 um 2:45 am

This looks absolutely incredible, chocolatey as anything and with some beer to boot!


Sandi Graham August 22, 2013 um 5:10 am

I love chocolate. I made Guinness cupcakes one time- they were delicious. I cannot wait to try this recipe. Bourbon in the frosting – heck yeah


Tieghan August 22, 2013 um 5:15 am

THIS IS EPIC! WOW! the cake looks incredible moist and the frosting? Oh my gosh! So deep and chocolatey and fudgy. YUM! It’s stunning!1

Oh and I will now be brining my turkey in beer this year. So excited!


cassie August 22, 2013 um 5:59 am

I can imagine that a nice stout is the perfect ingredient for this cake. And now I can’t wait to brine my Thanksgiving turkey in beer!


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet August 22, 2013 um 1:29 pm

This cake is a show-stopper, Jackie! Love the rich dark chocolate color and the frosting – beyond amazing!!!


Tracy August 22, 2013 um 3:01 pm

Holy cow this cake is amazing!

I’d love to have you share this or any of your amazing posts at our weekly Super Saturday Link Party. It starts Friday’s at 6pm, hope we see you there!



Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen August 22, 2013 um 6:11 pm

What a GORGEOUS cake!!


Ashley – Baker by Nature August 22, 2013 um 9:15 pm

Yes! This cake 100% deserves the word EPIC at the front. P.S. Did you save me a slice…? Cause we’re tight like that, right?!


Belinda @themoonblushbaker August 23, 2013 um 9:26 am

That frosting is prefect! I could down this apiece of this cake in one go.Chocolate stout is my newest obsession and I can not wait to try it out in this recipe


Dina August 23, 2013 um 9:55 am

that is a beautiful chocolate cake. would like a piece right now!


Mike Bowman August 24, 2013 um 2:39 am

Thank you! looks so good, love the frosting.


Emily September 2, 2013 um 12:41 pm

These are fabulous! however, I don’t have the pans for layer cakes so I made cupcakes and now I have a ton of batter left over. Any ideas for storage of the batter? How long it will keep in the fridge or if it (or extra baked cupcakes) will freeze well? Thanks


Jackie September 2, 2013 um 12:45 pm

Glad you liked it! I believe it will freeze, although I haven’t tried it. Put the batter in a gallon sized ziplock bag, get as much air out as you can and freeze. Then when you want to use it again just thaw and cut the corner off the bottom of the bag and squeeze it into the cupcake pans. Not 100% sure of how it will taste after being frozen, but it’s worth a shot!


Sheyla M September 9, 2013 um 7:46 am

Hi! Loving your blog all the way from the Dominican Republic 🙂

Question: sadly chocolate stout is not available here. Can I make this with regular stout or will it affect taste too much?

Tnx in advance.


Jackie September 9, 2013 um 9:03 am

Regular stout will work just fine 🙂


Sheyla M September 9, 2013 um 8:37 pm

thank you! Will be doing this soon! Today I made the Pilsner Lemon cake, very yummy but the center caved in while baking so I might need to play around with oven temp I guess…



marilynr September 9, 2013 um 3:19 pm

I made this cake last weekend for my DH’s homebrew club meeting. It was a hit!! I have gotten so many compliments for it. I always refer people to your website, and let them know you are working on a cookbook. Kudos to you!


Jackie September 9, 2013 um 3:52 pm

Oh good! Thank you so much Marilyn!


Dana September 16, 2013 um 7:23 pm

I really want to make this for a friends birthday! My only concern is that children will be present! Is this okay for children to eat or will they get drunk off the frosting?


Jackie September 16, 2013 um 7:35 pm

If you’re concerned, you can replace the bourbon with milk or cream. Or you can make a 2 layer cake with 12 cupcakes (the batter makes a 3 layer cake OR 2 layer cake and 12 cupcakes) for the kids and make a non alcoholic frosting for the kids cupcakes.


Desiree March 9, 2019 um 11:39 am

I have a question, I’m making this cake and I used 12 fl oz of stout but the batter is nothing but liquid. Is that right?


