Fudgy Chocolate Stout Cake

February 28, 2022
6 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten, prop styling by Molly Fitzsimons, food styling by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 chocoholics or 8 normal people
Author Notes

This is one of the easiest things in the world to bake. These egg-free, dairy-free cakes always fascinate me. In Shirley Corriher’s book BakeWise (which is a great book for the baking-obsessed), she has a similar recipe for Crazy Cake, and she mentions the importance of the water getting to the flour before the oil does, or the cake may not hold together well. Very science-y, but I believe her. So I added my oil at the end. Her method is the mix-in-the-pan kind, but I prefer the separate bowl method, because then you get to lick the bowl, which, after all, is half of the fun of making a cake. This recipe is adapted from the Double Chocolate Cake recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Note that this makes enough batter for a dozen cupcakes; see the directions below.

Vegan notes: Since Guinness is not a vegan beer (they use isinglass in its production, a collagen derived from fish), I substitute Lagunitas Imperial Stout, which is vegan. Or sometimes, I use all coffee for the liquid portion of the recipe. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

If you want to bake this batter in cupcake-form, just bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out slightly moist. Let the cupcakes cool. Frost with your favorite frosting or dip the tops into a simple icing made of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee. Decorate the tops with a fresh coffee bean while the icing is still tacky.

The words "chocolate" and "stout" grabbed me before even I realized this was a no-dairy recipe. I had this crazy notion that the best baked goods involved eggs, but this fantastic cake proved me wrong. Plus, it couldn’t have been easier to make: With the exception of the beer—I used bottled Guinness Extra Stout—all of the ingredients are probably in your pantry, and the batter comes together in minutes. The cake has a surprisingly light texture and deep chocolate flavor with a slightly bitter edge from the stout and coffee. I couldn’t resist a piece barely cooled from the oven, washed down with the rest of the stout. Certainly can't go wrong with that combo! Yum! —Midge

What You'll Need
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup Guinness Stout (not vegan) or Lagunitas Imperial Stout (vegan)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (scant) vegetable oil
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment; lightly spray the parchment. (This is in case you decide to remove the cake from the pan and frost completely. But usually we just frost the top and eat right out of the pan.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift into a large bowl; you'll thank yourself for this extra step later when your cake is free of baking soda lumps (this I know for a fact).
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the espresso, stout, water, vanilla, and vinegar. Add to the flour mixture and stir a few times, then add the oil and continue to stir until smooth and combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out very slightly moist. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
  5. Turn out onto a cake plate or platter. Peel off the parchment and lick off the stuck-on fudgy layer—I won't tell. Dust the cake with the powdered sugar, if using. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Cherry Seelinger
    Cherry Seelinger
  • Hannah Pettett
    Hannah Pettett
  • Niknud
  • Anna

