SUNDAE SUNDAY: Chocolate and Beer Ice Cream Cake, featuring Drake's Black Robusto Porter


After a week and a half’s hiatus, I am ignoring the wishes of the voters last week and am sharing a recipe for a beer-themed sundae instead of eggnog.  Why? Because there has been a small-but-mighty contingent of followers who have voted for beer not once, not twice, but three times over the past few months (myself included), and I couldn’t wait longer to put beer into a sundae.

The eggnog sundae is coming in a few days, for those waiting for that, but for now: let’s have a cream cake.  

Because I live four blocks from the original Drake’s brewery/tasting room, I wanted to support a local business by using one of its beers for this dessert.  After looking at its current line-up, the tasting notes of its Black Porter (coffee, chocolate) were screaming to pair with dessert, making it the clear winner in which beer to use.

Not straying from those delicious tasting notes, my mind immediately wandered to the chocolate cakes I have sitting in my freezer, waiting to be eaten.  Having already experimented with an ice cream tart, I figured it was high time to weasel ice cream into a cake, too.  

While this isn’t a traditional post-Thanksgiving recipe per se, it is something that will turn heads and happily fill stomachs, whether attached to a holiday meal or not.


Chocolate and Beer Ice Cream Cake, featuring Drake's Black Robusto Porter

By: Kathleen Hayes; yields and adaptations listed below by component

As a reminder, my Sundae Sunday series of recipes are a one-shot, spur-of-the-moment creation, so they’re not as thoroughly tested as my other recipes.  

Decadent Chocolate Cake - adapted from Guittard; yield = 2, 8” layer cakes


  • 252 grams all-purpose flour

  • 375 grams sugar

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 214 grams water

  • 50 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 214 grams buttermilk

  • 154 grams vegetable oil

  • 100 grams whole eggs (~2 large eggs)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F, and spray and line two 8” round cake pans.

  • In a small saucepan, heat water. Take off heat and mix in cocoa powder; set aside and let cool.

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Next, add in the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; mix on low until batter is homogenous. Finally, add the water + cocoa powder mixture until combined.

  • Split batter evenly into two lined and sprayed cake pans and bake at 350°F for 25 – 35 minutes. Cake is done when center springs back to touch and has doubled in size.

  • Cool cakes slightly in their pans and then pop out and wrap in plastic, using a paring knife to go around the edge of the cakes if they’re sticking in the pans. Freeze until ready to use.

Porter ice cream - adapted from the humphry slocombe ice cream book; yield = 1 quart + 1 pint


  • 12oz of porter (I used Drake’s Black Porter)

  • 50g (organic) brown sugar

  • 480g heavy cream

  • 240g whole milk

  • 175g (organic) sugar

  • 50g egg yolks


  • Create an ice bath for your final mixture to cool down in a large mixing bowl.

  • In a small saucepan, combine beer and brown sugar and bring up to a boil.  Continue cooking at a boil until it has reduced to ½ its volume, about 20 minutes.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, and salt.  Add in the reduced beer and brown sugar mixture, and heat over medium or medium-high until it’s just at a soft boil, then remove from heat.

  • Whisk together your sugar and egg yolks until combined in a separate bowl. This will form a thick paste.

  • Temper your egg mixture by ladling (or carefully pouring straight from the pan) ¼  - ⅓ cup of your hot cream mixture into the bowl with your eggs+sugar, whisking constantly to start melding the two mixtures together.  Repeat with a few more ladles worth of the cream mixture, and then transfer the tempered mixture back into your saucepan.

  • Over medium-high heat, heat your base and use a spatula to draw figure-8s shapes repeatedly through the mixture to keep everything moving so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Do this until it thickens slightly and reaches a temperature of 170 - 172 F, then remove from heat. (You’ve made creme anglaise!)

  • Pour your creme anglaise mixture through a chinoise/fine-meshed strainer into a container over an ice bath.

  • Stir periodically and let mixture cool down to room temperature.  Then let mixture chill for at least an hour and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

  • Before you spin your ice cream: have your first cake round, ring, and acetate set up so you can transfer ice cream to the cake (see ASSEMBLE IT steps below).  For the excess ice cream, place a baking dish and spatula in the freezer (I use the smaller of these two dishes when making a quart) so your finished ice cream will go into a chilled container and not melt.

  • Follow the instructions for your ice cream machine and spin your ice cream.  When it’s done spinning, transfer a quart of the ice cream into the cake ring structure that already has its bottom layer so you have ½” - 1” of ice cream as the middle layer. Top with the remaining cake layer and place entire cake in the freezer.  Transfer the remaining ice cream into the chilled container. Put all components back into the freezer to firm up and set for a few hours.

Salted dark caramel - recipe by Pretty. Simple. Sweet.; yield = 1 cup


  • 200g (organic) sugar

  • 120g heavy whipping cream

  • 75g unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup water (or enough to cover the sugar)

  • 2 pinches flaky sea salt


  • In a small or medium saucepan, combine sugar and enough water to just fully submerge the sugar, ensuring it’s all covered.  With a wet finger, remove any stray crystals of sugar from the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization.

  • Over medium high heat, bring the caramel to a dark amber color, then remove from heat and immediately (gently) add all the cream.

  • Bring back on the heat and back to a boil, and then add the butter.  Continue mixing on heat until butter is incorporated, then bring off heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes before drizzling the cake.

Special equipment - across all components



  • Place one layer of cake inside the cake ring and line the edge of the ring with acetate.  Secure acetate edges with tape.

  • Dismount the ice cream from the machine on top of the first layer of cake to form a middle layer of ice cream filling.  Immediately top the ice cream with the remaining cake layer, cover in plastic wrap and place entire cake in the freezer.

  • When ready to serve, drizzle cake with caramel, slice and enjoy.


  • Use a stout or different porter beer in the ice cream.

  • Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of molasses into the ice cream base or the caramel to add a different element of sugar.

  • Cover the entire cake with torched brown sugar meringue if you want something more of a showstopper.


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