Relish: Chocolate Guinness Cake

This is a delicious cake with a complex flavor due to the darkness of the Guinness. It’s super moist and so delicious, and the cream cheese frosting really completes it. I brought it to work to share because there’s no way Kelly and I should eat this entire cake, and my one co-worker described its tastiness as “sinful.” So say a little prayer and give this cake a try!

Originally, I saw this recipe as a single layer done in a spring form pan, which is another great way to do this. If you have a spring form pan and would rather do one layer, cut my recipe in half and just line the bottom of the spring form pan with parchment paper.

Most chocolate Guinness cake recipes I found were based on a recipe created by Nigella Lawson. I was thankful to Susie Nadler of The Kitchn for her post on Nigella Lawson’s recipe that helped make things a little more clear for me. I had some fun adding my own touches to the recipe, such as the cinnamon and molasses.

I made two mistakes I wish I had enough foresight to avoid. First, I messed up lining my cake pans with parchment paper. I should have cut a strip that could lay flat against the side. Instead, I had one big piece that lied flat on the bottom but was ruffled on the side. This created an uneven, less pretty cake edge. Second, I added my wet mix to my dry mix way too quickly which made my batter a little lumpy. Do avoid little flour clumps throughout the batter, add the wet mix a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Even if you don’t like Guinness or dark beers in general, I would still recommend giving it a try because the flavors of Guinness and chocolate really work well in this recipe, and there’s not a strong, obvious Guinness flavor to it. And if you don’t like it, you can make a lot of friends with this cake so it won’t go to waste!

Relish: Chocolate Guiness Cake
Author: Jon Schelander-Pugh
This is a delicious cake with a complex flavor due to the darkness of the Guinness. It’s super moist and so delicious, and the cream cheese frosting really completes it.
  • cake
  • 2 cups Guinness Extra Stout
  • 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • frosting
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Using butter not intended for the recipe, butter 3 cake pans and then line with parchment paper
  3. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter and place over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, and molasses, and whisk to blend
  5. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, then add to Guinness mixture.
  6. In a very large bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gently whisk to mix.
  7. Slowly pour wet mixture into the dry mixture in increments, mixing well each time. This is important to reduce the chance of lumpy batter.
  8. Pour batter evenly into the 3 cake pans you buttered and lined, filling each about 2/3 full.
  9. Bake in the middle of the oven until risen and firm, about 45 minutes. Rotate halfway through.
  10. Leaving the cakes in the pans, set on wire racks and let cool completely. They can’t even be warm or else the frosting will melt.
  1. Using an electric mixer or hand mixer, blend the butter, cream cheese, and whipping cream until very smooth (about 3 minutes at medium speed). Periodically scrape the bowl’s sides and bottom for evenness.
  2. Add the vanilla and mix it in.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix as you add until you have the thickness and sweetness you want. You may want to whisk the powdered sugar first to get rid of any clumps.
  4. Stack the layers, spreading frosting between each and on the very top. Lightly dust the top with unsweetened cocoa powder.

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  • Reply Jewel

    Pretty Cake!

    June 11, 2012 at 9:39 AM
    • Reply Allison

      It is gorgeous. I almost wouldn’t want to cut into it!

      June 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM
  • Reply Allywan

    That cake looks ridiculous!! I need one.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Me too! I don’t enjoy baking so I need to find someone to make this.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM
  • Reply Jessica R

    This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Mmmm cake. Pie. Sweets!

      June 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM
  • Reply Recipe Box: Sweet Wheat Ale Quick Bread | Jon Schelander-Pugh

    […] just as a reminder, I have a recipe for a 3-layer chocolate Guinness cake guest-posted on Allison Lehman’s blog. That was an amazing cake that turned out super moist, […]

    June 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM
  • Reply Alli

    This looks so good!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:48 PM
    • Reply Allison

      I’ve been wanting a piece since this post went up!!

      June 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM
  • Reply Lindsay

    I made this last night. It needs twice the amount of cocoa. All I could taste was cinnamon. I’m going to layer it with a rich ganache to pump up the chocolate and frost with a Bailey’s spiked cream cheese frosting. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the base of the recipe! Slainte!

    March 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM
    • Reply Jon

      Thanks for the feedback, Lindsay. I don’t recall the flavor of cinnamon being so prevalent, but adding ganache and Bailey’s-spiked frosting sounds like a delicious idea. Happy baking!

      March 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM
  • Reply Keith

    This will be a “go-to” cake….do not adjust this at all it is perfect as is. I perfect mix of chocolate and other wonderful flavors. Cake is moist and just perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

    March 15, 2013 at 8:58 AM
    • Reply Jon

      Thanks, Keith! I’m glad you enjoyed this. I also love how moist it is.

      March 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM
  • Reply WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING | Angelos Properties Blog

    […] Chocolate Guinness Cake — If this rich, moist cake doesn’t get your guests’ mouths watering, we don’t know what will! Shamrock Sandwich Cookies — You’ll need to throw some green into your spread of food. These sandwich cookies are simply modified red velvet whoopie pies. […]

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  • Reply Debora

    Very nice cake, but for my taste there is too much cinnamon. Next time I’ll used 2 teaspoons instead of 2 tablespoons.

    March 28, 2015 at 10:30 PM
  • Reply Maria

    Made this cake and my family loved it! The only thing I changed was adding only 1/2 cup sugar to the frosting since I didn’t want it overly sweet. A great recipe thanks!

    December 22, 2015 at 8:59 PM
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