Chocolate layer cake with Irish spirit.
Chocolate layer cake may not have all the St. Patrick’s Day renown as, say, Irish soda bread or shepherd’s pie. But it certainly tastes extremely good — especially when Guinness counts as the special ingredient. This chocolate Guinness stout cake has all the moist, classic flavor of a great chocolate layer cake, but with an added “something” that’s perfect year ’round, but especially around St. Patrick’s Day.
Why Guinness Stout Works in Chocolate Cake
The tasting notes for stout generally include chocolate, coffee, and malt flavors and aromas. So it makes sense that stout naturally lends itself to chocolate cake: The flavors are highly complementary.
Historically, stout meant a stronger, fuller-bodied — or “stout” — porter. Both porter and stout were, and remain, made from dark roasted grain. Today, the general consensus holds that porters are brewed with roasted malt, and stouts use unmalted roasted barley. The unmalted roasted barley gives stout its typical coffee notes.
Recipes Notes: Chocolate Guinness Stout Cake
- Any stout will do, but Guinness is an affordable, widely-available, and iconic choice
- Note the use of instant espresso powder. Instant espresso powder is a common “secret” ingredient among bakers for chocolate desserts, heightening the flavor of chocolate.
- Here, espresso powder also heightens the flavor of the stout, while brown sugar brings out its molasses notes
- Your cake is done when it springs back to the touch and a cake tester or knife comes out clean
- Cake always tastes better the next day. Make this a day or two in advance, and enjoy with vanilla buttercream, or even plain, dusted with powdered sugar.
Cheers to this special, easy chocolate stout cake.
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Chocolate Stout Layer Cake
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup Irish stout (not counting the foam)
- 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch cake pans.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sifted cocoa powder with a whisk. Set aside.PRO TIP: You must sift the cocoa powder. Otherwise, it will clump impossibly in the cake batter.
- Beat the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until very fluffy and light. Scrape the bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and instant espresso powder. Beat until fluffy and evenly incorporated. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the stout, in three additions: dry, stout, dry. Add the next addition when the previous one is about 75% mixed. Scrape the bowl and stir by hand to fully mix any remaining streaks of flour or stout. The batter should be nice and smooth.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake, rotating once, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops of the cake feel springy, about 30 minutes.
- Cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, run a knife or offset spatula around the cake pan to loosen the cake from the edges, than invert onto the rack to cool fully.