Chocolate Stout Cake with Caramel Buttercream, Salted Caramel, Candied Pecans, and Ganache

This cake is a chocolate lover's dream. Layers are filled with buttercream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate ganache, then topped with glistening candied pecans. The cake gets moisture from butter, yogurt, and stout--though craft beer fans can customize with local chocolate-friendly brews.

Photography: Stephen Kent Johnson

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 10-by-2-inch round cake pan and two 7-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment; butter parchment. Dust pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess.

  2. In a large saucepan over medium, bring stout and butter to a simmer. Remove from heat; whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool completely.

  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sour cream until combined. Add stout mixture and beat on low speed until combined; then add flour mixture and beat until combined. Fill each pan halfway with batter.

  4. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes, then turn cakes out of pans, invert right-side up, and let cool completely.

  5. Repeat with a half-batch of recipe in one 10-by-2-inch round cake pan for remaining layer. Trim tops of cooled cakes so they are level. Wrap each well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or freeze up to 1 month.

  6. Set one of 10-inch cake layers on desired cake stand. Spread with 2 cups caramel buttercream, then sprinkle with some candied pecans. Drizzle with caramel, and sprinkle with a few more candied pecans.

  7. Top with second 10-inch cake layer. Pour about 2/3 cup ganache over top, letting some drizzle down over the sides. Sprinkle with more candied pecans. Insert dowels or plastic straws to support next tier.

  8. Place one of 7-inch cake layers on a 6-inch cardboard round (or slightly smaller, so it won't be visible). Spread with 1 1/2 cups buttercream. Sprinkle with candied pecans, drizzle with caramel, then sprinkle on more pecans.

  9. Top with remaining 7-inch cake layer. Pour about 1/2 cup ganache over top. Sprinkle with candied pecans. Once assembled, cake may be displayed immediately or refrigerated; however, it is best if it is boxed and wrapped well in plastic before being refrigerated; bring back to room temperature before serving.

Cook's Notes

To make the cake as shown, you will need one and a half times this recipe: One recipe will fill one 10-inch and two 7-inch pans, while a half-recipe will fill the other 10-inch pan. Also, it is best to make a full recipe in two batches, as the amount of batter it produces is more than a standard mixer can hold.


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