I adapted this recipe from one published on the craft beer cookery website The Beeroness: Have Your Beer and Eat It Too. Creator Jackie Dodd replaced the red dye included in the famous Waldorf Astoria Red Cake recipe, with a chocolate stout. The slight bitterness of the beer adds an interesting twist. My adaptation features Maine stout (I used Moderation Brewing Company’s Box Shop Girls Breakfast Stout), butter rather than shortening and Maine Grains spelt flour. I like peanut butter-cream cheese frosting as it’s my daughter’s favorite, but if you stick with a plain cream cheese frosting, you’ll taste the stout better.

Makes one 9-inch layer cake

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup Maine Grains spelt flour

1/2 cup Maine-made stout beer

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for cake pan prep


2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup butter, at room temperature, plus more for cake pan prep

11/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs


1 cup whole or 2 percent milk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Cream cheese frosting (your own recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter 2 (9-inch) cake pans and coat them lightly with cocoa powder.
Sift the flours into a bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together the beer, cocoa powder and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, baking soda and salt until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the beer mixture, beating until well combined. In the same measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar. After a minute, the milk will thicken to roughly the texture of buttermilk. Alternating between the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flours, add both a bit at a time while the mixer is running at low speed. Run the machine until the batter is just combined, taking care not to overbeat.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow layers to cool completely before frosting them.

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