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Guinness Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate layer cake with stout Irish spirit.

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

guinness chocolate cake recipe

Meet This Guinness Chocolate 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 of all the chocolate cake desserts out there, this one certainly tastes extremely good — especially when Guinness counts as the special ingredient.

This Guinness chocolate 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. With a tender crumb, sweet and rich chocolate flavor, and layers of buttercream, this is an ultimate chocolate celebration cake.

chocolate stout cake recipe ingredients

What Does Guinness Cake Taste Like?

This Guinness cake tastes moist and sweet, with robust chocolate flavor enhanced by chocolate and malt notes from the Guinness stout and espresso powder, plus a little spice from cinnamon. Meanwhile, brown sugar rounds out the Guinness cake’s sweetness with a little more depth.

Why Stout Tastes Good in 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.

Guinness or other stout makes a great ingredient for chocolate cake.

chocolate Guinness stout cake batter in cake pans

Does alcohol cook out of Guinness cake?

The alcohol from the Guinness stout does largely cook out of this cake. It is possible that not quite 100% of the alcohol evaporates during the baking process, but — at 4.2% alcohol by volume, a low-alcohol beverage compared to most beer — the majority will bake out, leaving no trace of alcohol flavor in the cake, only the malty chocolate notes.

baked chocolate stout cake recipe layers on cooling rack

Chocolate Guinness Stout Cake: Recipe Notes

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
  • Your cake is done baking in the oven when it springs back to the touch and a cake tester or knife comes out clean
  • Always scrape the cake batter in the bowl throughout the mixing process, using a sturdy silicone or rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be fully and evenly mixed.
  • Sift and whisk together the dry ingredients for better incorporation and smoothness to the batter
  • 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.
  • You can do this batter by hand in a large mixing bowl, but I recommend a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment if you have one available.

recipe easy chocolate guinness cake

Steps and Ingredients in Guinness Chocolate Cake

You will need the following ingredients to make this Guinness chocolate cake recipe:

  • All-purpose flour as the base of the recipe
  • Baking powder as a leavener to help the cake rise
  • Baking soda, another leavening ingredient
  • Salt to help round out the flavor. I use Diamond Crystal-brand Kosher salt
  • Cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor. Use unsweetened, non-Dutch processed cocoa, such as Hershey’s.
  • Unsalted butter for moisture, richness, and aeration
  • Brown sugar for sweetness with a little extra earthy flavor than white sugar
  • Eggs. Use large eggs, preferably at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract for sweet aroma. Use pure vanilla extract. I prefer Madagascar vanilla.
  • Instant espresso powder to heighten the flavor of the chocolate
  • Guinness Irish stout: the star of the show that complements the chocolate flavor and adds malty depth.
  • Vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting to top

This chocolate Guinness cake recipe is easy to make, and follows the basic steps of any creaming method cake.

Start by creaming the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, beat on medium to medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl. Alternately add the sifted dry ingredients and the Guinness to the cake batter mixture. Stir on low speed just until fully combined.

Grease and line with parchment paper two 9″ cake pans. Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared pans. Smooth the top of the cakes with an offset spatula to even the batter. Bake in the oven until a cake tester comes out clean (about 30 minutes), cool on a wire rack, frost, and serve.

Cheers to this special, easy chocolate stout cake!

guinness chocolate cake recipe

If you love this Irish-inspired recipe, you’re in luck! Also check out these recipes:

guinness chocolate cake recipe

Guinness Chocolate Cake

A moist, easy chocolate stout cake recipe with Irish spirit and rich chocolate flavor enhanced with 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
Calories: 2458kcal
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Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal brand)
  • 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 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cup Irish stout (not counting the foam)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • 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.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until very fluffy and light. Scrape the bowl with a silicone or rubber spatula to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract and instant espresso powder. Beat until fluffy and evenly incorporated. Scrape the bowl.
  • With the mixer on low, 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 on low to fully mix any remaining streaks of flour or stout. The batter should be nice and smooth.
    PRO TIP: To measure the Guinness into the liquid measuring cup, tilt the measuring cup and let the Guinness pour gently onto the side of the cup to minimize foam or head.
  • Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops of the cake batter evenly with an offset spatula or a knife. Bake on the center rack of the oven, rotating once, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops of the cake feel springy, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, run a knife or offset spatula around the edge of cake pans to loosen the cakes from the edges, then invert onto the wire rack to cool fully.
  • Frost with vanilla buttercream, fresh whipped cream, or plain with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Notes

Like most cakes, this Guinness chocolate cake tastes even better the next day. To bake the day before, wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap to store overnight at room temperature, then frost and serve the next day. The cake layers also freeze well, for up to two months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1x 9" cake layer | Calories: 2458kcal | Carbohydrates: 319g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 126g | Saturated Fat: 77g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 34g | Trans Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 549mg | Sodium: 1336mg | Potassium: 1007mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 215g | Vitamin A: 3886IU | Calcium: 484mg | Iron: 12mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition information is provided for courtesy purposes only, and is an estimate not verified by medical or nutrition experts. Read the full nutrition disclaimer.

9 comments

  • NCBaker

    5 stars
    Made this last year and will again for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

  • Susannah

    5 stars
    This was a good cake! The Guinness was not too strong (but I guess you don’t really want a cake to taste like beer/stout too much) but the whole cake has a very nice flavor and tasted very moist after a couple of days. Did not use espresso powder. Used dark brown sugar instead of light because it’s what I had.

  • Kathryn

    Hi,
    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 ?
    Thanks

    • 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. https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart

  • 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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