35 Reviews

AntoniaJames September 22, 2023
Love this:”Peel off the parchment and lick off the stuck-on fudgy layer.”
I’m making this for at least one of the upcoming holidays but - though I am certain this cake is epic, meriting inclusion in my “Keeper” collection - I fully intend to make one in advance, “just to be sure” (okay, because I can’t wait until Thanksgiving).
Hope you and yours are all well. ;o)
Dwalter March 17, 2023
Don’t use olive oil. Mine is inedible. Rubbery and tasteless.
Cherry S. March 19, 2021
We made it for St. Patrick's Day. It was soooooo good and sooooo easy to make. 100% recommend!!
asurdove February 6, 2021
Was having my monthly cravings and desperately needed a quick cake!! This was perfect for an 9pm recipe. I used cafe Del Monde chicory coffee I had left over from the morning, Left Hand Imperial Stout for the beer, used all beer instead of water, added a tsp of almond extract to heighten the flavor, cut the sugar to 3/4 cup, and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil since I don't keep anything like that in the house. It came out super fluffy and tall, no sinking issues. I left it right side up, didnt add any powdered sugar and I paired it with some hazelnut gelato and it was perfect!
AntoniaJames September 22, 2022
Did you say Left Hand Imperial Stout? I ride my bike by the Left Hand Brewing Co's brewery several times a week (and live quite close to Left Hand Creek, as well). I like these baker's notes! I'm going to make this cake ASAP, just as you did (assuming I can get a single can of that stout over at Wyatt's). ;o)
Erin April 5, 2019
As of January 2018 all Guinness is now vegan!
Sarah March 25, 2018
Made this for St Patricks Day and it turned out great. Used 3/4 cup stout instead of 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup water. I used guinness extra stout vs the regular kind. It's a super ~moist~ cake which means it kept well too. Great for breakfast as well.
nutcakes July 25, 2017
I whipped this up for a party at the last minute when I didn't have any eggs. Made a double batch and layered it. The batter fills the pan high-ish but it baked up perfectly. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. My egg allergic friend loved it. I frosted it with a chocolate cream cheese icing that used butter, with a splash of leftover strong coffee and some milk to thin it. I didn't even have any stout and it came out fine with just beer. But I will go out of my way to get some next time.
nutcakes July 25, 2017
Oh, I didn't notice the directions to stir the oil in last--I combined it with the other wet ingredients and it came out fine.
Hannah P. February 22, 2016
Could I substitute the vegetable oil with butter? How much would this affect the taste? We're not a vegan family :)
mrslarkin February 22, 2016
I've never used butter, but it should be fine. Melt the butter, so you get similar consistency. Let me know how it turns out!
Niknud September 8, 2015
Beer, espresso and chocolate? It's like you've known me forever.....sigh. Plus, I had no idea that beer could be non-vegan - learn something new every day!
Anna August 2, 2015
I tried this recipe out of despair - with half a bottle of stout left and no sour cream to make my then-favourite recipe. And it worked very well :) I substituted the water with more stout (I *really* needed to get rid of it) and it tastes divine.
Melanie September 29, 2014
Delicious cake! I cut down the white sugar to about 3/4 cup and the cake was still beautifully textured and flavored.
Ekatrina July 25, 2014
I strongly recommend this brother and sister CRAZY chocolate lovers and they finished the cake in less than 10 minutes, then asked me to make it again! Crazy ppl!
Veggielover July 10, 2014
I made this cake because my son made a strong cup of espresso and forgot about it! I used all espresso (instead of 1/2 espresso, 1/2 stout) and served it with a dollop of whipped cream for those who wanted it. Just fabulous. Mocha cake :).
vanillasand February 23, 2013
This cake is lovely! It has a really comforting, boxed-mix (in a great way of course) taste and a light, springy texture. I threw in a couple of floured chocolate chips in there and used vanilla soy milk instead of stout (didn't have any)
mrslarkin February 24, 2013
Thank you, vanillasand! So great to hear. This is our favorite cake!
stephanie March 13, 2012
made this this weekend, and it keeps getting better! so tasty!
mrslarkin March 13, 2012
Steph, that is awesome! Really glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know. Your blog is great!
gingerroot June 19, 2011
I made this for a friend's birthday today and everyone loved it! Surprisingly light and moist, yet perfectly rich without being too sweet, this is my new favorite chocolate cake. Thanks for a great recipe, mrslarkin!
mrslarkin June 19, 2011
You're welcome! So great to hear, gingerroot!! Glad everyone liked the cake!
cheese1227 April 28, 2011
Very rich and delicious -- and Vegan too! Thanks for pulling me out of a jam, Mrs. Larkin.
mrslarkin April 28, 2011
Yay!! So glad it worked out for you, cheese.
gingerroot April 25, 2011
This is my kind of cake...filled with all the good stuff, Guinness, chocolate, espresso!
mrslarkin April 25, 2011
Hee! We love this cake like crazy. thanks gingerroot!
Sagegreen April 20, 2011
Gorgeous, too!
mrslarkin April 21, 2011
Thanks! This one never lasts very long around here.
boulangere April 20, 2011
I used to have an eggless cake recipe several years ago, which of course I've lost or misplaced. And I love the chocolate-stout combination so much. This looks perfect, and your photo is lovely. Isn't Shirley Corriher a gem! Thank you for this.
mrslarkin April 21, 2011
You're so welcome! I heart Shirley.