Chocolate, Raisin & Ale Cake

This wonderful recipe came via Zeb Bakes who in turn spotted it on Dan Lepard’s site. Not only did Joanne sell this to me as a “chocolate porridge” recipe, she also made it clear that it was a one pan cake – how could I resist? It’s just taken me rather a while to blog about it. Not having any stout in the house, I substituted a bottle of real ale I had knocking about the place. I also followed Joanne’s suggestion of making a creme fraiche ganache as a topping rather than the sweeter icing in the original recipe.
This is what I did:
  • Poured 330ml ale (Badger Original) into a large pan and added 50g rolled oats and 25g cocoa.
  • Brought to the boil and simmered for 1 minute.
  • Removed from heat and stirred in 75g unsalted butter and 100g 70% dark chocolate.
  • Added 225g brown sugar (I think muscovado would have worked well here) and stirred well.
  • Beat in one duck egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Mixed in 150g rasins
  • Beat in 250 wholemeal spelt and 1 tsp baking powder
  • Spooned into a 9″ cake thingie and baked for 30 mins at 18oC.
  • Whilst cake was cooling, I melted 100g dark chocolate with 100 ml creme fraiche and stirred gently. I don’t seem to have much success with ganache, it started to split so I very quickly stopped stirring.
  • Spread this on top of the cooled cake as best I could and cut into 16 squares.
Voted by CT as his favourite cake in a long time, this was rich, dense, chewy, moist and delicious – need I go on? Well, one other thing, it wasn’t too sweet, which is how we both like our cakes (mostly!). Despite the ganache not being quite perfect, it still tasted good and it worked better than I think the original fudgy icing would have done. It lasted well and was just as delicious, if not more so, one week on. As I’m sure the ale will have given a different result to the stout, this gives me a good excuse to make it again. Thank you Joanna.


  1. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    This sounds gorgeous, and a welcome alternative to brownies which are so often disappointing (except mine and yours of course) I’ve been sitting on a Dan Leppard recipe for a chocolate poppy seed roll for ages – time to dig it out I think.
    Liz (aka

  2. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    Liz – get baking, rolls sound scrumilicious and thanks for letting me off on the brownie front.

  3. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    That does sound really good and an interesting way of making a cake by boiling the ale and porridge oats, a bit like a ginger cake without the ginger. Actually nothing like it, but you know what I mean. Will have to try this one.

  4. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    Mmm…that looks very healthy and delicious. I can eat this any time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    Kath – Not much like a ginger cake, but I did get your drift. You made me smile which cheered me up in this cold wet grey and miserable day that we are having (down this end of the country anyway) so a big thank you.

    MaryMoh – thank you, it was indeed delicious.

  6. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    These look delicious, Choclette. I’m determined to try this recipe now, after so many glowing endorsements.

  7. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    Sushma – thank you

    Suelle – I’d certainly be interested to see what you think.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    14th May 2010

    I’m with Suelle, now both you and Jo have made this, AND made it look so wickedly good, I’m going to have to try it too! I’m sure I have a can of Guinness somewhere…

  9. Leave a Reply

    14th May 2010

    I still haven’t made this either, but now two of you, I really think I need go find some ale. Very tasty looking!

  10. Leave a Reply

    15th May 2010

    I’ve noticed a lot of recipes using beer (ale/stout etc!) in them lately. I will need to give this a try … if Hubby can share! Looks great though, very moist and yummy.

  11. Leave a Reply

    15th May 2010

    Mmmmmm, looks and sounds great and as usual, I am caught by one of your recipes and pondering should I go make it now. But I mustn’t as we are heading off to Edinburgh for the day. It will have to wait :)

  12. Leave a Reply

    15th May 2010

    I’m not sure I trust myself to make that and not eat it all right then and there… šŸ˜‰ Have you cracked the ganache problem yet? Lower-fat creams will split much more easily than high-fat versions – try using single, whipped, or double cream instead?

  13. Leave a Reply

    15th May 2010

    I’ve seen this recipe so many times now I really, really must make it and see how it turns out. Your’s looks delicious. I find Dan Lepard’s recipes really interesting – there’s always a twist!

  14. Leave a Reply

    Astra Libris
    15th May 2010

    Oh my, this looks glorious!! I love baking with ales and stouts, and I can just imagine how wonderfully the ale pairs with the nutty oats…

  15. Leave a Reply

    15th May 2010

    Lovely cake ! Clever man that Dan Lepard !

    For a double cream ganache you use equal weights of dark choc and double cream. Chop chocolate into small rubble. Heat cream to boiling point and pour over chocolate. Leave for 5 mins. and then beat until combined and glossy. Will be runny at this stage and will set in a couple of hours. I think for creme fraiche you melt the chocolate first, leave till barely warm and then beat the creme fraiche in. Again it starts off quite runny and then sets off eventually. It’s a while since I made it.

  16. Leave a Reply

    16th May 2010

    Oh my, cakes and ale, what a great combination and I love the sound of this damp, sticky, not too sweet one. Ganache is a *** (bad word of your choice there). I find it purely impossible, looks gorgeous though.

  17. Leave a Reply

    16th May 2010

    These look good. I have some ale in the fridge that needs using up. I may well have to try this recipe – soon.

  18. Leave a Reply

    16th May 2010

    I like the sound of these. Nigella’s guiness choc cake is a favourite in our house, so these would probably be popular too.

  19. Leave a Reply

    17th May 2010

    Celia – oh it’s well worth making – look forward to hearing how you found it.

