Monday, 4 July 2011

Guinness Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago, my friend Dave had his 21st birthday. As it was during exam period, it was left semi-uncelebrated. So on Saturday we decided to do a bit of a belated celebration. So I made cake. Obviously.

Dave is Northern Irish. Dave likes Guinness. So when I saw this cake while browsing the archives of Design*Sponge made by the fabulous Katie of What Katie Ate it reminded me of the Nigella original and I had to make it for him.

On Friday night we all went to a white tie ball - the Trinity College Commemeration Ball. It was my last ball at Oxford and I have to say it was by far the best. The food was great (we had oysters, eton mess, falafel wraps, noodles, hog roast, breakfast baps at 4am etc etc), the champagne and cocktails were flowing all night, the music and fairground rides gave constant entertainment and we didn't get home until 6am when the sun had fully risen. I slept for four hours (after taking my vintage 1950's full length red velvet gown with proper petticoats off) and then started making this cake. The smell of the Guinness made me feel a bit nauseous as the cocktails started to wear off, but it was worth it.

Despite my lack of sleep, the cake came together easily. It's very rich and dense but doesn't have an overwhelming taste of Guinness. The fluffy and slightly tangy icing contrasts beautifully. All in all, it's a great recipe.


UPDATE 9/05/15: I made this again last week for another birthday and ended up changing a few things - reducing the vanilla, switching to baking powder and using less sugar and more cream in the icing - I've updated the recipe below to reflect this. As my cake hadn't cooled fully, I took the icing in a separate box to the cake (with a cooler) and then iced it perched on a bit of the bar at the pub. It worked brilliantly - the middle of the cake was still a touch warm and the cool icing was a lovely contrast. The icing was a bit foamier than in the pictures, but the cake looks much the same.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
(adapted from Nigella Lawson's Feast)

For the cake:
250ml Guinness
250g unsalted butter
75g best quality cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
140ml sour cream/greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

For the icing:
180g cream cheese
60g icing sugar
100ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Fully line and grease a 23cm/9" springform tin (or a angel food cake tin of about 10"). Pour the Guinness into a large pan and put over a medium heat. Add the butter and cocoa and whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined. Turn off the heat then whisk in the sugar. Beat the eggs, sour cream and vanilla together in a medium bowl then whisk them into the mixture. Finally whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes - you want a skewer to come out with damp crumbs, not totally clean but not with raw mixture. Place onto a cooling rack and leave to cool (it can take quite a while to cool).

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar in two goes and keep going until it is smooth. Whip the cream to just past soft peaks. Fold a third of the cream into the mixture to loosen it, then gently fold the rest in. Smooth over the top of the cooled cake, leaving the sides free to create the idea of a pint of guinness.

(Makes about 14-16 slices)

Three more chocolate recipes:
Coconut Milk Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cardamon Cookies
Choco-Caramel Sundae Sauce


  1. Funnily enough I too made this cake this weekend! Also a birthday cake for a big Guinness fan it went down a storm-the sweetness of the 'froth' contrasting beautifully with the dense, moustache, sometimes pungent cake. You could just about taste the Guinness but it was very subtle. And extra Guinness to accompany in celebration of course! The Ball sounds utterly wonderful- but I definitely appreciate baking this particular cake may have left you feeling rather woozy the following day! Great blog!

  2. Beer infused cake, I am SOOO there. This sounds fabulously scrumptious! Hope you had a fab weekend.

  3. Dave must be so thrilled with this special cake... so dark, sinful and yummy :-)

  4. I love Guinness Chocolate Cake; I made a similar cake for a Slavic dept. gathering last fall and it was a big hit. It's a gloriously moist and delicious cake!

  5. Kate - That's funny! I'm glad you enjoyed it too - it's a great recipe. Thanks for your kind words.

    elle marie - oddly it doesn't really taste of beer but knowing it's there is fun :)

    Kris - it's so dark and dense, yet somehow it doesn't get too heavy. Yummy indeed!

    Katy - It's such a popular cake, for so many good reasons. I'll have to make it again I think.

  6. Such a delicious cake. Yours looks like it turned out well...and I like that you put the frosting on top.
    And congrats on graduating :)

  7. This is the only cake I've made out of that book, but I loved it. It was a while ago, sadly. There are so many cakes I want to make and not enough occasions! I really love the looks of it too--how the cream cheese frosting is like the froth on top. What a great birthday treat!

  8. Hi! Can i check with you
    The 75g best quality cocoa,izzit powdered or chunk of choc? Thanks!

    1. It's cocoa powder! Sorry it wasn't clear, I'll edit it now. Hope you enjoy the cake!


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