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chocolate stout layer cake on a marble cake stand

Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Super rich and decadent moist chocolate layers beaming with heaps of flavor from Guinness Stout and espresso notes. This chocolate stout layer cake recipe is beautifully finished with a Bailey’s Irish cream infused buttercream, a luscious chocolate ganache drip, and topped with crushed salty pretzels!



Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Guinness stout beer, dark
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup roughly crushed pretzels

Bailey’s Irish Buttercream

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Chocolate Stout Layer Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line (3) 8×2-inch cake pans with parchment paper and coat entire cake pans with baking spray for good measure.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder.
  3. Add in eggs, oil, stout beer, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Stir to fully incorporate and combine with dry ingredients. 
  4. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
  5. Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 15-20 minutes then invert cakes onto a wire rack to continue cooling completely. If making cakes ahead of time, wrap each cake in plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator/freezer. 

Bailey’s Irish Buttercream

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a handheld electric mixer, beat butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to lowest setting and add in powdered sugar, cup by cup. Then increase speed back to medium and add in vanilla extract and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Continue beating until mixture is well combined, light and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Using a double boiler (a small sauce pan filled with a cup of water) over medium-heat, place a small heatproof bowl directly on top. Water inside saucepan should not touch bottom of bowl. Place chocolate chips in bowl and stir until melted.
  2. Then add in cream and vanilla extract. Continue stirring until everything is fully combined and remove from heat.

To Assemble

  1. If necessary, be sure to level the cakes. Add frosting between the layers, and crumb coat top, and sides of cake. Transfer to fridge to let set, at least 30 minutes. Then apply remaining frosting to entire cake and smooth top if applying the chocolate ganache drip. Transfer cake back to fridge to set for another 15 minutes.
  2. To apply ganache drip, for best results, use a plastic squeeze bottle. Start on the outer edges of cake by applying light pressure of squeeze bottle to allow ganache to “drip” down sides of cake. Repeat process all around cake and then fill in center of cake with remaining ganache. Top with crushed pretzels and serve.


  1. For best results, place finished cake into refrigerator to set for at least 15 minutes. This allows for cake to be cut cleaner and with less mess.

Keywords: baking, dessert, chocolate, cake