Jackie March 11, 2019 um 10:29 am

yes, that’s right


Sara October 4, 2013 um 7:05 am

I made this cake last night. It’s absolutely divine! But my frosting is quite lighter in color than the one in the photo. Is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Thanks!


Jackie October 4, 2013 um 9:00 am

Glad you liked it! The only thing I
Can think of is that maybe you used a chocolate with a much lower cocoa content than I did. But if it tasted good, that’s the important part!


Charlotte October 5, 2013 um 5:25 pm

Thanks for sharing! This was really really good and tall. it was a big hit. thank you


Suzy October 11, 2013 um 11:21 am


I really want to make this, but it’s a lot of cake. Would it work if I halved it or if I make the 2 layer cake and the 12 cupcakes, would the cupcakes keep for a few extra days unfrosted?


Jackie October 11, 2013 um 1:30 pm

You can actually freeze cake batter for later. Here is a great post about it on The Kitchn


Suzy October 14, 2013 um 7:26 am

Awesome thank you!


nikki October 15, 2013 um 12:52 pm

hey! this recipe looks amazing. i’m making it for a friend’s birthday. i’m not an experienced baker and i have a question, i can’t seem to get the butter and sour cream to get light and fluffy. it gets lumpy, like cottage cheese. i thought i had softened the butter enough, but maybe not? should i let the sour cream get to room temp? any advice would be great. thanks so much! LOVE your website!


Jackie October 15, 2013 um 2:43 pm

That’s because the butter was too cold. I’ve totally done that before. The butter has to be room temperature and almost warm. You can beat it on its own for 5 to 8 minutes to speed up the process but before you add anything else it has to be warm.


nikki October 15, 2013 um 2:59 pm

Thanks so much!


jennifer August 29, 2014 um 7:48 am

Is there a way to save it if this happens?


Jackie August 29, 2014 um 10:16 am

You can try to beat it on high for 5 minutes, sometimes that works


Ambar October 26, 2013 um 8:51 am

I’m a bit confused as to how much sugar to use for the cake. Is it 3/4 of a cup or is it 3 cups and a 1/4?


Jackie October 26, 2013 um 8:59 am

3 and 1/4 cups


Ambar October 26, 2013 um 9:10 am

Oops. I used only 3/4 of a cup and it’s already in the oven. Is there anything I can do now?


Jackie October 26, 2013 um 10:02 am

It’s going to be super bitter. you can try to make a heavy simple syrup (use 2 cups sugar and 1 cup really hot water, stir until the sugar has dissolved) and then drizzle it over the cake. You’ll have to refrigerate it so that it sets without becoming a crumbly mess. And up the sugar in the frosting and to balance it out a bit. Let me know how it goes!


Ambar October 26, 2013 um 1:25 pm

So….i added the simple syrup and served it with vanilla ice cream! It was pretty intense in chocolate flavor but not bitter. Not bad 🙂
Will def make again and pay attention next time.
Thanks for your help!

Tosh November 11, 2013 um 10:25 am

What type of flour is used in recipe? Looks amazing thank you!


Jackie November 11, 2013 um 1:10 pm

I’ve used all purpose flour before and I’ve also used a combination of cake flour and AP flour.


Tosh November 11, 2013 um 2:09 pm

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it and plan on bsking it this weekend for an anniversary party! Thanks again!


Carol August 5, 2014 um 7:31 am

What type of flour was my question:)


Jackie August 5, 2014 um 8:37 am

all purpose flour


Jen Langdon February 4, 2014 um 6:39 am

Made this recipe as cupcakes for a party and they were FANTASTIC! Excellent flavor and a big hit. It makes 36 cupcakes though, not 12 (filling the liners 4/5 full). Fortunately there’s no such thing as too many chocolate cupcakes! 🙂


Jackie February 4, 2014 um 10:08 am

So glad you liked it! Yes, it makes a three layer cake OR a two layer cake AND 12 cupcakes or, 36 cupcakes.


Ken Topham March 16, 2014 um 8:06 pm

I was wanting a stout cake for St Patricks Day and this looked perfect. What a gorgeous cake that stood tall and sliced beautifully. It was perfectly moist and the frosting delicious! I’m convinced that Stout is made to bake with as I thought the taste was just plain awful as a drink. The cake was superb. This frosting is amazing and everyone raved about it. Two thumbs up! I’d recommend this recipe to anyone and for any occasion. You don’t even have to tell anyone it has booze in it!


