Chocolate Bundt Cake

Slathered with chocolate buttermilk icing, this beautifully moist chocolate bundt cake is made with a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flours, stout beer, maple syrup and brown sugar. It’s the perfect travel-friendly treat.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Slices of this chocolate bundt cake spent the better part of the past week in the car with me. Each piece, wrapped in parchment, was tucked between the Ak-Mak crackers and a jar of almond butter. It is a fine travel cake, one that can handle a day or two in the car- blizzards, bumps in the road, hairpin turns, and all. Topped with a generous sweep of chocolate buttermilk icing, it's unfussy, and ready to frost straight from the pan.

a close up photo of a slice of chocolate bundt cake with thick chocolate frosting on the top

Chocolate Bundt Cake: Key Ingredients

Flours: I make this bundt cake with an equal blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flours. Whole wheat flour brings a bit of heartiness and added structure (and flavor!) to the cake.

Sugars: This cake gets tempered sweetness and a moist, tender texture from maple syrup and dark brown sugar.

Stout: I use dark stout beer in the batter. It’s the wildcard ingredient that lends a malty base note and depth of flavor. Go for a not-too-hoppy porter or stout. Beyond that, chocolate porter or chocolate stout would both be good choices. I know many of you can get your hands on a Guinness, which is totally fine as well.

Yogurt and Melted Butter: The core liquids in this bundt cake batter help deliver a rich, flavorful cake that is effortlessly sliceable and a bit less decadent than typical versions (without sacrificing deliciousness!).

a chocolate bundt cake sitting on top of a table ready to be served

What If I don’t have a Bundt Pan?

For those of you who don't have a bundt pan, no problem! You can bake this cake batter in a wide range of pans. It makes great little cakes, and loaf cakes, and cupcakes. You know the drill, adjust the baking time, and bake until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan a bit, and a tester/knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

a slice of chocolate bundt cake neatly wrapped in parchment paper and tied with a piece of string
This cake travels beautifully wrapped in parchment paper or waxed paper bag. A stretch of common string secures the wrapper in place.
a large slice of chocolate bundt cake being held on a piece of parchment paper

Chocolate Bundt Cake: Variations

Coffee Version: A number of people over the years have asked about making a version without beer. You can use I cup of strong coffee in place of the 1 cup of reduced beer.

Chocolate Bundt with Olive Oil: Laura mentions, “ made this cake tonight with 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, which I mixed in with the yogurt egg mixture, instead of butter and it turned out delightful. Next time I might add thick pieces of dark chocolate into the batter, too.”
a close up photo of a slice of chocolate bundt cake with thick chocolate frosting on the top and a cake server

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we have! It was just the thing to unwrap on a picnic table underneath a grove of sky-scraping redwood trees.
a road leading to a picnic spot in Oregon

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Chocolate Bundt Cake

5 from 2 votes

I use less butter here, than most other cakes of this sort. And I'd argue, you can't really tell. That said, scaling back much more beyond this wasn't a good idea, so i don't recommend it. Also, I use buttermilk in the icing because I typically have it on hand, but you can certainly substitute stout/porter or water. And if you love extra frosting, go ahead and double up.

Chocolate Bundt Cake:
  • 2 cups / 475 ml chocolate porter or stout beer
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup / 75g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
  • 1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup / 4.25 oz / 120 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups / 355 ml plain whole yogurt
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml pure maple syrup
Chocolate Buttermilk Icing:
  • 3/4 cup / 2.75 oz / 75 g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup / 25g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • flaky sea salt, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C, with a rack in the center.
  2. Butter and flour (generously) a 11 or 12-cup capacity bundt pan (or equivalent). As I mention up above, you can bake this in other cake pans, just be mindful to avoid filling the pan(s) more than 2/3 - 3/4 full. Adjust the baking time as well, baking until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center tests clean when you insert a knife.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer the beer down to 1 cup / 240 ml, it will take 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to release heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Whisk well, until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, stirring all the while. Stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture, folding until just blended, using as few strokes as possible, a few lumps in the batter are fine.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 45 minutes if using the bundt pan, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You really don't want to over bake this cake - err on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for ten minutes or so, and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  7. In the meantime, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and buttermilk. Really go at it for at least a minute. The icing should end up smooth and creamy looking, adjust with a touch of powdered sugar or a few extra drops of buttermilk if you want to tweak the consistency at all. When the cake is completely cool, run the icing around the top with an offset spatula and let it set.
  8. Serve sprinkled with a bit of flaky sea salt. But don't sprinkle with flakes of salt until ready to serve, or you'll end up with little divots (see photos :).


Makes one chocolate bundt cake.

Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Never had a chocolate bundt cake that looked so amazing. I also really like the way you wrapped it in parchment paper, and carried around with you. Gonna have to try to make this really soon!

Mike @TheIronYou

Yum! I'm so glad I literally just bought a bundt pan. I'll have to break it in with this tasty cake!


This cake looks amazing - the addition of beer sounds really interesting and tasty. I love the idea of a chocolate buttermilk icing as well - yum!


If I don't make this soon, I might end up doing something drastic, like licking those fabulous pictures of this cake on my comp screen. But I came to the comments section to see if there is a substitute for stout beer or chocolate porter, whatever that is, which is unfortunately unavailable here.


OK Final this is my birthday cake!!! OH God!!! I love chocolate cake... and this deliciousness is calling me... Beautiful, I feel like reaching inside the monitor and taking a slice for me...

Reem | Simply Reem

yumm, wish i had some maple syrup right about now... i never get tired of trying new chocolate recipes, this will go on my to bake list for sure.


The cake is just...gorgeous. I grew up in a Bundt cake making family...there was always a bundt for most every occasion. Yours is picture perfect.

Averie @ Averie Cooks

I love the idea of a travel cake. I try to take the it's-never-the-wrong-time-to-bake-a-cake approach, myself.


yummm..this bundt cake looks so dense and moist, which is my favorite type of cake. i love the chocolate frosting on top. it gives a very rustic feel to it.


It's 12:21 am. I'm ready for bed.....but I want to make this cake NOW. Help. :)

Mmm mmm mmm! Can't wait to try this one out!


wow!!!!!! It looks so yummy! I have to try this!


This cake looks really delicious! Great pictures!


I am loving the ingredients in this cake, and it looks great. Can't wait to try it!


This looks incredible! Adding it to my "To Make" list :)

Maria @ Orchard Bloom

those who are substituting the beer, let us know how it goes! i wonder if the fizz from the beer helps the cake to rise - perhaps try it with ginger beer?


I wonder if this cake would still be as amazing if you substituted out the alcohol? And what would you substitute it with? I'm thinking prune or blackberry juice, but thoughts to play around with would be welcome. Thanks for your no-holds-barred dedication to your lovely blog and its readers.


oh man, this looks so perfect. hope you get some rest, sounds like a long day. you're a champ for posting regardless. can't wait to try. xo


That is a good looking cake. Is there a reason why you specified using non-dutched cocoa? I am thinking of making this cake and I only have dutch cocoa at home.


What a beautiful cake!! I might make it for my birthday next Monday. Possibly use it as a bottom layer for a mousse cake. By the way, you take beautiful pictures.


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