A photo of a chocolate cake with white frosting on a white plate with a hand reaching for a slice.

About This Chocolate Stout Cake With Irish Cream Frosting

This chocolate stout cake is super chocolatey, moist, and fudgy thanks to chocolate stout beer! The best part? The recipe comes together super quickly, with minimal equipment. No stand mixer required; all you need are a few bowls and a whisk! The cake is then topped with an easy American buttercream frosting flavored with Irish cream.

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this chocolate stout cake with Irish cream frosting:

This chocolate stout cake with Irish cream frosting is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert recipe.

For St. Patrick’s Day this year, I wanted to bake a classic Irish dessert. After researching the best Irish desserts for St. Patrick’s Day, I saw that chocolate stout cakes were frequently mentioned on various lists and recipe ideas. So I decided to give it a try for myself!

I loved the results. Why? Stout beer pairs well with chocolate cake, giving it a deeper, almost mocha-like flavor. To balance out its intensity, I topped the cake with a tangy and boozy Irish cream cream frosting. It was delicious!

The recipe comes together super quickly with minimal equipment.

This is probably one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make. Why? The cake batter comes together in just 10 minutes. All you need to do is melt the butter, add the stout and cocoa powder, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients. That’s it! No stand mixer necessary.

Assembling and decorating the cake is a breeze too. The frosting comes together in just 5 minutes, and there’s no need to assemble multiple layers like you would a double or triple layer cake. The most time consuming part of the recipe involves waiting for the cake to cool to frost it!

The cake stores well.

Because this cake uses a generous amount of stout beer in addition to sour cream, it stays fresh and moist for days. In fact, I like its flavors and textures best the day after it’s been baked. I find that the stout beer flavor and Irish cream flavors become more pronounced!

A close up photo of chocolate cake slices on a white plate with gold forks.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make this boozy chocolate stout cake, here’s everything you need to make the recipe:

Shopping List For Chocolate Stout Cake With Irish Cream Frosting

  • unsalted butter
  • stout beer
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • sour cream
  • large eggs
  • cream cheese
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • Irish cream

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Common Ingredient Substitutions For The Recipe

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the recipe:

  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste.

  • Cocoa Powder. I recommend using Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the cake recipe; doing so makes a cake that is deep, dark black like a chocolate stout. However, in a pinch, you can use natural unsweetened cocoa powder too! Your cake will just come out a lighter brown, reddish color. Learn more below.

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the brownies gluten-free!

  • Kosher Salt. You can replace the kosher salt in the cake and frosting recipes with half of its amount in table salt.

  • Sour Cream. You can substitute the sour cream with crème fraîche or plain unsweetened regular or Greek yogurt without any noticeable difference in taste.

  • Irish Cream. I used Bailey’s Irish Cream to make the frosting. But if you want to skip the booze, feel free to replace it with the cream, milk, or plant-based dairy alternative of your choice! If you do so, I recommend throwing in ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract for more flavor.

Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

You need ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder to make the chocolate stout cake.

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder versus Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder, when used in baking recipes, often comes in two varieties: natural unsweetened, and Dutch-processed.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder is more typical and is cocoa powder in its purest form. It is slightly reddish brown in color and results in deeply flavored chocolate goods. Because it is slightly acidic, it is often paired with baking soda in baking recipes to help create a chemical reaction that will cause the baked good to rise in the oven.

Dutch-processed cocoa powder is natural unsweetened cocoa powder that’s been treated with alkaline to neutralize its acidity, giving it a darker color and milder flavor. It is the cocoa powder that is used for making midnight-black baked goods like Oreos.

A photo of a chocolate cake with white frosting and a moist crumb.

How To Make The Recipe

Here are the basic steps to make this chocolate stout cake recipe from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the chocolate stout cake and Irish cream frosting. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)

  2. Make the chocolate stout cake batter. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  3. Bake the chocolate stout cake. (Bake Time: 37 minutes)

  4. When the cake is cool, make the Irish cream frosting. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    The cake needs to be cooled completely before topping with frosting. If you frost it while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off the cake!

