The Snake Bite

By • January 28, 2010 94 Comments

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Author Notes: This cake was inspired by the oh-so-tasty concoction of lager and cider known as a 'snake bite.' For the cake, I've replaced the lager with a stout, and have opted for fermented pear cider in place of the more traditional apple. The ever-so-slightly effervescent pear cider cream cheese frosting swoons contentedly upon a truly dark, rich, and delicious chocolate stout cake. I think you'll like it.arielleclementine

Food52 Review: The Snake Bite is a heady chocolate stout cake with a sprightly cream cheese frosting that's been laced with hard pear cider. We have only two things to say: 1) arielleclementine is a genius. 2) Where has this cake been all our lives?The Editors

Makes one nine-inch cake

For the Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup Guinness Extra Stout, at room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fermented pear cider (I like Ace's)
  • 1 dried pear slice, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a nine-inch round cake pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Then whisk in melted butter and Guinness. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Put the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the pear cider and mix until the frosting comes together. Let the frosting set up a bit in the refrigerator until the cake is ready to frost.
  5. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a platter. Spread the icing on top of the cake, taking care to push it all the way to the edges. Garnish with a slice of dried pear and enjoy with a glass of pear cider!

More Great Recipes: Cheese & Dairy|Chocolate|Cakes|Desserts

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Comments (94) Questions (8)


10 months ago Ash King

Cake was a hit! Rich, moist and delicious and the icing was perfect. I garnished the cake with some poached pears and it was divine. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


over 1 year ago Synky

Really great cake! What I did was double the cake recipe to create two layers (more goodness) and kept the frosting amount the same (was definitely plenty). The cake was moist and just the right amount of sweet (not very) and the frosting was veeeery tasty! Thank you for sharing the recipe!


over 1 year ago pascale721

Can't wait to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing arielleclementine!!!


almost 2 years ago neighome

I make this for a party last night, and it was a hit. The cake was very moist and chocolatey. As written, the frosting is perfect for quick, top of the cake only, hint of cider loveliness. But it was rather loose for the layer cake I had in mind. I doubled the cake recipe, made a simple chocolate ganache to fill the layers, and added quite a bit more powdered sugar to the frosting to stiffen it up. It worked perfectly. I did love the cider flavor, but i wished it were a little more pronounced. Just adding more cider would make the frosting too loose. Next time I will try to boil down a larger volume of cider to see if I am able to get a more concentrated flavor.


almost 2 years ago bebe le perche

made this last night. variations: red IPA instead of guinness & grated nutmeg in the batter and my frosting was whipped cream cheese with creme fraiche, rum, lime zest and maple syrup.


almost 2 years ago Janelle

I made this cake a few days ago for my boyfriend.

First off, the actual cake was delicious. Especially if you're washing it down with the rest of the Guinness.

The frosting..not so much. I'm sorry but, a whole stick of butter? It made the entire thing just taste like butter. I couldn't even taste the cream cheese. I even triple checked that I was making it correctly. It just did not deliver as a frosting and I actually threw it out because it made me gag. Yikes.

The cake was wonderful. I will be making it again, I may just have to modify the frosting a bit.


almost 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Not sure "it made me gag" is necessary. In fact it is unkind. Perhaps "it wasn't to my liking, I will cut back on the butter next time". Think about if this was your recipe.


almost 2 years ago Heather

Okay mom!


over 2 years ago Derek Price

i'm going to try this, the idea is FANTASTIC


over 2 years ago Nancy Quattrone-Payne

Here is the Snake bite cake we're having for Jeremiah's Birthday tonight


over 2 years ago arielleclementine

I hope you enjoy it!


almost 3 years ago klloch

I cannot get Aces or any brand of pear cider for the frosting...suggestions for substitutions?


almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

thanks for making my cake! the pear cider flavor is nice, but pretty subtle so you could easily substitute hard apple cider, or you could switch it up and use any pale ale (like bass) and call it a black-and-tan cake. happy baking!


over 3 years ago Boofimus

First off, I really REALLY like the cake. It's very moist, and very fudgy, without feeling like it's under done. It had a lovely even top (dodgy electric oven in a student house means that this is a serious serious rarity for me!)

