Guinness Chocolate Cake

By Karen Burns-Booth •

Here's a fantastic treat for St Patrick's Day.  Wonderfully rich and moist, it keeps for up to a week. The Guinness adds moisture and a subtle “hoppy” flavour to the cake. There's no chocolate inside, but lots of cocoa.  Karen shares how to make this all-in-one celebratory cake.

I’m not Irish, but I do love how Ireland and the Irish, both at home and abroad, celebrate their national Saint’s day, St Patrick’s Day; it’s a day filled with fun, revelry and good food, although I profess not to be that enamoured of green beer! And, although I’m not Irish, I do LOVE Irish food, especially their amazing cooked breakfasts with potato farls (potato cakes/pancakes similar to soda bread), black pudding, bacon and eggs. Most of us know the most popular Irish recipes, such as soda bread, Irish stew and champ, but there are a myriad of other lovely traditional recipes too.

Ireland is justly famous for its beef and dairy products, and I must admit to being somewhat smitten by a good Steak and Ale pie, made with Guinness of course and prime Irish beef; their cheeses are also delicious with my favourites being farmhouse Irish Cheddar and Cashel Blue. But there are countless other lovely Irish cheeses, with many of them being made at source on farms throughout the country. But, it is probably their most famous export of Guinness that we all know and love the best.

And, it’s with Ireland’s most famous export of Guinness stout that I made my offering for St Paddy’s Day this year, a recipe for a rather large and delectably moist Guinness Chocolate Cake. This is not just a very impressive cake to look at, as it is a VERY big cake, it is also extremely easy to make with one of my favourite “all-in-one” chocolate cake recipes. Believe it or not, there is NO chocolate added to the cake, but cocoa instead – but lots of it and with a fair bit of the frothy brown stuff (Guinness) too.

The cake is then embellished with a cocoa and Guinness buttercream and a sprinkling of chocolate flake shards on top. The cake is wonderfully rich and moist and keeps for up to a week, assuming that it’s not devoured in one sitting that is. The Guinness adds moisture and a subtle “hoppy” flavour to the cake – it really is a very special kind of “celebratory” cake and deserving of “pride of place” on any St Patrick’s Day teatime table. Why not serve this cake alongside some soda bread and an Irish cheeseboard for a slightly different family supper on the 17th March. “Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh” (On St. Patrick's Day, everyone's Irish in Gaeilge)

Guinness Chocolate Cake

(Serves 10 to 12)


250g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
250g softened butter
250g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250mls Guinness stout


250g icing sugar
150g softened butter
25g cocoa powder
75mls Guinness stout mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Flake bars, crumbled


1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 5. Using a cake release spray or butter, grease two 20cm (8”) round sandwich cake tins.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, and then mix and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes or until you have a smooth cake batter. You can also do this in a food mixer.
3. Pour the cake batter evenly into the two prepared sandwich tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and cooked in the middle.
4. Run a knife around the edge of each cake and allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes, before turning out onto a wire cooling rack; allow to cool completely before icing.
5. Make the buttercream icing; add the icing sugar and cocoa to the butter and work it in with a spoon until it has all been added. Beat well before adding the Guinness and vanilla mixture, beat well again and set to one side to firm up before using.

6. When the cakes are cold, place one onto a plate and spread some of the buttercream over it, before placing the other cake on top. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and the sides of the cake and then scatter the flake over the top.

7. Serve in small slices, as it is very rich. 

Inspired?  For more St Patrick’s Day recipes, visit Great British Chefs collection.


Looks very good! I find that 5-spice powder enhances the flavour with Guinness or a heavy beer in a chocolate cake
15 May 2014
Looks no less than heavenly! I'm betting the Guinness imparts an interesting subtle flavour that works deliciously with the cocoa. What I'd do for a big fat slice right now. A good deal more exciting that the Beef & Guinness stew I slow cooked yesterday too!.
18 March 2014
Peaches Please
Looks super tasty!
17 March 2014
Lavender and Lovage
THANKS so much The Spicy Pear! We ate the last couple of slices yesterday and I have been asked to make another cake this weekend! Karen
14 March 2014
The Spicy Pear
Your Guinness chocolate cake looks amazing. It looks incredibly moist and I love the buttercream in the middle. I am quickly being transported back to my childhood when my mum would allow me to have a small slice as a treat. Will definitely be trying to make this.
14 March 2014

Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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