    CityHippy – this is getting really exciting with so many potentially making this – hope you do give it a go.

    Chele – oh good, another who will hopefully try it out

    Jacqueline – hope you had a good day in Edinburgh and it would be great to see this on your blog at some point???

    Aforkful – it is hard to be disciplined indeed. The ganache was using full fat creme fraiche!

    C – hope you give this a go, it’s always interesting to hear what others think about something you’ve made.

    Astra Libris – cooking with beer is all fairly new to me. I’ve made Guinness cake and this, both of which I’ve been really pleased with – what else have you made?

    Ananda – thank you

    Joanna – I’ve always followed these instructions for ganache, it’s just when it comes to the stirring, it always seems to split – maybe it’s just me????

    Thank you Queen Bee

    Oxslip – thank you for making me feel I’m not in a minority of one on the ganache front

    Springtime – it’s sure worth a try

    Janice, it’s different from Guiness cake, but very good

  20. Leave a Reply

    18th May 2010

    These look unbelievable-I can only imagine how chewy they are.

  21. Leave a Reply

    6th June 2010

    True to my word, I’ve made a batch this afternoon. Wow.

    Although I think I’ve now eaten FAR too much of it…

  22. Leave a Reply

    7th June 2010

    Suzi – So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know. I went straight over to your blog to have a look and got a post about beef steak!!!

  23. Leave a Reply

    Online Chocolates
    13th December 2010

    I tried this recipe out last night and it worked really well. Everyone in my office is enjoying them today…yummy! :)

  24. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    4th June 2015

    2nd try with some alterations: goose egg instead of duck egg, 1 tsp. cinnamon instead of vanilla, dark beer instead of ale, 225 gr raisins, 100 gr butter, substituted 50 grams of the spelt for 50 grams of buckwheat. The result is delicious ! It is probably going to be part of my standard repertoire. And so quick and easy to make as well. Thanks very much.

    • Leave a Reply

      4th June 2015

      Haha Henk, it looks as though you have made a different cake all together. It sounds good and I will try your version when the opportunity arises. Thank you very much for getting back to me, it’s really good to get feedback and I appreciate it.

  25. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    7th June 2015

    It is very helpful to have a source of inspiration though :)

    In the meanwhile I have baked the ginger-beer-version as planned. Preparation exactly as in your recipe. I’ll just name ingredients and quantities: 330 ml gingerbeer, 50 g. rolled oats, 25 g. cocoa (in Dutch we say/write: cacao …), 100 g. butter, 100 g. dark chocolate (52 %), 200 g. brown sugar, 1 goose-egg, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 200 g. raisins (soaked in tepid water for 5-10 minutes), 100 g. crystallized ginger, 200 g. wholemeals spelt, 50 g. buckwheat, 1 tsp. baking powder.

    On both versions I used my own recipe for ganache which never fails and is easy to make, but is a lot sweeter and fatter.

    Again it resulted in a delicious cake.
    Next time I might use fresh ginger (different taste) and leave out the baking powder (I like dense, moist cakes).

  26. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    2nd July 2015

    Yesterday evening, I made the ginger version again. I left out the baking powder, used 3 chicken eggs and substituted the buckwheat for chickpea flour (because it needed finishing first and it gives a more ‘yellow feeling’ than buckwheat. Without the baking powder the cakes is very dense of course, but very pleasant to eat. I love the combination of ginger and chocolate and in this cake tastewise it really has the 1+1=3 effect. Thanks again, this cake will probably become one of my ‘core repertoire’.

    • Leave a Reply

      2nd July 2015

      I’m with you on dense textured cakes, especially when they have ginger in them. Which do you prefer, with baking powder or without? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I expect, I really must make this again.

  27. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    2nd July 2015

    I prefer without baking powder. With 1 tsp. baking powder the texture is somewhat loose. A compromise would be to add just half a tsp., which in fact is not a bad idea at all.
    This cake combines very well with whipped cream. As I had some leftover ganache to finish, the layer was quite thick, which I didn’t mind šŸ˜€

    • Leave a Reply

      3rd July 2015

      Well, I look forward to finding out how your next version fairs with 1/2 tsp baking powder. Then I might make it šŸ˜‰

  28. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    3rd July 2015

    Many people will probably find the cake without baking powder too dense; it’s just a personal thing I guess. I will let you know when I have tried but it may take a long, long time because I have finished the ginger beer. Because our house is going on the market very soon I have decided to concentrate on finishing as much of the ingredients I still have in store and avoid buying new ones that I don’t really need.

    • Leave a Reply

      3rd July 2015

      Sounds like a good plan. I keep telling myself to have a good tidy up and use up all the odd bits and pieces I have cluttering up the kitchen (and rest of house), but I’m not very good at actually doing it.

  29. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    13th August 2015

    Another attempt, because I found a bottle of Guinness that needed finishing. With 1/2 a tsp. of baking powder it is just right for me, although I used a rectangular 18×28 cm baking form which may also have had an effect on the structure. The cake has just the right thickness. Next try will be without the oats, replacing them with chopped or ground dry roasted hazelnuts. The oats in this cake somehow become a bit chewy. The taste is wonderful; more people should bake this cake and eat it !

    • Leave a Reply

      14th August 2015

      Haha, you just happened to find a bottle of Guinness Henk? I like the idea of the hazelnuts. I really must make this cake again and see what all the fuss is about šŸ˜‰

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