Chocolate Porter Cake

by Mary on December 9, 2012

chocolate porter cake with whipped cream frosting

chocolate porter cake

With two chocolate-loving teens in the house both celebrating birthdays this month (not to mention Fit and Fed’s blogiversary!) cake is in order. And Tastefully Julie’s Chocolate Guinness Cake with its striking black cake and white frosting has had a hold on my mind ever since I saw it on her blog months ago. I love dark beer in bread and just knew it would be even better in chocolate cake.

Unlike many projects, this one turned out as well as the idea, and on the first try, too. The cocoa plus a bit of dark beer makes a deep, complex, irresistible flavor, and the cake is moist without being soggy. It disappeared quickly at a holiday party. You could use any dark porter or stout beer in this recipe, and I used Deschute Brewery’s Black Butte Porter. In a fortuitous touch, reviewers seem unanimous that Black Butte Porter tastes of dark chocolate. I’d use it again in this recipe.

I chose duck eggs for their superior baking qualities, kefir instead of sour cream, and a simple whipped cream topping which I prefer over frosting. Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake has a cream cheese frosting, as does Julie’s recipe, which is an adaptation of Nigella’s converted to American measure.

This is not a terribly healthy recipe but I did use organic ingredients, including one that was new to me: Pure Eire 100% grass-fed Jersey heavy cream. It’s a beautiful yellow color and has but a single ingredient. It’s produced on a small family farm in Othello, WA and available in the Seattle area at PCC co-ops.

8/13 Update: I’ve made this again twice this summer, this time with regular chicken eggs and sour cream. It smells so delicious even as a batter, all caramel and coffee and chocolate.  It was quite a hit at a big party at our house with people asking what was in it besides the chocolate. I’ve started using light muscovado sugar for half the sugar to add even more flavor and have amended the recipe to add that possibility.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Porter Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12
For the cake:
  • 1 cup dark beer such as porter or stout
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus two tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups white sugar or 1 cup white and 1 cup light muscovado sugar
  • ½ cup kefir (or sour cream)
  • 2 small duck eggs or large chicken eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp. baking soda
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9" springform pan and line bottom with a cut-out round of parchment paper.
  3. Chop butter, heat in a large pan on the stove with the beer, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted.
  4. Whisk in cocoa and sugar, stir to melt sugar, remove from heat.
  5. Break eggs into a large bowl, beat, combine with kefir (or sour cream) and vanilla.
  6. Pour the beer/butter mixture into the large bowl and whisk together.
  7. Add the flour and baking soda and whisk together again.
  8. Pour the batter into the springform pan, bake for about 50 minutes. The knife will come out clean when the cake is done, but the cake will remain quite moist: be careful not to overcook the cake.
  9. Cool the cake completely still in the springform pan.
  10. Unfasten pan, cut cake off the bottom, peel off parchment paper.
  11. Whip cream. A cold metal container is the best for whipping cream: I use the chilled work bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on low speed, add sugar and vanilla once there are soft peaks. Taste and adjust sugar and vanilla. Beat a little more on low speed until peaks are mostly firm.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina December 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Porter in a cake…wow sound interesting. I wouldn’t have thought about using beer …great recipe.Looks great. First time to your blog…you have a wonderful site:)
Nina recently posted..Baked Vegetable Kebabs using TVPMy Profile


mary December 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment, Nina! Your blog looks great, too, you are quite an accomplished baker and have been blogging for a long time! Nice to see that you are a vegetarian, too.


Tempie December 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I bet that cake did disappear quickly at that holiday party! It sounds delicious!

Happy blogiversary to you Mary!
Tempie recently posted..Buffalo Chicken and Sweet Potato ChiliMy Profile


mary December 13, 2012 at 2:37 am

Thanks, Tempie!


Yankeepants December 12, 2012 at 4:02 am

Looks delicious! I’m curious about the duck eggs — where do you get them? Do you find any notable differences when you bake with them versus chicken eggs, or are you just mixing it up for variety’s sake?
Yankeepants recently posted..Apple Rosemary Crisp (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free/Vegan)My Profile


mary December 13, 2012 at 2:36 am

Hi Yankeepants! The food coop near me has started stocking duck eggs and you can also get them at Asian groceries, but I get mine from a hobby farmer who lives near me. He was saving them up for me this time; his ducks have only been laying about one egg a day this fall. The eggs are not particularly big, even though duck eggs are usually bigger than chicken eggs. I have baked comparison batches of cookies with duck eggs and chicken eggs and the difference is not subtle: the duck egg batches rise higher and are have a fluffier texture. I put a link in the post above back to my other post on baking with duck eggs if you are interested in the details. Duck eggs are definitely helpful for gluten-free baking, they help give some of the texture that is lost by omitting gluten.


john December 13, 2012 at 1:05 am

I’ve never baked with duck eggs before – I should do that. Love the inclusion of the porter – every baked good I’ve had that included dark beer was always good. This looks excellent – thanks so much.
john recently posted..The Grasshopper CocktailMy Profile


mary December 13, 2012 at 2:42 am

Thanks for the visit and the nice comment, John! I hope you and Mrs. Kitchen Riffs are enjoying the holidays, I’m sure your holiday themed cocktails add a nice touch to the celebrations!
mary recently posted..Happy 1st Blogiversary Fit and Fed!My Profile


The Wimpy Vegetarian December 17, 2012 at 6:52 am

This cake looks fabulous! It’s just gorgeous. I’ve been wanting to make a chocolate cake with beer in it, and am pinning this one. I love, love, love that you added kefir – something I now always have in the fridge. And I had no idea duck eggs were superior for baking!! I might try this with some quinoa flour too. But I hate to mess with perfection 🙂
The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Boozy Pumpkin Bread CelebrationMy Profile


mary December 17, 2012 at 7:23 am

Thanks, Susan! I’m glad you like the kefir in there. I have another post on baking with duck eggs if you want to check it out– I’m definitely a fan. Definitely do try the cake with quinoa flour and report back. I’m notorious with my children for running cake experiments like that, though I’ve learned not to do it on their actual birthdays, and to at least to try the recipe as written once first. Well, as close to that as I come, like the above, with just a few substitutions here and there.
mary recently posted..Poppyseed Dressing (silken tofu-based)My Profile


Doreen Pendgracs January 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

This sounds like a fantastic recipe that I intend to make. It’s the Guinness that’s attracted me, as I happen to know that the Guinness dark chocolate truffles are among the best truffles in the world. Who knew that beer could enhance the flavour of chocolate so much?
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..cacao cuisine is king at Hotel Chocolat BoucanMy Profile


mary January 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Mmm, I wouldn’t mind a Guinness dark chocolate truffle right about now…. looking forward to reading about all kinds of chocolate-related treats and places in your book.


Laura Rosario February 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm

I have a raspberry porter that I would like to try with this recipe. How do you think it would taste if I added some raspberry flavoring to bring out the raspberry flavor of the porter or should I just go with a raspberry sauce to serve with the cake?


Mary May 20, 2020 at 4:12 am

Hi Laura, Sorry I was neglecting my blog and didn’t see your comment. What did you try on the raspberry front and how did your cake turn out? (My first thought regarding the possibilities you gave is why not both?)


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