Chocolate Guinness Cake

Here’s how you know I’m the real deal: whereas most food publications will cram an upcoming holiday down your throat in hopes that you’ll link to their page as you plan your holiday meal, I’m not so clever or strategic. I wait until the holiday’s over, when the post will no longer be relevant, and then I blog about it. This means: (1) I’m not very smart; and (2) I’m pretty authentic. And so it is that I share with you now a cake that would’ve been very nice to bring to a St. Paddy’s Day Dinner this past weekend (as I did) but which you will probably not make anymore because the holiday’s over.

It’s a shame, though, because this is a really wonderful cake. You have the darkly bitter flavor of the beer which echoes the the bitter flavor of the chocolate all balanced out with lots of sugar. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson and it starts with these two ingredients:


You melt the butter in the beer:


Add sugar and cocoa powder:


Eggs, sour cream and vanilla:


And, finally, flour and baking soda:


Notice, this all happens in one pot which makes it a one-pot cake: a nice feature, as far as clean-up goes. You rub lots of softened butter over a springform pan:


Pour in the batter:


And bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester (or, in my case, a knife) comes out clean:


Meanwhile, you make a super fast, super tasty cream cheese icing in your food processor (the best way to make icing, as this previous post indicates):



Because we were going to dinner at Craig’s aunt and uncle’s, I took the icing in a separate container and iced the cake on the spot (it’s a loose icing, so you can just kind of pour it on). When the time came to eat the cake–after a wonderful corned beef and cabbage dinner which I wrote about in my newsletter–everyone dug in greedily. Here’s my slice:


Truth be told, it just tastes like a really good, really rich chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. If you search for it in your mouth, you might taste the beer, but not really.

Which is a good argument that this post isn’t a waste, after all. You don’t have to make this cake for St. Paddy’s Day; make it anytime you want a good, unusual chocolate cake. And whatever Guinness you don’t use in the cake, you can drink afterwards: how many chocolate cake recipes offer free beer? This cake deserves your non-St. Paddy’s Day attention.

Recipe: Chocolate Guinness Cake

Summary: Based on a recipe by Nigella Lawson.


  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (plus more, softened, for pan)
  • 3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 3/8 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-inch springform pan with your softened butter; line it with parchment paper and butter the paper too.
  2. In a large saucepan, pour in the Guinness and add the buter. Heat on low heat just until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and superfine sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs and vanilla; then whisk into the Guinness mixture. Add the flour and baking soda, whisk again until smooth, and then pour into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool completely.
  4. To make the icing, add the confectioners’ sugar and cream cheese to a food processor and pulse until smooth; add the cream to thin it out a bit, pulsing until incorporated.
  5. Remove the bottom of the springform pan (and the parchment), place the cake on a stand and spread on the icing.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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