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Chocolate Guinness Cake

Chocolate layer cake with stout Irish spirit.

Everyone loves chocolate cake, of course. But the best chocolate cake for St. Patrick’s Day is this easy chocolate Guinness cake recipe, a chocolate stout cake that’s rich and moist, with bonus flavor from stout and spice and everything nice.

chocolate Guinness stout cake recipe easy chocolate Guinness stout cake recipe easy

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe

Chocolate stout cake recipes may not have all the St. Patrick’s Day renown as, say, Irish soda bread or shepherd’s pie. But it certainly tastes extremely good — especially when Guinness counts as the special ingredient.

This chocolate Guinness stout cake recipe has all the moist, classic flavor of a great chocolate layer cake, but with an added “something” that’s perfect year ’round, but especially around St. Patrick’s Day.

chocolate stout cake recipe ingredients

Why Stout Tastes Good in Chocolate Cake

Guinness or other stout makes a great ingredient for chocolate cake. The flavors of traditional Guinness stout generally include chocolate, coffee, and malt flavors and aromas. So it makes sense that stout naturally lends itself to chocolate cake: Stout and chocolate are highly complementary flavors.

Historically, stout meant a stronger, fuller-bodied — or “stout” — porter. Both porter and stout were, and remain, made from dark roasted grain. Today, the general consensus holds that porters are brewed with roasted malt, and stouts use unmalted roasted barley. The unmalted roasted barley gives stout its typical coffee notes.

chocolate Guinness stout cake batter in cake pans

Chocolate Guinness Stout Cake: Recipe Notes

This chocolate Guinness cake recipe is easy to make, and follows the basics of any creaming method cake, starting with creaming the sugar and butter together, then gradually adding the additional ingredients.

But here are a few baking notes geared to this specific chocolate stout cake recipe:

  • Any stout will do, but Guinness is an affordable, widely-available, and iconic choice
  • Note the use of instant espresso powder. Instant espresso powder is a common “secret” ingredient among bakers for chocolate desserts, heightening the flavor of chocolate.
  • Here, espresso powder also heightens the flavor of the stout, while brown sugar brings out its molasses notes
  • Your cake is done when it springs back to the touch and a cake tester or knife comes out clean
  • Cake always tastes better the next day. Make this a day or two in advance, and enjoy with vanilla buttercream, or even plain, dusted with powdered sugar.

Cheers to this special, easy chocolate stout cake!

baked chocolate stout cake recipe layers on cooling rack

If you love chocolate stout cake, here are more recipes to love:

chocolate Guinness stout cake recipe easy

chocolate Guinness stout cake recipe easy

Chocolate Guinness Cake

A moist, easy chocolate Guinness cake recipe with stout Irish spirit that's easy to make and tastes phenomenal from malty Guinness stout. St. Patrick's Day never tasted so sweet!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Irish
Keywords:: cake, chcolate guinness cake recipe, chocolate, chocolate stout cake, dessert, Guinness, guinness cake, irish, St Patricks Day, stout
Servings: 2 x 9-inch layers


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cup Irish stout (not counting the foam)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch cake pans.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sifted cocoa powder with a whisk. Set aside.
    PRO TIP: You must sift the cocoa powder. Otherwise, it will clump impossibly in the cake batter.
  • Beat the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until very fluffy and light. Scrape the bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and instant espresso powder. Beat until fluffy and evenly incorporated. Scrape the bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the stout, in three additions: dry, stout, dry. Add the next addition when the previous one is about 75% mixed. Scrape the bowl and stir by hand to fully mix any remaining streaks of flour or stout. The batter should be nice and smooth.
  • Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake, rotating once, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops of the cake feel springy, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, run a knife or offset spatula around the cake pan to loosen the cake from the edges, than invert onto the rack to cool fully.
  • Serve with vanilla buttercream, fresh whipped cream, or plain with a dusting of powdered sugar.


  • Kathryn

    Looking forward to making this cake.
    Can I use 8 inch pans?
    Should I adjust the bake time?

    • Unpeeled

      Yes, you can definitely use 8″ pans; just be sure not to overfill them as the cakes will rise while baking. Depending on the depth of your 8″ pans, you may choose to bake a cupcake or two on the side with any leftover batter 🙂 Don’t adjust the oven temperature, just the baking time.

  • Please can you give metric weight for those of us in UK ?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Vicki! I am in the process of updating my recipes (and website, generally) to include the option for metric conversion, and apologize that I do not have this in place quite yet. In the meantime, I find that King Arthur baking has a wonderful conversion chart, with a search option as well. I know this is not ideal, but I hope it helps! All the best.

  • Hannah W.

    5 stars
    Moist with excellent chocolate flavor.

  • 5 stars
    Yummy chocolate cake and easy to make.

  • Colleen

    5 stars
    Fantastic chocolate cake. The Guinness is subtle, maybe because it tastes along the same lines of chocolate? Will make again.

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