Chocolate Guinness Cake

St. Patrick's DayBakingChocolate

Rich, moist, chocolate cake spiked with stout beer. Malty, sweet, and perfect for a St. Patrick's day party.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 Guinness extra stout
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural 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 oven, prepare pan: 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 Heat Guinness, butter, add cocoa and sugar: In a large saucepan place the stout 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 Beat sour cream, eggs, vanilla, then add to stout butter mixture: In another bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until very, very well combined. Add to the butter-stout mixture and whisk together.

4 Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, add to stout-butter mixture: In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stout-butter mixture and whisk together until it just comes together.

5 Bake: 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 at 350°F for 50-60 minutes.

6 Cool: 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.

7 Frost: Spread frosting on the cooled cake and serve.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Showing 4 of 106 Comments / Reviews

  • Tamara

    I love this cake. Wondering if there’s a secret to have it not cave in the middle? It always caved for me at sea level and it’s even worse now at altitude. Any advice would be most helpful!

  • Rodika

    I love love love this recipe. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve made these for friends birthdays and anniversaries and they’re great everytime. I usually do a chocolate cream cheese frosting for them. I always use all purpose flour to make them and I’ve made them in a regular spring form pan, in cupcake pans, in bundt pans, in loaf pans. They’re always amazing.

  • Kelli D

    I’ve made this cake for my husband’s birthday every year for the past 4-5 years. It is a moist dense flavorful cake, a winner for sure! I follow the directions exactly and bake exactly at 350 for 50-60 minutes and I notice each time that at the 45 minute mark the cake is still quite liquid-ey. So I increase the baking time in 5-minute increments until the middle is no longer jiggly and springs back when lightly touched. I have noticed that with each cake I’ve baked as the cake cools in the pan, the middle literally “sinks”. This isn’t a bad thing, but I’m wondering is the cake supposed to sink as it cools in the pan? Looking at the beautiful slice of cake in the picture at the top of this post, the cake doesn’t look like it sunk. It also looks like Garrett keeps the cake on the springform bottom and just frosts the top of the cake as it is out of the pan. Is there something I should be doing differently to avoid the middle sinking as it cools? Thanks :)

  • Loretta

    Can you tell me what adjustment will need to be made for high altitude (7500 ft)?

  • Danielle

    This was the best cake I have ever made. Everyone absolutely loved it. I followed the recipe exactly, cooked it for 55 minutes, and used a 9″ springform pan. The cake came out looking exactly like the picture and tasting amazing. The cake was not to sweet with a hint of the Guinness and the frosting was a perfect match. This is not your average, ordinary cake but it is very easy to make. I will definitely be making this cake again. Thank you for a great recipe!

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