There are many flavors that pair well with chocolate. Coffee is one, and it is often included in chocolate cakes to bring out some of the darker notes of chocolate. Believe it or not, but dark stout is another. These dark beers often have an intense malty flavor and an almost chocolate-like profile to them, and they can enhance the bitter and malty notes that you find in dark chocolate, giving a cake a great chocolate flavor and a lot of character.
This Chocolate Stout Sheet Cake is made using a stout beer. I used a beer called Boatswain Chocolate Stout, which is actually brewed with cocoa to enhance the chocolate-like notes often found in stout beer (although it doesn’t have more than a subtle hint of cocoa to it). It is worth noting that any stout beer will do the trick in this recipe. The cake is very moist and tender, using butter, vegetable oil and yogurt in it. It has a great dark chocolate flavor to it thanks to both the beer and a generous amount of cocoa powder. You won’t taste the beer in the finished cake, but it definitely takes the edge off what would otherwise be a fairly sweet cake and gives it a grown up chocolate taste.
I topped this cake off with a Chocolate Stout Buttercream, adding a little bit of my chocolate stout beer to a simple chocolate buttercream. This introduced a distinct malty note to the frosting (again, giving it a grown-up flavor) and really tied it in well with the cake. You can leave out the beer and opt for a plain chocolate buttercream by simply adding milk to your frosting instead. This cake is also good with vanilla frosting, and is satisfying enough to eat plain – with a cup of coffee or even a glass of that chocolatey stout that you used to make it.
Chocolate Stout Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup stout beer (such as Guinness)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil and eggs. Add cocoa-butter mixture and whisk until well-incorporated.
Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the yogurt and stout beer (beer may foam; keep mixing it in). Stir in remaining flour mixture, stirring only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool completely then top with chocolate stout frosting.
Chocolate Stout Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp stout beer (or milk*)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat all ingredients together until well combined, adding more confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken frosting to a smooth, spreadable consistency.
*Note: Milk can be used in the frosting if you don’t want that malty hint of beer in there and prefer a plain chocolate buttercream.