This Gluten-Free Chocolate Stout Cake is a gluten-free riff on Nigella Lawson’s classic Guinness Chocolate Cake, made with plenty of stout, just two naturally gluten-free flours, and capped with an irresistible cream cheese frosting.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Stout Cake Recipe
Last year around Saint Patrick’s Day I made a very healthy gluten-free barmbrack loaf but this year, for this non-holiday holiday, I offer you a gluten-free chocolate stout cake. This recipe is an old favorite, and I have made it steadfastly through the years. I’ve finally adapted it to be gluten-free and it’s as stellar as the original.
Taste-wise, this cake is a beer-and-chocolate-lover’s dream – the overwhelming flavor is of rich chocolate with just a hint of stout. Topped with a smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting, the slight bitterness from the beer is hardly noticeable and results in the cake’s dense, moist crumb. The end result is a portrait of a pint transformed into a cake. If only I’d been able to imprint a four-leaf clover on top!
The original recipe for this cake comes by way of Nigella Lawson and it caught my eye the moment I saw it in her New York Times column so many years ago now (“At My Table,” RIP): a deep, dark chocolate cake made extraordinary by one special ingredient, a cup of Guinness stout. I would argue that one doesn’t even need to like beer (but who doesn’t love Guinness, hm? Remember, it’s for health!) to enjoy it. It’s easily adapted to be gluten-free if you use a gluten-free stout (some options are listed here) and even if you don’t like beer you will probably enjoy this cake.
But if you can’t wrap your culinary palate around a marriage of beer and chocolate, there’s always a Jameson chocolate tart or, to go a non-alcoholic route, soda bread, with butter and jam. Nigella’s recipe for Guinness chocolate cake lives here on her website if you’d like to give it a go.
One need not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or be Irish, or Irish-American) to enjoy a slice of this cake — indeed, it works just fine as a birthday or everyday cake. So file this one for the “keepers” folder, regardless of the time of year.
Why You’ll Love It
- Easy. One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s very quick and easy to assemble. There’s no need for an electric mixer; all that’s required is a whisk to put together the batter and within only about 10 minutes the cake is slipped into the oven.
- Simple gluten-free flour combo. Just oat flour and a little bit of sweet white rice flour are the only two gluten-free flours you’ll need in this recipe!
- Unique. Yes – this is definitely part of this cake’s appeal. There are not many cake recipes I’ve come across that call for beer, and while I don’t drink I don’t mind a bit of stout in a chocolate cake from time to time.
Ingredients Needed for Chocolate Stout Cake
For the Cake
- Oat Flour
- Sweet White Rice Flour
- Baking Soda
- Stout: The original recipe calls for Guinness, which you can use if you’re not super sensitive to gluten. But for the best gluten-free practices, choose a gluten-free stout.
- Unsalted Butter
- Cocoa Powder
- Sour Cream
- Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Topping
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Heavy Cream
How to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Stout Cake
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the full instructions.
Make the Cake
- Prepare the pan. Butter and line a 9-inch springform tin with parchment paper.
- Whisk flours. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda.
- Melt butter. Pour the stout into a large saucepan, slice up the butter, and add to the beer. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar, then set aside to cool briefly.
- Mix eggs and sour cream. In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Pour in the beer, then stir in the flour mixture until incorporated.
- Bake. Preheat oven to 350℉. Pour the batter into the pan and let it rest while the oven heats. Then place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Make the Frosting
- Make frosting. In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer. Sift the powdered sugar over and beat to incorporate. Then beat in the heavy cream.
- Assemble. Spread the frosting in swirls over the top of the cake. Nigella says: “Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.”
If you need to make substitutions, no problem! Here’s how to do some ingredient swaps:
- For the oat flour: Sub sorghum or teff flour.
- For the sweet white rice flour: Sub tapioca flour.
- For the stout: If you are OK with gluten-beer, Guinness is the obvious choice. You could also try a non-alcoholic gluten-free stout if you don’t drink. Another option is tea, but I think if you can’t do any kind of beer it’s probably best to make another cake recipe.
- To make dairy-free: Sub your favorite non-dairy butter and sour cream for the butter and sour cream. Sub non-dairy cream cheese for the cream cheese and non-dairy milk for the heavy cream.
How to Store
Store the cake, well-wrapped, in the fridge for 5 days. The stout keeps the cake a bit moister, so it will last a little longer without drying out. Cake may be well-wrapped in plastic and frozen, unfrosted, for 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before frosting with the frosting.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Stout Cake
For the Cake
- 1 ½ cups/195 g gluten-free oat flour
- ½ cup/80 g sweet white rice flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup gluten-free stout
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Make the Cake
- Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
- Pour the stout into a large saucepan, slice up the butter, and add to the beer. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar, then set aside to cool briefly. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Pour in the beer, then stir in the flour mixture until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Preheat oven to 350℉ and let batter rest while the oven heats. Then place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, checking to see if a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, the top is firm, and the edges of the cake are starting to come away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. I like to chill my cake in the fridge before frosting.
- In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer. Sift the powdered sugar over and beat to incorporate. Then beat in the heavy cream.
- Frost the cake with swirls of frosting. Nigella says: "Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint."