Guinness chocolate cake

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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.

First published in 2017

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)




Guiness cake


  • 250g of icing sugar
  • 150g of butter, softened
  • 25g of cocoa powder
  • 75ml of Guinness
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Using a cake release spray or butter, grease two 20cm (8”) round sandwich cake tins
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Mix and whisk for 2-3 minutes or until you have a smooth cake batter. You can also do this in a food mixer
Pour the cake batter evenly into the two prepared sandwich tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and cooked in the middle
Run a knife around the edge of each cake and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before icing
Now 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, then mix together the Guinness and vanilla extract. Add to the buttercream, beat well again and set to one side to firm up before using
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 decorate with some crumbled chocolate flake. Serve in small slices, as the cake is very rich
First published in 2017

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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