Chocolate Guinness Cake

There's not a speck of Irish in me but I love celebrating St. Patricks Day anyway. Lots of laughter and such food! Unhappily, I don't like beer. Or stout or anything resembling it. Which has always made things difficult at parties and damn near impossible on St. Patrick's Day. But there's one exception: I'll have a cupful of it in Nigella Lawson's dark and sexy Guinness Cake. It's a single-layered chocolate cake made with a generous portion of Guinness stout. Yep, there's beer in the batter which gives it an interesting flavor that's wonderful with the chocolate, yet there's enough sugar to counter any possible bitterness of the Guinness.

I found the recipe in the The New York Times in 2004 and it's originally from from Nigella's book FEAST. It's a little like a Caribbean Black Cake without the dried fruit or maybe even a little like gingerbread without all the spices. Sort of dark and mysterious. And the kicker? This cake takes no time at all to make....it’s a single layer and you toss it all together on the stove top (using only one pan!) and dump it in a springform pan. The results are always delicious, moist but not overly dense, with the slight complex undertone of beer. Barely noticeable.

Nigella suggests a fluffy cream cheese icing, intended to resemble the head of a beer and while I think it's a clever idea, I can get the same effect with a frosting that has no cream cheese but some Bailey's Irish cream. Just to add yet another layer of flavor. You don't need to ice it at all if you don't want to 'cause it tastes fabulous plain, but I love the presentation of the cake with the icing.

Guinness Cake is not just for dinner, either. You can serve it with tea, so you have the opportunity to show off your Belleek China, which will enchant your guests with its' shamrock design.

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

1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar (I have used regular granulated sugar with no ill effects)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. 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.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.


Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar


Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the Bailey's and half of the confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. Add the second half of the sugar and beat until smooth.


Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

"May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out."
....Irish Toast

This is going to be my submission to the Regional Recipes: Ireland event over at Joanne's fabulous blog. Check it out HERE.


  1. Yummy yummy!!! I must try this one!
    Margaret B

  2. What time would you like me to drop in for a slice?

    I looks wonderful, Barbara! I'm not a fan of Guinness but mixed with chocolate would be perfectly acceptable ;)

  3. Oh dear ,i aint anything close to Irish too but u know am very excited about St.Paddy's and lemme be honest,actually my first :-))))
    You ahve given me jus the inspiration i so muc need :-))))
    Thanx and thats a really besutiful tea pot and cup n saucer u have ...loved it....
    U r really fast sweety -u already have the awards up-amazing....
    have a fantastic sunday with loads of love...

  4. Looks delicious! I don't care for dark beer but add chocolate and I am there!!

    Love the beautiful tea set!

    Happy St. Pat's Day!

  5. I don't care for anything in the beer family either, but since beer bread let me know that baking with beer is different, I might have to try this.

  6. Barbara,
    I also dislike beer and you are so right, it's always difficut to avoid it on St. Patrick's Day! This is the perfect solution if you ask me - can't wait to try it especially with that Bailey's Irish Cream frosting - yummy! Happy St. Patrick's Day to you:)

  7. Looks delicious! I'm not a fan of beer either (like all the other commenters, apparently!) but I'd make this any day. And your china is so pretty!

  8. Wow, Chocolate and Beer! This looks great. Not a drop of Irish in me either but love the St.Patty's day meal too.

  9. Margaret: It's hard to resist isn't it?

    Susan: The beer is barely noticeable.

    Mia: I love all my awards! Thank you so much!

    Julie: The tea set was my grandmother's. Wish I had some dessert plates to match!

    Chan: The beer is not a prominent flavor, thank heaven.

    Stephanie: Exciting week ahead for you!

    Lucie: Give it a try!

    Bryan: It's a super cake...hearty and chocolatey!

  10. I remember seeing this recipe and thinking, I must make this, and the promptly forgetting about it. It looks so gorgeous and Nigella-y. It's back on the list, thanks to you!

  11. Oh Barbara, your Guiness cake looks so amazing. The cake is so dark and rich looking....Nice.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

  12. I'm not a beer fan either but I think I'll also have to make an exception here. Actually, I've had Feast on my shelves for years but have never tried this. Your cake looks absolutely stunning (just as good as Nigella's) - congratulations!

  13. Ooh la la.. I made this cake and can vouch for the fact you are a genius to post it. Gorgeous version too, Barbara... I seem to remember mine got stuck in the pan for some reason... yours is perfect and I love the shamrock tea set. Now I know you are a fellow British Isles traveler and fan! I am making this cake for Paddy's day!

  14. You don't have to Irish to enjoy St Patrick's day :) I love it that you enjoy all that's Irish. I'm half irish an can honestly say I love my 'irishness'. Your cake looks delicious - I am planning to serve this on St Patrick's day too :) Love Lucie x

  15. I adore the combination of chocolate and Guinness...even though like you I don't enjoy Guinness on it's own. This cake looks fantastic, especially with the Bailey's buttercream. I made that a while back for some irish car bomb cupcakes...and couldn't help licking a good portion of it from the bowl! If you're interesting in submitting this to the Regional Recipes: Ireland event at my blog, I would love to have it!

  16. Barbara, this does sound fabulous. I will tell you how many pounds it put on me if I try it! Deal?

  17. I am taking a break from baking and eating cake after indulging in both this Mother's Day.

    You always take beautiful pictures.

  18. Oh goodness my Guinness! What a cake! I am planning to use the stout for a stew to celebrate St Patty's Day!

  19. oh wow my kind of cake and I adore your teapot, oh you are so right that bread would make the best grilled cheese

  20. Cute teapot!! I'm partial to teapots, you know!

  21. This cake actually sounds good with the Guinness in it. It looks even better, what a beauty.

    I am not Irish either, and don't drink beer. I just drink a pint of cider, they let me get away with that! :)

  22. Oh goodness and Bailey's Irish Frosting too!!! Your cake looks heavenly Barbara. This just may be the recipe that convinces me to give Guinness Stout baking a try. And, there isn't a smidgen of Irish in me either!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

    To the sun that warmed the vineyard.
    To the juice that turned the wine.
    To the host [ess] who cracked the bottle.
    And made it yours and mine...‘Sláinte!’

  23. OOooooh! I don't drink beer, either. So if I have to buy a six-pack...I guess that means... six cakes! YIPEEEE!

  24. A chocolate cake with Guinness sounds fantastic! Happy upcoming St. Patrick's Day!

  25. Guinness is so gross, but chocolate cake is awesome. "Just a spoonful of sugar..."

  26. I love celebrating a holiday at every available opportunity :) this looks fabulous!

  27. Hi Barbara,

    This cake looks wonderful and I would like to give this a try. I am like you do not like beer.
    Your teapot and cup and saucer are lovely.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day

  28. Oh goody goody goody, another beer cake! The texture looks fantastic! Btw, did you get the chance to toss the mandarin orange on 'chap goh meh'? hehe....

  29. sadly, there's not a drop of irish blood in me either, but i have aspirations of marrying a stud with a charming irish accent. :)
    beer? no thanks, never ever. i'm rethinking that position now, not only because this cake sounds rich and luscious but also because the idea of frosting as foam is so darn clever. :)

  30. This is such an awesome cake Barbara, that I will have to try it out for St. Paddy's day. (Hubby has a little bit of Irish in him :)

    Thanks for the recipe!

  31. Bearbara,
    I wasn't aware of this recipe. I love Nigella and her cookbooks. They're loads of fun. Thanks for posting.
    I inherited Belleck China. It's sweet and dainty. I never use it, but I will after seeing yours!
    Happy St Pat's Barbara,

  32. haha, I don't know why but the name of this recipe makes me smile, and it sounds like a very cheerful cake:)!

  33. Hungry Dog: I agree, very like Nigella, especially with the sexy part.

    Velva: It's delicious!

    Vanessa: I was pleasantly surprised to find it did not taste like beer at all!

    Deana: My grandmother gave me the teapot set. I love it!

    Lucie: It was a smash hit last year!

    Joanne: Just tell me what to do.

    June: I know. There's a lot of sugar in this cake, unfortunately!

    Clarity: I keep forgetting we celebrate Mother's Day in a different month!

    Amy: Yummee regarding stout in your stew!

    Rebecca: I copied that bread recipe. Can't wait to make it.

    Pam: I know how much you love teapots! You can't it!!! ;)

    Lyndsey: Last year I drank something out of test tubes...way too strong whatever it was, but better than choking down beer!

    Louise: I love your toast!

    Bella: I gave the other five bottles to my son last night!

    Natasha: It's a super good cake.

    Devon: You don't taste the beer, thank heaven.

    Lecia: I do too!

    Carolyn: I have my grandmother to thank for the tea set. I adore it!

    Kristy: No, which is why I'm still single!

    Grace: Hmmm. An Irish stud sounds interesting. Maybe you can lure him in with this cake!! ;)

    Shaz: Then he'll probably love this cake...although I do too!

    Pam: Yes, they are very fragile. One cup leaks although I can't find a crack. It's all so very delicate!

    Francesca: It's a cheerful cake all right!

  34. a luscious looking cake and a beautiful tea set! love the little shamrock design!

  35. Hello Barbara, and thank you so much for visiting me at my blog today! This cake looks sooo yummy! My husband is Irish so we go all~out for St. Patrick's Day, right up to the Irish cofee with the Bushnells Irish Whiskey! I love your Belleek... I have a small collection, and buy one new piece each year on QVC as they have an all~Irish day that day and the most fabulous people right from the Emerald Isle bringing beautiful treasures... your teaset is charming... Happy St. Patrick's Day to you too!... Bisous... Julie Marie

  36. Wowza Barbara!

    What a yummy cake and I want to reach throught this screen and grab a piece. What an interesting recipe and I would love to give your Chocolate Guinness Cake
    a try.

    Have a fabulous week sweet friend!

  37. Barbara ~ two of my favorite things: Chocolate & Guinness! And that marvelous icing...

    Your cake really will add a wee bit of Irish with each delicious bite. Can't wait to try it. Many thanks...

  38. I have browsed this cake many a time, but never got around to trying it. I have to say I am tempted after seeing your cake. It looks wonderful!

  39. Zurin: It's a sweet pattern, isn't it?

    Julie Marie: So pleased you commented because, unbeknownst to you, you alerted me to a spelling error on the blog! Belleek had a c in it instead of an e. Sometimes I have to redo these posts 10 times before I catch all the errors!

    Karyn: It was so good, I gave it to my son last night so I wouldn't eat it!!

    George: It's a fun cake to make and everyone loves it!

    Jacqueline: Nigella hit this one out of the ball park!

  40. I'll fake an Irish accent for a piece of this cake...

  41. mmmm, that's beer at it's best right there!

  42. man, i am sooo green with envy! oh, wait! no, that's just my green beer talking (which you don't drink). i think i gained about 2 lbs just reading this post. another terrific read, Ms. Barbara!


    - Fats (and getting fatter every time i try one of your recipes!)

  43. Try a Nutty Irishman for a drink- Half Bailys, and half Hazelnut liquor....

  44. Barbara, I just had my lunch and I am looking at you chocolate cake and really feel tortured for not be able to have a bite of it...what a great combination!

  45. Blonde Duck: Please give Queen Bitty a taste and then perhaps she won't be annoyed with me!

    Teresa: You're right. Mix some chocolate with the beer and you can't miss!

    JG: Had to get this one out of the house so my son got it- he's taking it into the ER with him tonight- they love my cakes! Will make another Wednesday for friends!

    BD: One Nutty Irishman coming right up! That's one I could love!

    Juliana: It was really delicious!

  46. Barbara, thanks for the comments. Mom is doing extremely well and will be home Wednesday. She is a real trooper ~ I know it is due to all her activities. The day before her lung surgery, she hosted a luncheon for 45 of her closest friends just to assure them that all would be fine.

    I will stay here in Venice until after her next round of surgery ~ her heart ~ later this month or early May. Luckily I could just lock up my home in Augusta and stay as long as I am needed. I call this "going to Camp Venice"!

    Thanks for all your wonderful post, your blog is one of my "must read"...


  47. That cake looks rich and delicious!It sounds fantastic,too :)

  48. Hi barbara! So all you have to do to enter this in Regional Recipes is to put a link on this post saying that you are submitting it to Regional Recipes, with a link back to my blog. Then just email me with the picture you want me to use for the round-up! Thanks for the submission.

  49. ohhhh I might be able live on that frosting alone!

  50. How neat! Matching china!
    Like you I don't drink beer, however cooked in a cake, why not? especially if it is a speedy one like this cake and flavored with chocolate! To please my Irish neighbor Mary, I could tint the frosting green!

  51. This look absolutely tempting!! gloria

  52. Guinness and chocolate are always a winning combination...and this cake looks amazing, Barbara! Your Belleek China is gorgeous!

  53. Believe it or not, I am mostly Irish, and I've never made a Guinness cake! Yours sounds fantastic with the Baileys in the frosting.

  54. ive heard so much about cakes and guinenss. but havent tried it!
    looks awesome :)
    though we don't celebrate it here,
    happy st patrick's day!

