Stiff Peaks

An indulgent journey into baking

Chocolate Stout Cake

By popular demand (okay, my boyfriend insisted) I thought I’d have another attempt at a recipe I made last year. So back in October 2012 I made a Chocolate Guinness Cake, combining a moist dense stouty chocolate sponge and a sweet cream cheese frosting. In May 2013 I made a cupcake variant, replacing the cream cheese frosting with white chocolate ganache. Not wanting to keep things the same, this time I sought inspiration from my personal baking hero: Nigella.

chocolate stout cake

Adapted from the obviously brilliant Nigella Lawson.


  • 250ml Guinness or chocolate stout
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 300g Philadelphia
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 125ml double cream


  • 23cm round, springform cake tin
  • baking parchment
  • saucepan
  • oven preheated to 180ยบ celsius


Welcome to the world of one (well mostly one) pot baking. Here we’ll be adding all of our ingredients into the same saucepan in various stages until we’re ready to pour it into the tin. So, start by measuring out the required ingredients, as timing is somewhat important here. Grease and line your tin while you’re waiting for the oven to warm. Begin by pouring the Guinness into a large saucepan and warm it gently on the hob. Add in the butter and stir occasionally until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat at this point.

Using a small whisk, pour in the cocoa powder and whisk until fully incorporated. Add in the sugar too, and repeat until consistent. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla essence. Pour this mixture into the saucepan. Whilst whisking slowly, pour in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and keep whisking until the cake batter is smooth. There may be a few air bubbles, but don’t worry about those. Now that everything has been combined, you’ll have a loose batter, that you should pour into the cake tin and place in the oven for around 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake.

Leave the cake in the tin on a rack to cool. Once completely cold, remove from the tin and turn out onto a cake board. Prepare the icing by first whisking the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add in the icing sugar, taking care not to cover yourself in sugar, and whisk together until smooth. Pour in the double cream and whisk for a few minutes until you get a thick mixture with stiff peaks. Spread this glorious mixture over the top of the cold cake without trying to eat too much along the way.

I’ve left the presentation somewhat basic, because the sweet frosting and depth of stout balance each other very well. You could transform it into a layer cake if you’d like. But, because it’s a moist sponge, be careful to ensure it’s baked fully and left to cool completely, or it’ll fall apart.