Chocolate Stout Cake is an easy 8 inch one layer chocolate cake with stout beer ganache. Make it with Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day!

8 Inch Chocolate Stout Cake
Even though I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years now (!!!), I still discover recipes I haven’t shared with you yet.

Ones I’ve been making for years and years without missing a beat. Those tried and true recipes everyone asks for.

This 8 Inch Chocolate Stout Cake with Stout Beer Ganache is one of them.

I’ve been making this cake in honor of St. Patrick’s Day for years, adapted from none other than Nigella Lawson.

She’s a famous English cookbook author who knows a thing or two about Guinness since its storehouse is in Ireland.

It’s a moist, fudgy chocolate cake made with stout beer and chocolate chips.

Even though I’ve done two layer cakes in the past, I wanted to do a one layer chocolate cake.

Sometimes you’re in the mood for cake but don’t want to fuss with all the extra work and layers; you want to eat it now, not tomorrow.

You also don’t want to be stuck with double the cake. Making a single cake is the best of both worlds: cake you can eat now without the extra layer.

The best part is how incredibly easy it is to serve.

Unmold the cake from its pan; melt together chocolate, cream, and beer; then pour it all over the cake. Wait about 15 minutes for it to harden then voila! Time for cake.

8 Inch Chocolate Cake with stout beer

Is chocolate good with beer?

Beer pairs well with chocolate because it enhances the chocolate flavor, much like how salt brings out natural flavors in cooking.

You can also taste the stout as a subtle background note, which in simplest terms tastes awesome with chocolate.

Does chocolate stout cake contain alcohol?

Given there’s beer in the cake, yes this 8 inch cake contains alcohol.

However, the beer bakes off in the oven, leaving behind the taste without the alcohol effects.

You won’t get drunk and you can technically serve this to anyone, but there is still a small bit of beer left behind.

That means don’t serve this cake to anyone abstaining from alcohol.

What can I substitute for beer in chocolate cake?

Although it wouldn’t be a beer cake without beer, you can substitute coffee for the beer.

Don’t drink coffee either? You can use water, but please note the batter won’t be as flavorful.

Chocolate Stout Cake with Beer Ganache

What size pan do I need for Chocolate Stout Cake?

You will need an 8 inch round cake pan (affiliate link) as directed because it may be too thin in a 9 inch pan.

However, if the 9 inch pan is your only option, test for doneness a few minutes sooner so you don’t accidentally overbake it.

If you’re looking for a smaller cake, check out my Mini Chocolate Guinness Cake. Same recipe but baked in 4 inch pans.

Chocolate Cake with Guinness

How To Make Chocolate Stout Cake

This chocolate stout cake batter is different than most chocolate cakes because you melt everything together on the stove rather than in the mixer, similar to how brownie batter is made.

First, melt together the butter and beer. Then whisk in the sugar and cocoa along with the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.

Finally, switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Transfer the batter to your pan then bake at 350F for roughly 18-20 minutes.

Chocolate Stout Cake for St. Patrick's Day

What is beer ganache?

For the frosting, I made a beer ganache – a chocolate glaze made by melting chocolate and heavy cream together.

However, I wanted to keep with the stout theme, so I swapped out half of the cream for beer.

I did try it with all beer, but it didn’t work. You need at least some cream to help it set correctly.

For more information, learn how to make ganache (complete with step by step photos).

How is ganache different from frosting?

Ganache is made a bit differently than buttercream frosting, but the end result is much more silky and elegant.

Buttercream is made from beating together butter and powdered sugar.

Ganache is made by stirring together chocolate and heavy cream until the chocolate melts. After pouring over your cake, it’ll firm up into a soft glaze.

Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Does ganache harden?

The ratio of chocolate to liquid determines how soft the ganache will be.

In this beer ganache recipe, it’s a 1:1 ratio, which means it will firm up into a thick glaze but still have a soft bite like a frosting.

Refrigerating is not required, but if it’s a warm day where it’s making a hot mess, you might need to chill it before cutting.

8 Inch Chocolate Guinness Cake

How long does chocolate stout cake last?

Assuming you don’t eat it all in one sitting (ha), stout cake will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

Can I freeze beer cake?

Yes, you can freeze beer cake, both before and after frosting.

Place the cake on a baking sheet or plate and freeze uncovered for 1 hour or until firm.

Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place inside a freezer-proof plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

More Stout Recipes

Got extra beer? Check out these recipes using stout beer:

Chocolate Stout Cake (8 Inch)

Chocolate Stout Cake (8 Inch)

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Chocolate Stout Cake is an easy 8 inch one layer chocolate cake with stout beer ganache. Make it with Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day!


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) stout beer (or substitute coffee for non-alcoholic)
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces, 58 grams, or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (68 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons full-fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (155 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Stout Beer Ganache

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons stout beer (or substitute more heavy cream for non alcoholic)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt together the beer and butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in cocoa and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Gradually beat in some of the hot batter to temper the egg then add everything back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt then stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the batter to the pan then bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (some crumbs are ok but it shouldn't be a wet batter). Cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before covering with ganache.
  6. For the ganache: Add the chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and beer until hot but not boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and wait 1 minute. Stir together until completely smooth.
  7. Immediately pour the ganache over the cooled cake then evenly distribute with an offset spatula. Let the chocolate firm up before serving.


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Source: Adapted from Nigella Lawson