On my blog, I talk a lot about beer, and that’s largely because beer is such a big part of Eugene’s culture (we’re not just hippies, we’re drunks, too! Just kidding…). You can find several breweries in Eugene- Ninkasi, Hop Valley, and Oakshire to name a few- so it’s hard not to enjoy it when there’s so many well-crafted options nearby.

A few weeks ago, my friend Kelly announced that she was going to throw a surprise birthday party for my friend and her boyfriend Eric, and I jumped at the opportunity to bake themed cupcakes. We all have a favorite beer- I enjoy wheats, Boyfriend likes IPAs, and Eric really likes stouts and porters. So, I decided on chocolate Stockyard Oatmeal Stout cupcakes with Hop Valley Vanilla Infused Porter frosting. And, since he’s a musician (as discussed in my last post), I incorporated music into the cupcakes with little chocolate notes and instruments.

I found the recipe for the cake on Epicurious. For this recipe, I chose to use one of Eric’s favorite stouts: Stockyard Oatmeal Stout from Trader Joe’s. You could definitely use any other stout, though, such as Guinness.

Start by heating the butter and beer over medium heat.

Bring it to a simmer. This will smell weird. You will get past it.

Now we get the cocoa.

And sift it into the ugliest yellow bowl we can find.

Remove the simmering cocoa mixture from heat and whisk the cocoa into the hot butter beer mixture until well combined. Let cool a bit.

Now we sift the dry ingredients together. To be totally honest, I often skip sifting when recipes recommend it. But, when it comes to cake, I am extra cautious. Especially when I’m baking for other people.

Stir the dry ingredients to mix.

Now to put it all together! Beat eggs and sour cream until combined. Add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture (it’s okay if it’s still a bit hot). Then gradually add in the flour mixture while mixing (or using your KitchenAid).

Fill up some super cute cupcake cups! Or you can bake two cakes.

And bake ’em at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. I tasted the first batch and they weren’t quite as rich as I wanted them to be, so I chopped up some chocolate chips and threw them in to the batter for the second. This accomplished the chocolatiness that I wanted.

I pretty much missed taking photos of the frosting process, but it’s just a simple buttercream with the addition of vanilla porter. I used Hop Valley’s Vanilla Infused Porter. It’s delicious, in case you were wondering.

Bring one cup of the porter to a low boil and reduce until you’re left with just a quarter cup. Expect this to take about twenty minutes. When it’s done, beat about half of reduced porter with two cubes of room temperature butter. Add powdered sugar until it’s to the consistency you like- I used about two cups. Give it a taste, and if you want it to have a stronger porter flavor, add more! It is certainly a strong and unique flavor, so be careful with it and taste as you go. Then frost the chocolate oatmeal stout cupcakes.

And you have the most awesome beer cupcakes ever! I used candy music molds for the notes and instruments that are from a company called “Life of the Party” and I got them on Amazon for just a couple bucks each.

Here’s the recipe! The original recipe, which is listed below, makes three cakes, so I halved it. Because that is a lot of freakin’ cake.

Chocolate Stout Cake with Vanilla Porter Frosting

Modified from Epicurious
Makes 3 Cakes
  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup vanilla porter
1/2 cup (2 sticks) room temperature butter
2 cups powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or paper two 12-cupcake trays or three 8 inch cake rounds. 
2. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. 
3. Sift and whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. 
4. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed until just combined. Add chopped chocolate chips for a richer cake. 
5. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes for cakes or 15 minutes for cupcakes. Transfer cakes to rack; let sit until cool enough to frost.
6. For the frosting, bring the vanilla porter to a low boil over medium heat. Let boil for about twenty minutes, or until it has been reduced to a quarter cup. Beat two tablespoons of the porter with the butter until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat with a mixer until it has reached desired consistency. Taste, and add more butter if you’d like a stronger porter flavor.

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