This modern cousin of a traditional German chocolate cake picks up wonderful flavor from a porter with chocolate or vanilla notes. A hint of beer balances the sweetness nicely in the caramel frosting.


  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Blend
  • 1/4 cup very hot water
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup porter


  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons porter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping cup chopped toasted pecans, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ springform pan and line it with a parchment circle.
  2. For the cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa and hot water; set aside.
  4. In a small heatproof bowl, melt together the butter and unsweetened chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Stir until smooth and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture lightens in color. Add the cocoa mixture and the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each. The mixture should thicken slightly and be the consistency of mayonnaise.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the porter. Beat at medium-high speed for 30 seconds, scrape the bowl, and beat for 15 seconds more.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 48 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin spatula around the edge of the cake to release it, then unclip and remove the side of the pan. Let the cake cool completely.
  9. To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, whisk the brown sugar, cornstarch, porter, and egg yolks together. Place over medium heat and add the butter.
  10. Cook until the beer forms and the mixture begins to bubble around the edges. Add the milk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles in the center, stirring frequently about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
  11. When the frosting is cool, add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time while mixing at low speed. Once all the sugar is added, increase to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and satiny. Stir in the salt and 1/2 cup each of the pecans and coconut.
  12. To assemble: Split the cooled cake in half horizontally. Place one half on a serving plate and spread with half the frosting.
  13. Top with the remaining layer and spread with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the reserved pecans and coconut.
  14. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.