I LOVE chocolate cake! Really good chocolate cake with really good frosting. And it’s not that hard to make! After much experimenting, I’ve settled on the recipe below. It is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Stout Cake, and frosted with a heavy on the chocolate version of a standard chocolate buttercream recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup stout (I prefer Milk Stout from Bike Dog Brewery)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or other high temp rated neutral oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 package of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 cup butter (melted)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk (room temperature)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

Directions for Baking Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9 inch cake pans. Ideally, cut a round of parchment to fit the bottom of the cake pan, and butter that as well.
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat
  3. Beat eggs, sour cream, and vegetable oil together in a large bowl. Slowly add stout-chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine.
  4. In another large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients using rubber spatula, fold batter until combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
  7. Cool completely in the pan.

Directions for Frosting

  1. Mix together 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt.
  2. Add room milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add melted butter and carefully stir until smooth.

Putting it together

  1. Turn one layer of cake carefully out onto a cake plate. Frost the top with a generous amount of frosting, starting in the center and pushing the frosting towards the outside.
  2. Carefully turn the second layer of cake out into your hands and place over the top of the frosting.
  3. Starting on the sides, apply a “crumb layer” of frosting to the entire perimeter of the cake. This traps the crumbs inside and makes it easier to cleanly apply the rest of the frosting.
  4. Then begin on the the top, again working from the middle and pushing the frosting to the outsides.
  5. Return to the sides and apply a thicker layer of frosting, pushing up above the top of the cake, until the entire outside if covered.
  6. Finally, return to the top applying a thick layer, starting in the middle, spreading out towards the sides, and meeting the edge of the frosting from the sides. Smooth and detail as you prefer!