Fudgy Chocolate Stout Cake

February  7, 2010
5 Ratings
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, (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. I prefer the separate bowl method, because then you get to lick the bowl, which after all, is half the fun of making a cake. Adapted from the Double Chocolate Cake recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Makes enough batter for 1 dozen cupcakes.

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 friendly. Or sometimes, I use all coffee for the liquid portion of the recipe. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

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 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. Yum! - Midge —Midge

  • Serves 2 chocoholics or 8 normal people
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons cocoa powder, not dutched
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Guinness Stout (not vegan) or Lagunitas Imperial Stout (vegan)
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (a scant half-cup)
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set oven rack to middle. Grease an 8” cake pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment and lightly spray the parchment. (This is in case you decide to remove cake from pan and frost completely. But usually we just frost the top and eat it right out of the pan.)
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Now sift it all. You'll thank yourself for this extra step later when your cake is free of baking soda lumps (this I know for fact.)
  3. In a measuring cup, mix together stout, coffee, water, vanilla and vinegar. Stir into the flour mixture a few turns, then add your oil and stir until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Check with cake tester, which should come out very slightly moist. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
  5. Turn out onto cake plate. Peel off the parchment and lick off the stuck-on fudgy layer - I won't tell. Dust cake with powdered sugar, or cover with frosting. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!
  6. Alternatively, this recipe makes 1 dozen cupcakes. Bake for 18 - 23 minutes. Cool cupcakes. Frost with your favorite frosting or dip tops into a simple icing made of confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder and coffee. Decorate top with a fresh coffee bean while icing is still tacky.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cherry Seelinger
    Cherry Seelinger
  • Hannah Pettett
    Hannah Pettett
  • Niknud
  • Anna
  • Melanie

32 Reviews

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!
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 :)
Author Comment
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)
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 25, 2011
Hee! We love this cake like crazy. thanks gingerroot!
Sagegreen April 20, 2011
Gorgeous, too!
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 21, 2011
You're so welcome! I heart Shirley.
Lizthechef April 20, 2011
We'll be over for dessert...
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 21, 2011
Ha! Anytime!
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 21, 2011
P.S. I've got extra Guinness for you.
hardlikearmour December 18, 2010
This sounds really yummy! Too bad my vegan friend doesn't like chocolate.
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 19, 2010
Thanks! This is super easy to throw together. We aren't vegan, but it's my family's favorite chocolate cake.