Chocolate Guinness Cake

  • Serves: Makes one 9-inch cake
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 8796
  • Comments: 6

It's a single-layered chocolate cake made with a generous portion of Guinness stout or beer in the batter! Paired with the chocolate and sugar, it gives an interesting subtle flavor and moistness to the cake, and many bake it in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Guinness ( /ˈɡɪnɨs/ gin-is) is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James's Gate, Dublin. The thick creamy head is the result of the beer being mixed with nitrogen when being poured, which the topping on this cake is supposed to resemble. 

For the cake (note the odd measurements):
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/8 cup (almost 1/2 cup) Natural cocoa powder, sifted; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim and then sift
2 cups superfine or regular sugar

1 cup Guinness stout; use the beer part, not the foam. Do not use flat beer.
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/8 cup (almost 1/2 cup) sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese 
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine cocoa and superfine sugar. Set aside

4. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. 

5. Add the cocoa powder / sugar mixture, and whisk to blend.

6. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture in the saucepan, and whisk to blend.

7. Add the flour mixture to the Guinness mixture in the saucepan, and whisk again until smooth. 

8. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, soften cream cheese on low. 

2. Add the powdered sugar, slowly at the side of the bowl. 

3. Drizzle enough heavy cream, at the side of the bowl, and mix on medium-low speed until smooth and spreadable. 

4. Adjust consistency with small amounts of powdered sugar or heavy cream.

1. Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. 

2. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

The cream cheese icing dictates that the cake is perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator, well-wrapped, for a couple of days. It can be frozen for a month or more.

Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson (reprinted in the New York Times on 12/8/04)

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