Jackie March 17, 2014 um 4:06 pm

Thank you so much Ken! What a great compliment!


BJ July 26, 2014 um 4:46 pm

I made this cake last night and OMG this is amazing. The frosting has so much flavor. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting has always been my favorite and I would have to say this is one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. Definitely a recipe I will use a lot. Thank you for sharing.


peggy July 27, 2014 um 1:14 pm

I really don’t want to use stout beer. is there something else I can use? regular beer,sprite or something?


Jackie July 27, 2014 um 7:03 pm

This recipe was designed for a stout, Guinness will work fine. But if you don’t want to use a stout, perhaps a different recipe will suit your needs better.


Elizabeth July 31, 2014 um 7:46 pm

I cannot get happier than making-then-eating a chocolate cake, and this is the happiest. I’ve been in ages! One thing I noticed was that it was a little hard to frost–the cake was delicate even though cold from the fridge, with a thin crust on the top. No worries, I used a crumb coat, I’m just wondering if I did something different to make this happen. Should I have let the stout go a little flat,’for example?


jennifer August 25, 2014 um 2:32 pm

What kind of bourbon did you use?
Im not an alcohol drinker (cant stand the stuff really) so I don’t really know what im looking at when i go into a store.


Jackie August 25, 2014 um 2:46 pm

I like Buffalo Trace, it’s usually pretty easy to find and fairly inexpensive.


Julia September 25, 2014 um 8:55 am

I don’t have a stand mixer. Do you think I could use an electric hand mixer?


Jackie September 25, 2014 um 9:01 am

Yes, it’s a big cake so it’ll be harder with a small hand mixer but it will work


Erin November 26, 2014 um 3:39 pm

Oh my goodness, yum! I made this cake and frosting for my sister’s birthday because she is a dark chocolate and craft beer lover and let me just say, woah! I wasn’t sure about the bourbon sour cream dark chocolate frosting combination (I hate drinking bourbon so I imagined eating it in frosting would be no better) but upon sampling it, wow! If only bourbon tasted that good as a drink. The cake itself could win over anyone. It is super moist, extremely delicious, and about as chocolatey as one could want without being overly sweet like most boxed cake mixes. Put the two together and hold onto your hats! I am so glad that as the chef I got to make a sampling cupcake to make sure it was birthday ready, what a delicious pre birthday sampling. Best stout cake recipe I have had yet, and I have had a lot (I’m just as big of a fan of dark chocolate and craft beer). Next, I am making the wheat beer honey rolls, lets hope those are just as wonderful!


Nicole November 30, 2014 um 9:12 am

What brand of chocolate stout did you use?


Jackie November 30, 2014 um 4:07 pm

I’ve used several. Most commonly I use Bison Chocolate Stout or Rogue Chocolate stout


Kay December 10, 2014 um 7:06 pm

Hi! I can’t wait to make this for my beer-lover boyfriend’s birthday. My question is can you use "bourbon whiskey" if the recipe calls for just bourbon? I have a bottle that says "Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey." Just not sure of the difference. Thanks!


Jackie December 10, 2014 um 8:56 pm

Yes, use that! Hope he loves it 🙂


Kelly December 20, 2014 um 7:20 am

I’m a bartender and cupcake baker so I knew I wanted to try this one out asap. The notes didn’t lie, this was a giant cake recipe- be prepared to spend a few hours on this one. I had a lot left over and still managed to take 24 cupcakes to my holiday party. Typically, I make my cupcakes oil based and with cake flour so they have a much softer mouthfeel to them than butter-based cupcakes do. But I was convinced the sour cream and stout would do the trick. Unfortunately, the cakes still came out a bit more butter-cake-like- stiffer and a little crumbly. However, it had an amazing flavor and I enjoyed drinking the leftover chocolate stout. I had similar issues with the frosting… delicious and decadent, but super hard to use. The recipe says to put it in the fridge to set for an hour, which stiffened mine to the point that I had to use an ice cream scooper to get it on the cupcakes.- not the cutest cupcakes, but pretty decadent. I tried softening it and using it in a pastry bag but it just came out in little tootsie-roll sized lumps. In any case, my kitchen was covered in frosting, my lips with chocolate, and in my hands, the last 6 oz of the organic chocolate stout – a pretty good day. If you have any suggestions on how to adapt this recipe to be a little more cupcake friendly, I’d love to hear! Thanks for the recipe.


