Monday, March 26, 2018

Chocolate and Dutch stout cake with white chocolate-cream cheese frosting

A good chocolate cake recipe to have in your back pocket is one of the greatest things for anyone who loves to bake, and even though classic chocolate cake recipes are all pretty much the same, this one is somewhat different.

It has a couple of ingredients that make it extra special, Dutch stout beer and yoghurt, that transform its flavor and texture, making it much more interesting than your average chocolate cake.

I love adding beer and particularly its dark and malty cousin, the stout, in all kinds of chocolate-based desserts as it has the magical ability to bring out the flavor of the cocoa even more, as evidenced in this cake; a dense (but not heavy) and moist cake with a deeply chocolatey flavor and a subtle bitterness from the stout that balances the sweetness of the luscious, creamy frosting.

It’s the sort of cake that can stand on its own, without the topping, but pairing it with the white chocolate and cream cheese frosting that’s buttery, creamy, smooth and perfectly complementing the flavors of the cake, makes for an excellent combination.

It’s the kind of cake that you can’t resist having more than piece of, which means it’s rather dangerous, so consider yourselves warned. Oh, and apologies to those of you avoiding sweets. #sorrynotsorry

Without being too fussy or difficult to execute, it’s a cake fitting for a celebration or special occasion, see Easter Day to close out the feast with something chocolatey and delicious, birthdays, name days or anniversaries, but also for an everyday occasion, see afternoon coffee or tea, or just when you want something sweet to have around the house for those nagging chocolate cravings.

Chocolate and Dutch stout cake with white chocolate-cream cheese frosting

This is the sort of cake that tastes better the next day, so you could easily bake it the day before, let it cool completely, store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and continue the next day with the frosting. This is especially handy if you are making the cake for a celebration and you need to prepare as many dishes as you can in advance.

Stout is a dark and quite bitter and strong beer. I used a Dutch, dry, extra stout, that has an even stronger taste, but you can use a dry, regular stout as well, preferably Dutch.

This is the second time that I’m sharing with you a chocolate cake for Easter. The first one was back in 2011 and was this wonderful two-layered chocolate Easter egg nest cake with chocolate truffle eggs!

Yield: 10 servings (or more if sliced thinly)


for the cake
300 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
100 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy)
150 ml dark, dry, extra (or regular) stout, preferably Dutch, measured without foam
250 g all-purpose flour
375 g white granulated sugar
10 g (2 tsp) baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
3 large eggs
150 g thick Greek yoghurt, full-fat (I use Total Fage)
15 ml (1 Tbsp) pure vanilla extract

for the frosting
200 g white chocolate (at least 32% cocoa butter content), cut into small pieces
125 g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
225 g cream cheese, full-fat, at room temperature
225 g icing sugar, sifted

Special equipment: fine sieve, 23 cm round springform pan, baking paper, wooden spoon, stiff rubber spatula


for the cake
Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 23cm round spring-form pan and line the bottom with a round piece of baking paper. (See here how to cut a round piece of baking paper).

In a small saucepan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Turn off the heat and add the cocoa powder and stout. Whisk to combine. You should now have a smooth and glossy mixture (see photo right below).

In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix with wooden spoon. Make a well in the center and crack in the eggs. Add the yoghurt, the butter-cocoa powder-stout mixture and the vanilla, and using a large wire whisk, mix well until you have a smooth and shinny batter, for about 2 minutes. You could use an electric hand-held mixer to do this if you find it difficult to whisk by hand. In this case, mix for just a minute until the ingredients are totally combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and place on the lower rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes, then transfer to the middle rack and bake for a further 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. It’s a good idea to start checking for doneness at the 45 minute mark since not all ovens are the same. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan very carefully, leaving the cake on the rack (with baking paper still attached at the bottom) to cool completely before frosting it. It will take about 5 hours for the cake to cool completely. Don’t frost it before it cools completely because the frosting will melt over the cake.

for the frosting
In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, being careful not to overheat it. Let it cool.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the butter and cream cheese, and beat using a stiff, rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until the two ingredients are combined and there are no visible streaks of butter or cream cheese in the mixture. Pour the melted and cooled white chocolate in the butter-cream cheese mixture and beat well with the spatula or wooden spoon until you have a smooth mixture without any lumps. It needs a bit of elbow grease to become smooth, but it’ll get there. Don’t be tempted to use an electric mixer for this as it will soften the frosting too much and you’ll end up with a runny instead of a fluffy frosting. Finally, add the sifted icing sugar and beat with the spatula or wooden spoon until you have a smooth and fluffy frosting.

Assemble the cake
When the cake has completely cooled, remove the baking paper from the bottom and transfer it onto a cake stand or cake platter. If there’s any doming of the cake (there usually is - there is also going to be some cracking on top), there’s no need to cut it off because the frosting will do a great job of covering it. Add the frosting on top of the cake, a spoonful at a time, spreading it right up to the edges. Make swirls using a small spatula or a palette knife to give it volume.

You can store it in the fridge for a day, covered with plastic wrap. The frosting will firm up in the fridge.

Serve and enjoy!

• Adapted from Donal Skehan


  1. Great minds think alike! I made a similar cake fro a St. Patrick's Day party - it was a hit. I love that you used white chocolate in your frosting. Also, I used sour cream in the cake (an American recipe, of course) but I think yoghurt would be better. Beautiful, Magda!

    1. Thanks David. Greek yoghurt is quite similar to sour cream so I guess the differences aren't great. I have used in this cake sour cream as well in the past. The white chocolate adds a level of sweetness that fits well with the bitterness of the Dutch stout and the cocoa. A favorite cake indeed! Loved your take on it too!