  5. Assemble the cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

Best Recipe Tips

How To Customize The Recipe’s Pan Size

  • I used a 9-inch round cake pan to make my chocolate stout cake. However, you can use other alternatives like a 9-inch square pan, as well as an 8-inch round cake pan OR an 8-inch square pan.

    The 9-inch square pan will have the same Bake Time as the round cake pan; however, I would check for doneness 5 minutes earlier than what’s listed in the recipe below to be on the safe side. The 8-inch cake pans will probably need a few more minutes of Bake Time (Why? You’re basically cramming in the same amount of batter in a smaller pan). I would check for doneness at the 40 minute mark, then add 2 to 3 minutes from there.

How To Fit The Recipe Into Any Schedule

  • The cake needs to be cooled completely before topping with frosting. If you frost it while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off the cake!

    If you want to make sure your cake is completely cooled, make it a day ahead of frosting and serving. I recommend this anyway because overnight, its chocolate stout flavors deepen and intensify. Follow the recipe instructions to bake and cool the cake. Then, turn it out of its pan and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Store on the counter at room temperature overnight. The next day, follow the instructions to make the frosting and assemble the cake.

More Simple Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Stout Cake With Irish Cream Frosting Recipe

This chocolate stout cake with Irish cream frosting makes a super chocolatey, moist, and fudgy cake that comes together in just 10 minutes with just a few bowls and a whisk! 
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Ingredients

For The Chocolate Stout Cake

  • ¾ cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) stout beer
  • ¾ cup (2.25 ounces or 64 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if necessary
  • 1 ⅓ cups (9.35 ounces or 265 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (6.75 ounces or 191 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

For The Irish Cream Frosting

  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (6 ounces or 170 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if necessary
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish cream
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for garnish

Instructions
 

For The Chocolate Stout Cake

  • Prep the oven and baking pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle. Spray the parchment, too.
  • Melt the butter, then whisk in the stout and cocoa powder. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir regularly to prevent the butter from getting too hot—at no point should the butter sizzle, crackle, or pop.
    Remove from heat and whisk in the stout beer and cocoa powder. Mix until smooth and combined.  Cool slightly on a wire rack while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, and egg yolk.
  • Whisk the chocolate stout mixture into the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture while whisking continuously to combine. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the batter all at once and use a rubber spatula to mix until just combined.
  • Assemble the cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
  • Bake the cake. Bake for 37 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake bounces back when gently pressed and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached.
    Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For The Irish Cream Frosting

  • Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld electric beater, beat the cream cheese on medium-low until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    With the mixer on low, add the confectioners’ sugar, Irish cream, and salt. Beat on medium-low for 1 minute to combine, then beat on medium-high until the frosting is creamy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

Assembly

  • Assemble the cake. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the frosting onto the top of the cake.
    Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the top of the cake, then make large, random sweeping motions across the frosting. The sweeping motions will create swirls.
    Garnish with cocoa powder.
  • Serve and store. Serve immediately.
    The assembled cake can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. Press a sheet of plastic wrap against any cut surfaces to prevent the cake from drying out. After that, cover the entire cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • I used a 9-inch round cake pan to make my chocolate stout cake. However, you can use other alternatives like a 9-inch square pan, as well as an 8-inch round cake pan OR an 8-inch square pan. The 9-inch square pan will have the same Bake Time as the round cake pan; however, I would check for doneness 5 minutes earlier than what’s listed in the recipe below to be on the safe side. The 8-inch cake pans will probably need a few more minutes of Bake Time (Why? You’re basically cramming in the same amount of batter in a smaller pan). I would check for doneness at the 40 minute mark, then add 2 to 3 minutes from there.  
  • The cake needs to be cooled completely before topping with frosting. If you frost it while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off the cake! If you want to make sure your cake is completely cooled, make it a day ahead of frosting and serving. I recommend this anyway because overnight, its chocolate stout flavors deepen and intensify. Follow the recipe instructions to bake and cool the cake. Then, turn it out of its pan and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Store on the counter at room temperature overnight. The next day, follow the instructions to make the frosting and assemble the cake.
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Weeknight Baking:
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Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.