Andi December 20, 2014 um 8:22 pm

We just made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. When we started we did not think that we would be making 40 cupcakes but they were the best chocolate cake we have had in a long time. We put our own little twist on it, we infused the bourbon with cherries and it was worth it. This takes a lot of patience but the pay off is unremarkable.Thanks for a great recipe.


Bob December 30, 2014 um 11:33 am

I made this cake this weekend, excellent, but frosting was very hard to work with even without refrigerating it. It was just too thick and hard. What would make it creamier and easier to spread? thanks.


Jackie December 30, 2014 um 12:11 pm

Add a bit more liquid or heat it just a bit.


Michele November 10, 2015 um 7:39 am

I’ve got a few bottles of chocolate stout that I’ve been hiding, er… *saving* for something extra special and THIS is it! What an incredible recipe. I absolutely can’t wait to taste it!


Jon July 20, 2016 um 11:03 am

Made this last night and it is awesome! A slice of this with a scoop of ice cream and who need dinner, HA! Excellent party cake cause it makes a BIG cake, but totally worth the effort. Thanks for all the recipes 😀


Jackie July 20, 2016 um 11:32 am

So glad you liked it!


Lynsey Rost July 27, 2016 um 9:50 pm

I was so excited to find this recipe for my beer loving hubby’s 30th birthday this weekend! I bake semi professionally, so Im fairly experienced, but Im having a hard time getting this cake to cook through! I am making a rather tall cake, so I decided to use 6 inch pans and even used a heating core just in case. They took FAR longer to bake through than the 20-25 minutes listed in the recipe, which I know specifies to use 9 inch pans, but a 6 inch should cook faster, right?? More like 45 minutes. My oven is calibrated correctly and I used all appropriate amounts of ingredients. I read through the comments and havent seen any one else indicating this issue…any idea what happened??


Jackie July 28, 2016 um 11:26 am

So sorry it isn’t working for you! Although 6 inch is smaller, it’s often deeper, which will increase the cooking time. It may take longer to cook, but it should be just fine. Hope it worked out!


Timmary August 15, 2016 um 12:32 pm

Hi there! I’m a huge fan of this cake and have made it several times. I’m making my birthday cake and want to use this recipe but I’m trying to incorporate Scotch whiskey in the cake not just the frosting. Any suggestions on how to possibly do this without screwing up this already fabulous recipe?


Jackie August 15, 2016 um 1:06 pm

If you want to get a bit of whiskey flavor in it try making a whiskey simple syrup and brushing that on top of the cooled cake layers before assembling and frosting. Just add 1 cup hot water, 2 shots whiskey, and 1/2 cup sugar, stir until the sugar dissolves. Use a pastry brush to brush the syrup on the layers. Chill until cold (this will help them stay together when assembling), then layer and frost.


Moncia September 15, 2016 um 10:30 am

Can you freeze the frosting in advance? I just made this cake for my son’s wedding. I am about to freeze it and would like to get the frosting done in advance, too. (it’s a week away) I’m planning on frosting once there. (it’s only for 25 people) THank you in advance!


Jackie September 15, 2016 um 10:44 am

Yep, you can freeze it. Just make sure to bring it to room temp before you use it. Here is an article about it:


Monica October 18, 2016 um 4:57 pm

Dear Jackie, I just wanted to THANK YOU!!! for this amazing recipe! Best wedding cake ever. Everyone loved it! Freezing the cake and frosting a week in advance helped incredibly! I should have given a bit more time to thaw the frosting then just overnight but even then, I worked it and the end result was fabulous! (in spite of my lack of expertise!) Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Jackie October 18, 2016 um 5:55 pm

That’s so awesome! I’m so glad to hear, thank you for sharing.


