Chocolate Stout Snack Cake with Espresso Buttercream

Over the years, my honest feelings about a lack of love for making cakes has been written about on this blog. I love to eat cake, not make them. However, it’s time to officially change that statement. I love making cakes… if it’s a snack cake. Snack cakes have a been around for a while, but have become more commonplace this past year. They’re comprised of one layer of cake and icing making them quick to create, but are still able to be packed full of flavor. Take this Chocolate Stout Snack Cake with Espresso Buttercream. Made with stout beer, rich dark cocoa, and sour cream which creates an irresistible chocolate snack cake that’s incredibly moist. Paired with a complimentary espresso buttercream, the end result is a bold cake with an silky melt-in-your-mouth chocolate experience.

Chocolate Stout Snack Cake with Espresso Buttercream

Serves 9


Chocolate Stout Snack Cake

¾ cup (170g)  stout, such as Guinness
3/4 cup (170g)  unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (57g)  dutch-processed cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
1 1/2 cups (207g)  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (304g)  sugar
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  kosher salt
2  large eggs
1/2 cup (114g)  sour cream
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract


Espresso Buttercream

5  large egg yolks
1/2 cup (114g)  freshly brewed espresso or dark coffee
3/4 cup (160g)  sugar
12 ounces (342g)  unsalted butter, room temperature


For the Chocolate Stout Snack Cake

Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking oil spray.

In a saucepan, bring the stout and butter to a boil. Cook and stir until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until combined. Set aside to cool.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In a steady steam, gradually whisk in the stout mixture until combined. Add in half of the flour mixture and whisk together until just combined. Fold in the remaining flour mixture.

Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 43-45 minutes, until cake is slightly domed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and set on wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, dollop a large mound of espresso buttercream onto the cake and spread out evenly with an offset spatula. Make light “swooping” motions with the offset spatula, or the back of a spoon, to create swirls in the buttercream. Top with dark chocolate shavings or any edible decorations of your choice. Cut into nine squares and serve. Store leftover cake in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to three days. 


For the Espresso Buttercream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whip attachment, place the eggs yolks. On medium-high speed, whip yolks until pale and thick, about 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the espresso and sugar. Over medium-high heat, cook until hot espresso syrup mixture reaches 240F (116C) on a kitchen thermometer. Immediately remove from heat. Turn stand mixer onto medium-low speed. Slowly and gradually stream the hot syrup down the side of the mixture bowl into the whipped yolks. Continue to steadily pour in the hot syrup until all has been added. Increase mixer speed to high and mix until cool (the bottom of the mixer bowl should no longer be warm when you place your hand on it). 

To the mixer bowl, add 1-2 tablespoon sized butter pieces, waiting to add more until the previous pieces have been incorporated. Continue until all the butter has been added. Stop and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then whip buttercream for an additional 2-3 minutes until smooth.


Troubleshooting: The final buttercream should be smooth and light. If the buttercream appears dense, remove 1-2 tablespoon sized portions and place in a small bowl to reheat in the microwave for 5 seconds (just until it begins to melt). Add this heated portion back to the buttercream bowl and whip until fully incorporated. This is a way to gently reheat the entire bowl of buttercream until it’s softened and easily spreadable. Repeat the reheating process as necessary until buttercream has achieved the desired texture. Alternately, if the buttercream is too soft simply place the entire bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes (check and stir every 5 minutes) until it begins to firm slightly. Rewhip chilled buttercream until light and fluffy. Leftover buttercream can be stored, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for 3 months.

You can also find this recipe in my most recent Pantry Staple Sweet dessert column for Feast Magazine! Share your own creations of this recipe with me on Instagram by tagging @now_forager.