The fall down for me was the icing. Round one: horrible gooey mess that wouldn't set. Left it in the fridge for over an hour before I gave up and tried to pour some on anyway, only to find it had (apparently) split. Disaster. Made the whole thing look like cat vomit :(

So cake number 1 got mashed up to make cake pops, because there was really no disguising the icky nearly frosting.

But I loved the cake, and I'd promised it to work colleagues. So I ran out to Tesco ten minutes before closing and started again. No time to cook a whole 9 inch cake before bed (and I couldn't bear washing up my tin twice!) so this time I used the same recipe to do 12 cup cakes. 22 minutes ish - perfect. I had been planning to just make up some basic cream cheese frosting. And then I thought I'd try your recipe again sans cider (because I'd foolishly drunk the rest of the cider and didn't want to waste another can!).

Same icky lumpy mess. Now at this point I should specify that as an impoverished student I don't have a fancy mixer: I beat by hand. And I finally realised that the mix wasn't splitting: it was tiny tiny lumps of cream cheese that I just couldn't beat out. So off I went (and it's 23:00 BST here in the UK!) to borrow a mixer. And after beating the hell out of my lumpy bowl of sugary cream cheese.... ta da! Frosting! Kind of wish I'd opened the perry now but never mind, there's always a next time.

This will be a staple chocolate cake now I think... But maybe I'll leave the frosting until I own a mixer!


over 3 years ago Shalini

This cake recipe really reminds me of Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guiness cake, which is one of our family's favourites ( However I like your idea for a pear cider frosting, delicious!


over 3 years ago arielleclementine

I agree that the cakes look similar, but my chocolate cake is actually an adaptation of this recipe: I streamlined it and played with the ratios of beer and chocolate to make it a more boozy cake. I did not know about Nigella's cake when I wrote this recipe. I frosted it in the easiest way possible (top only) because I wanted an easy weeknight cake, without having to do any fussy decorating, or worrying about crumbs getting into the frosting. I think if you compare any chocolate stout cake to any other, you're likely to see a pretty similar ingredient list.


over 3 years ago Saccharine

Just made one with leftover cream cheese frosting and Lager beer from new year, it's delicious! Had a big piece and I think I have to postpone my diet plan till tommorow:P
Thanks for the recipe!


over 3 years ago big-andy

I live in Iowa City; the home of the University of Iowa. Go Hawks! The team colors are black and gold. I made this cake for a fall football tailgate party and it was delicious. Super moist. Let's post more black and gold food, folks!


over 3 years ago cookinbklyn

Question, is it 1 egg or 2? The ingredient list says 1, but in the directions below it it is plural (eggs).


over 3 years ago arielleclementine

sorry for the typo! it's just one egg.


over 3 years ago GoodFoodie

Wowee! Awesome chocolate cake. Didn't have pear cider but it was fab anyway. And Dunkelweizen works just as well as stout.


over 3 years ago monkeymom

So yeah and so yum! Congrats!


over 3 years ago melomel

I'm looking forward to converting this recipe into cupcakes!


over 3 years ago JORJ

will you let us know how that goes? I'm going to try the same tomorrow night and would love some guidance. I figure I will just be super-vigilant at the oven.


over 3 years ago Boofimus

I just did this successfully. 12 large cupcakes (using a standard 12-hole muffin / yorkshire pudding tin), kept the temp the same, pulled them out at about 22 minutes.


over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations on the wildcard win, I really need to make this cake!!


over 3 years ago dymnyno

Congratulations on a sweet wildcard win!


over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

HURRAH I am so happy this got a wild card - I make this cake a LOT and seriously, someone steals half of it wherever I take it so they can have it all to themselves (and not the same someone every time - it's just that good!!)