Beth November 16, 2016 um 5:22 pm

Hey Jackie,
I’m very excited to attempted this bad boy on Saturday for my father’s 60’s. Now I wanted to look and see if I had some of the ingredients already and noticed I have 100% bakers chocolate. Will It suffice or will it throw off the flavour?
Also would a chocolate milk stout work?! Thanks so much


Jackie November 17, 2016 um 9:01 am

100% bakers chocolate doesn’t have any dairy, fat or sugar so the cake will be much more bitter. But here is an article about how to convert your bakers chocolate into bittersweet chocolate. I’ve never done it, but in theory it should work fine


Amy C. December 12, 2016 um 9:08 am

Thank you! I made this on Saturday for a birthday, and it was amazing. People who weren’t eating cake because they’re on low carb diets loved it. People who hate chocolate loved it. people who don’t usually like cake loved it. EVERYBODY loved it. The cake has such wonderful flavor and texture, and the frosting, while not particularly bourbony, was perfect.


Valerie October 21, 2017 um 11:58 pm

I just finished making this for my friend’s birthday and it was a hit! Thank you for the amazing recipe. I wish my photos were as good as yours. I think chocolate stout is my new favorite beer.


Gideon February 3, 2018 um 2:08 am

I’ve tried at least 5 different chocolate cake recipes trying to find the perfect one for my nieces wedding cake…and I’ve finally found the one!!! WOOOOW! I tried half a recipe tonight and it fit perfectly into two 8″ pans….the texture was exactly what I was looking for…fudgey and dense…and full of chocolates goodness!! I used some 90% Lindt chocolate and I was worried it would be too bitter…but it came out amazing! Didn’t try the frosting however, since she wants an espresso Buttercream filling and it matched perfectly with the Swiss Meringue Espresso Buttercream I made earlier…just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing such a great recipe!!!!


Adam Powers February 12, 2018 um 6:54 am

I made this cake last weekend for my partner’s 45th birthday. My partner is the biggest chocolate cake lover around!!!The cake that was shared with guest was gone in no time. Later that night after the guest had left, he mentioned how great the cake was and wished there was more. He has a sweet tooth. I went out to the refrigerator, out in garage, and retrieved another chocolate cake. He was on cloud nine. I cut him a huge slice!!! I knew the first cake would not last long, so I made another cake just for him. Now I know a way to a man’s heart: his stomach full of chocolate cake!! Thank you Baroness for posting this Great Recipe!!


Jackie February 12, 2018 um 10:19 am

I love that! You’re such a good partner <3


Lauren Poulton July 3, 2018 um 2:53 am

LOVE your recipes but would LOVE them even more if they were easily converted to metric! I’d just rather not have to do extra maths before baking!


Jackie July 3, 2018 um 10:15 am

I love metric so much more! Most of my newer recipes have both. When I cook for myself, I prefer metric. I just wish the USA was on board with it!


Irina August 13, 2018 um 12:37 pm

Hello Jackie! What espresso powder do you use? Will the taste be too much changed if I won’t add it?


Jackie August 13, 2018 um 1:04 pm

I just use medaglia d’oro, it’s pretty easy to find in the coffee section of most grocery stores. It gives the chocolate flavor a boost, you can’t taste coffee at all.


Sara October 1, 2018 um 6:01 am

The only recipe requested! I’ve been baking this cake for about 7 years. It never fails to amaze even the true chocolate lovers! My Mother had a bakery and always made her cakes ahead of time and froze them. I’ve followed her lead for years and frosting a cake when it’s 20% still frozen really locks in the moisture and makes it easier to frost. This is the only cake my nephew requested for his wedding! Note to other bakers: Do not double this recipe, make each recipe separate. Pour yourself a glass of stout and get baking! Thank you for this awesome recipe, it’s made a lot of people very happy!


Jackie October 1, 2018 um 11:20 am

Thank you so much! Great advice for bakers, I’ll have to try the frozen cake trick next time 🙂


Cindy O’Donnell May 22, 2019 um 8:38 am

Question: I have all the ingredients to make this except the canola oil…can I sub coconut oil?


Jackie May 22, 2019 um 9:08 am

Yes, that should work fine. You can also use any kind of vegetable oil


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