  55. That's fine :) Top of my list when it is time to indulge is that Americna grilled cheese sandwich recipe you posted.

  56. I like my Guinness with chocolate too. Your cake looks tasty.

  57. Oh! The deep dark chocolate shade of your cake looks fantastic and luxurious! Absolutely fabulous!

  58. Guinness with chocolate... love this winning formula. Your cake looks so yummy!

  59. I'm a bit like you - I dont really enjoy beer or cooking with it but if you're telling me this was made with beer - I may just be converted!

  60. George: Love that sweet town where your mother lives. Old Florida.

    Erica: It's delish!

    Joanne: Emailed the photo today.

    Leslie: Oh yeah. It's good!

    Joumana: If I hadn't told you it had beer in it, doubt you would have noticed!

    Gloria: It is!

    Faith: I love that china. It was given to me by my grandmother.

    Lisa: I liked the idea of another flavor for the frosting.

    Muffins: Well, you don't need to celebrate to make this cake!

    Clarity: Good choice!

    Mimi: Thanks!

    Christine: Isn't it a lovely deep color?

    Ellie: It's an old recipe but it never grows old.

    Trissa: You won't taste it, I promise.

  61. I wanted to make this recipe last weekend, but I was outvoted by my hubby who wanted the same old boring yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
    I love your version and how you used Bailey's Irish Cream to make that delicious frosting!

    Your shamrock china is gorgeous!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day.

  62. This looks delicious! Great idea at adding the bailey's to the frosting!

  63. This cake looks amazing. We are an Irish Household and love Guiness. I can't wait to try this cake.

    Heck, We even named our youngest Bailey!

  64. Seriously?!?! Wow, this cake = perfection!

  65. I love it when St Paddy's day rolls around. Everyone seems happy as a lark, with all the extra guiness and irish cream! I made a Bailey's ganache just now...Could I please have it over your delicious cake?

  66. This looks delicious. I have never made cake with beer, but I will have to try this one. I love your icing with Bailey's. What a good idea. And your china is beautiful!

  67. Wow. That looks AMAZING!!! Wow. You did a fantastic job!! What a perfect St. Pattys day cake!

  68. Sounds like an interesting cake. Though my kiddos aren't especially fond of chocolate cake I think they'd enjoy it. If only for the fact that it has beer in it...hee-hee!

    Happy St. Paddy's Day!

  69. I'm not a beer lover either, not even to cook with, but this cake looks fantastic!
    I also love your china-it's gorgeous!

  70. What a lovely cake. I've had this when we were still lining in the NYC area and I remember it being quite nice. I especially liked the icing you've used on your cake. We know the sun will rise if Bailey's is used to perk up a dessert:-). Erin Go Bragh.

  71. This is an excellent cake to make, as you say it couldn't be easier. We don't care for butter cream icing/frosting so I would probably serve it with caffe latte cream, also Nigella.
    You can never have too much chocolate, right?

  72. Cake looks so rich, moist n gorgeous!

  73. Brilliant idea using Baileys in the Cream cheese frosting Barbara! Having made this cake in the past, I know how gorgeous it is and yours looks wonderful! :D

  74. Amazing..I love this..This is my next treasure to take to my grandma's house..she loves cake!!


  75. Absolutely delicious! Love it!

  76. Kim: Well, I really like those boring cakes too!

    Cookies and Cups: Someone online made a cupcake with that frosting and I thought it was a super idea!

    Miranda: You have a child named Bailey? I love it!

    Simply Life: You know what? It was!

    Vicky: Bailey's ganache? Oh my. Can I come over?

    Wanda: I love the china too. Wish it weren't so fragile!

    Amanda: Thanks!

    Ingrid: Yeah, that's probably enough to intrigue them, but the beer cooks out and you can barely taste it.

    Lynda: YOu don't taste the beer in the cake, so don't let that stop you.

    Mary: Then you know how good it is!

    Maggie: That would be fabulous!

    Aruna: It is and thanks!

    Lorraine: I thought a cream cheese frosting would be boring on that wonderful cake.

    Sweetlife: She'll love it!

  77. That looks fantastic, I know what I'm having this Saint Patrick's day ;) and that Irish cream frosting is to die for, thanks for posting!

  78. A dark and sexy cake sounds so exotic and fun!

  79. Brilliant Barbara - adding the Irish Cream topping is just brilliant!

    BTW - if you haven't signed up at the brand new Food Blog Forum: www.foodblogforum.com you should! Lots of Florida food bloggers are already there along with more than 1000 other food bloggers!

