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 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.
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: 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!
If you love chocolate stout cake, here are more recipes to love:
- Great Irish Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day
- Irish Potato Candies
- How to Make Box Brown Mix Taste Better
Chocolate Guinness Cake
- 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.