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Nanaimo Bar Stout Cake with Whiskey Ganache

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins


Chocolate Stout Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Nanaimo Bars: Layer 1

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped

Nanaimo Bars: Layer 2

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup custard powder
  • 3 cups icing sugar sifted

Nanaimo Bars: Layer 3

  • 57g (2 oz) dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

  • 400g (14 oz) dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup white corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp Irish whiskey


Chocolate Stout Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6" cake pans. Set aside.
  • Place the flour, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa in a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dry ingredients together on low for 2-3 minutes or until fully integrated.
  • Pour the beer into a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Heat the beer until steam gathers on the surface. Remove from the heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk to combine the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Slowly stream in the beer, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
  • With the mixer set to low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until a thin, cohesive batter forms. Divide the batter amongst the three prepared cake pans and transfer to the oven. Bake the cakes for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
  • Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before wrapping them tightly and placing them in the refrigerator. 

For the Nanaimo Bars

  • Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Place the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter for layer 1. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa and stir to combine. Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly stream in the egg, whisking constantly.
  • Add the cocoa mixture to the coconut mixture and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Press the mixture into the loaf tin to form a thin, even layer. Set aside.
  • For layer 2, place the softened butter into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the cream and custard powder and whisk to combine. 
  • Set the mixer to low and start adding the icing sugar a 1/4 cup at a time. Once the sugar is integrated, whip the mixture on high speed until well-combined. 
  • Spread a quarter of the mixture over top of your walnut, graham cracker layer and set aside. Transfer the remaining mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For layer 3, melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool slightly.
  • Pour the mixture over the second layer and transfer the finished Nanaimo bars to the fridge. Let set for 1 hour before slicing. Once sliced, return the bars to the fridge for another hour.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

  • Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Pour the cream and the corn syrup into a small saucepan. Add the butter and place over medium heat. Heat until the butter melts and steam gathers on the surface of the mixture. Don't let it come to a boil.
  • Once the cream mixture is hot, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and let sit undisturbed for 1 minute.
  • Using a whisk, slowly whisk the chocolate and cream mixture together until glossy, uniform ganache forms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. Let chill for at least an hour.

To Assemble

  • Trim the chilled cakes if necessary prior to icing. Take the ganache and the remaining Nanaimo bar filling out of the fridge and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Spread a little ganache on a cake board and place your first layer of cake on top. Pipe a border of ganache around the edge of the top of your first layer. Fill the center with the Nanaimo bar filling before placing your second layer on top. Repeat these steps with the second layer.
  • Once your third layer is in place, use the ganache to create a crumb coat. Transfer the cake to the fridge and let chill for 15-30 minutes.
  • Cover the cake with the remaining ganache. Dot the surface of the ganache with the remaining Nanaimo bar filling and smooth the surface to your taste. 
  • Top the finished cake with the mini Nanaimo bars you created earlier and either serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.