  80. Happy St. Patrick's Day! This chocolate guinness bake is one of a kind, especially when it is topped with Bailey's Irish cream frosting!!! Simply irresistable :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  81. Oh my does this sound delicious!

  82. My goodness Barbara, I just ate too much and you are making me hungry again. I'm telling you, I can smell this from my screen. Yum mummm mummm!

  83. Anh: It is!

    Patty: The frosting made the cake!

    Barbara: Just like Nigella?

    Smith Bites: I'll go there today.

    Kris: I'm making another today.

    Kathleen: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    Rylan: Bad idea to read food bloggers after you've eaten!

  84. Happy St-Patrick.
    Ton gâteau est une magnifique réussite.
    Je n'ai encore jamais fait de gâteau à la bière.
    Cette recette me tente beaucoup.
    See soon.

  85. Barbara - I can't think of a finer way to celebrate St. Paddy's day than with this cake? With the Belleek china, all's one needs is a fiddler to top-off the mood. Thanks Barbara as always for your lovely, and thoughtful comments. You are truly a beautiful woman inside and out. AND - a fabulous cook!

    slàinte mhath xx

  86. Blonde Duck: And to you, too!

    Saveurs et Gourmandises: I'm so glad you are tempted! ;)

    Deborah: I love that china, don't you? Wish I had more of it!

  87. Barbara, what a beautiful cake! I love single layer cakes. They're so nice to have around to go with a cup of tea.

    I love your Belleek, too. Happy St. Patrick's day!

  88. Darn it! I'm heading to a St. Patty's Day dinner in a few hours and if I'd just read this post earlier I'd have the most perfect dessert of EVER. Oh well, there's always next week. ;)

    Thanks for posting all your lovely recipes - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  89. Oh yum! I bet that cake is delicious. Nigella is awesome! I think your frosting sounds much more fitting for this cake than the cream cheese. Lovely!

  90. Kate: Loved your photoshop tutorial!

    Phoenix: Sorry you missed the cake, but glad you are back.

    msmeanie: I agree- cream cheese just didn't work for me!

  91. This cake looks so dark and moist, Barbara. Very beautiful. I might actually make it this week even though I'm too late for St. Patty's.

  92. Hi Barbara, I like beer especially dark beer and I love chocolate so I can't wait to make this recipe. The frosting sounds absolutely delicious! You always share the best recipes with us. I have all of Nigella's cookbooks but I don't recall seeing this, I can't wait to give it a try.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day

  93. Barbara, what a fantastic, sexy cake!! I don't have a speck of Irish in me either, (duh) so I didn't do anything to celebrate it. I'll have to bake this sometime for all the days I've lost not celebrating!

  94. I've made Nigella's version before but I want to try your frosting on it next. That just sounds perfectly delicious!

  95. I love your tea set!!!! And i love your addition to the icing...Baileys!! YUM! Since I wasn't able to do the corned beef and cabbage on wednesday.... I'm making it tomorrow and I'm thinking I should just go all out and do this dessert too :)

  96. Barbara, I found your blog on Darkredcrema.com. Laura is my daughter.
    I love the idea of Guiness Beer in a chocolate cake! I still have a bottle in my frig left over from fixing my ususl winter Guiness Stout Pie. My Grandmother on my father's side was Irish, so when my husband and I were able to go to Southern Ireland a number of times on business, I was thrilled. I love it there; it's such a beautiful place, and the people are so friendly. We made sure, though, to be back to our hotel by 11:00 P.M. every night, because that's the magic hour when the pubs let out. Alot of people have been killed by drunk drivers over there. I can see why they like their Guiness, though; it's way different than the Guiness we import. I agree with you about what we get here. It's nasty (to me) and dark, and the only proper use for it is in a meat pie or a cake. Well, in Ireland, if I got it on tap, it was actually drinkable, although it still isn't my favorite drink. (I never thought I'd like whisky, but when I tasted their Midleton Very Rare, I fell in love! Now, I like just about all of their whiskies...Oh, no!) Anyway, I will be excited to make your recipe after a trip to the mountains to meet my son, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.

  97. Opps! I realized Guinness must have its proper spelling with two n's! Carolyn Cruze

    P.S. I am also attracted to the Mustard ring and rhubarb chutney recipe. Thanks

  98. My daughter made your cake for my husband's birthday:) It was delish.

  99. Guinness cake? That's a new and delicious one for me, thanks.

  100. It is a wonderful cake Barbara !!! I'm not a beer drinker (well, only in the summer!!) so I like you Bailey's suggestion !!!
    I love the shramrock china !! So delicate and original!!



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