This Chocolate Stout Cake is as delicious as it looks. Who knew Caramel Buttercream could look this gorgeous while still being silky, creamy, and loaded with toffee flavor? . Get ready to dive in!
The mature flavor profile of caramelized sugar and chocolate stout cake is balanced by the playful popcorn on top
No, chocolate stout cake doens’t taste like beer. Like when we add coffee or instant espresso to chocolate cake, stout adds a deep richness to chocolate cake.
The complex and truly chocolate flavors stay moist and rich with the help of sour cream and will curb all your chocolate cravings.
- All-purpose flour
- Sour Cream - for extra moistness
- Stout beer - like Guinness
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Instant espresso powder
- Light corn syrup
- Heavy cream
- Confectioners' sugar
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
- Three, 6-inch cake pans
- Large saucepan
- Electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer)
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Offset spatula
- General kitchen tools (measuring spoons, bowls, etc).
This caramel buttercream is everything we ever wanted to slather on our cakes. It has those deep caramel notes without being overly sweet. Most caramel frosting recipes start with a plain buttercream mixed with caramel sauce.
The problem here is that the more caramel sauce you add, the sweeter the buttercream becomes and the more it becomes difficult to work with. There will always be a trade off: not enough caramel flavor or a buttercream that is ridiculously sweet.
Until now! You no longer have to sacrifice that coveted caramel flavor when it comes to buttercream. This caramel buttercream starts with homemade caramel sauce that is then whipped into silky buttercream.
As you cook the sugar, make sure it turns a medium-deep amber color. The darker the color, the richer the flavor! This offsets the sweetness of the confectioners’ sugar that helps thicken the sauce and turn it into a spreadable frosting.
Making the Buttercream
Time plays an important role when making this buttercream. Caramel sauce thickens tremendously as it cools.
Adding cold butter to the warm sauce helps this process, but you will need to rely on your refrigerator to bring the temperature down before whipping it up. Both the butter and sauce will start to solidify if left in the refrigerator for too long, so don’t forget about it or walk away for too long.
The buttercream is ready once it lightens in color and holds some shape after being whipped.
This type of caramel is in the candy and confections category in the pastry world. The texture is unlike most buttercream. It has a slight chewiness to it that must be tasted to fully understand.
If the buttercream is too sticky and begins to tear the cake crumb as you frost, consider piping on the first layer of frosting then smoothing it out with an offset spatula. Stir in a couple tablespoons of hot water to help it loosen back up, if needed.
Sour Cream - You can swap out the sour cream and milk for equal parts buttermilk. The taste and texture will be comparable. If you opt for a buttermilk substitute (ie milk + vinegar), the end results will likely be slightly off.
Carmel Corn - store bought is fine.
Stout - If you'd like to leave the beer out completely, you can use equal parts coffee or plain water.
Serving and Storage
Serve the cake at room temperature. Store the cake at a moderate room temperature overnight (preferably in a cake box or under a glass cake dome).
Wrap leftovers loosely in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze unfrosted layers wrapped well in plastic for up to 3 months.
No, unfortunately you can’t use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed. One is acidic while the other is neutral. You could try in a pinch, but understand that it will change the results.
You can bake the cake in three, 8-inch pans. Adjust the baking time accordingly. If you are baking the batter in two 9-inch pans, make sure to only fill the pans ⅔ of the way full.
Choose a good quality aluminum cake pan with at least 2-inch tall sides.
Yes! Wait until the cakes have completely cooled before wrapping well in plastic. If desired, wrap in a layer of foil or pop the cakes into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
More Chocolate Cakes to Bake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup stout beer
- ¾ cup unsalted butter diced
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder optional
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter diced
- 3 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- 6 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
Chocolate Stout Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans* and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
- In a medium-large saucepan, warm the stout and butter over medium heat until the butter melts.
- With the heat on low, whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder (if using) until well combined. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sour cream mixture. In two batches, stir in the flour mixture until smooth.
- Evenly distribute the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing them from their pans. Continue to cool completely before filling or frosting.
- Cake may also be baked in 8-inch cake pans. Do not fill cake pans more than ⅔ of the way full.
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and stir together. Heat over high, without stirring, until the sugar boils. Continue cooking for about 8 minutes until the caramel turns a medium amber color. At this point, the bubbles will start to settle. Only swirl the pan, do not stir, to evenly distribute the color once it begins to brown.
- Once amber in color, promptly remove the saucepan from the heat. While whisking, very carefully pour in the cream. The caramel will bubble and steam, so use caution. Keep whisking until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Pour the caramel sauce into the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed while adding in the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Continue to mix until all of the butter has been added and is incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high and whisk for two minutes.
- Stop the mixer and add the confectioner’s sugar. Gradually increase the speed from low to medium (making sure sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl) and mix for a few minutes.
- At this point, the caramel will start to lighten in color and thicken in texture but will need to chill before icing the cake. Refrigerate the caramel frosting (in the mixing bowl) for 10 to 15 minutes, until thick and spreadable. Fill and frost the cake immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and stir together. Heat over high, without stirring, until the sugar boils. Continue cooking for about 8 minutes until the caramel turns a medium amber color. At this point, the bubbles will start to settle. Only swirl the pan, do not stir, to evenly distribute the color.
- Once amber in color, promptly remove the saucepan from the heat. While whisking, very carefully pour in the cream. The caramel will bubble and steam, so use caution. Add the butter and keep whisking until smooth. Add the salt and baking soda. Stir to combine.
- Quickly yet carefully drizzle the caramel over the popcorn and toss to evenly coat. Tip the mixture on the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring twice, or until dry. Allow to cool before topping the cake.
- Spread about ¾ cup of caramel frosting between the layers of cake with an offset spatula. Use the remaining frosting to ice the sides and top of the cake. If the caramel stiffens up too much, stir in a couple tables of very hot water (a could teaspoons at a time). Top with caramel popcorn before serving.