Chocolate Guinness Cake


Get in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day with this rich, chocolatey, moist, out-of-this-world chocolate guinness cake, adapted from Nigella Lawson by Simply Recipes contributor Garrett McCord. And for more ideas, see our St. Patrick’s Day recipes section. ~Elise

I’m not a big chocolate person. Nor am I a huge stout drinker. Yet, combine the two together in this cake and you’ll have my attention.

The two ingredients have a lot of dark, husky flavor notes in common and combined with a bit of flour, sugar, and sour cream they blend into a rich as old money dessert that’s perfect for any St. Patrick’s day party. A simple cream cheese frosting blends perfectly with the slightly bitter crumb and makes it all the better. This cake is best served with a pint of stout or porter beer, such as Guinness, so be sure to buy a six pack so you have enough to drink with your slice of cake.

This recipe is a riff on the classic Nigella Lawson recipe, but with some of the white refined sugar replaced with dark brown sugar which brings out some of the malty, twangy flavors of the beer; and a bit of salt added to highlight the chocolate. For something sweeter use all white sugar and add a tablespoon more of cocoa powder.

From the recipe archive. First posted 2012.

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake


  • 1 cup stout or porter beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cream cheese frosting recipe


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 or 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

2 In a large saucepan place the beer and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Add the cocoa powder and sugars and whisk together. Take off heat and allow to come to room temperature.

3 In another bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until very, very well combined. Add to the butter-beer mixture and whisk together.

4 In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the beer-butter mixture and whisk together until it just comes together. Pour into the prepared pan and give the pan a few short drops onto the countertop to shake the air pockets in the batter to the surface and out of the cake. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan and pop the ring off the springform.

5 Spread frosting on the cooled cake and serve.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

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Showing 4 of 93 Comments

  • Sylwia

    I made it yesterday and it came out just like on your pictures. And the taste was great! I really loved it! Thank you :)

  • Elena

    I love this cake!!! I made it several ways: with white chocolate frosting, with whipped cream and cherries and even with chocolate ganache. Each time it was perfect and everyone loved it!!! Thank you Elise!!!!!! This is the best chocolate cake!!!!!

  • Steve

    Made this for Easter and everyone loved it. I will so be making it next time with a chocolate stout. Thanks Mary@chattervore for the suggestion.

  • Susan

    I have used a similar recipe for years only big difference is that the sugar isn’t added to the saucepan, but kept with the dry ingredients. Though I like cream cheese icing on some things, a ganache drizzled over the top takes the cake to an entirely new level for chocolate lovers (dark chocolate chips, coffee [or whipping] cream, pinch of instant coffee: warm in microwave in 15 second bursts until you can mix ingredients into a smooth, shiny sauce. Don’t overheat/heat too fast or it seizes. Sometime I’ll add a dash of coffee or chocolate liqueur).
    I’ve substituted the sour cream for 6% or higher fat plain yogurt, and 0-2% plain Greek yogurt. Works fine but cake is a bit denser (closer to a brownie). Swapped half of the flour for whole wheat pastry flour. Shh, I’ve even gone so far as to replace half the butter with ripe, well blended avocado with good results. Adding cinnamon or a bit of instant coffee to the batter also highlights the chocolate, but I haven’t done that when using high molasses content sugars. The recipe is very forgiving and even if it failed completely (has not happened yet), I’d imagine it would still be fantastic warm with vanilla ice cream.
    However I’ve made it, leftovers have never been an issue.

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