Dark Chocolate Stout Loaf Cake

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

This intensely chocolatey cake is ready for your St. Patrick’s Day party—or any time those chocolate cravings strike. Medjool dates are chopped and soaked in Guinness beer before they’re folded into the rich cocoa batter. The gooey dates add pops of natural sweetness, while the slightly bitter, complex stout enhances the deep chocolate flavor. Serve this cake alongside your Irish coffees and with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top.


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • One 15-ounce Guinness beer
  • 1½ cups Rancho Meladuco medjool dates (10 to 12 dates), pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides.

In a small saucepan, add the Guinness and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately-high heat until reduced to ¾ cup. In a small bowl, combine the dates, vanilla extract and baking soda. Pour the hot, reduced beer over the top and stir to combine. Let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the sour cream and the cooled date mixture; beat until just combined. (The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry! It will become smooth when you add the dry ingredients.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, beating until just incorporated (do not overmix or the cake will be tough). Fold in the ¾ cup of the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips over the top. Set the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (there may be some melted chocolate residue on the tester, which is ok.)

Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the cake from the pan. Slice and serve. 

Recipe and photos: Julia Heffelfinger

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