Chocolate cake

High Country Baking: Guinness Chocolate Cake

The taste of beer in this Guinness stout cake is not overwhelming. In fact, it’s so subtle that only dedicated stout fans will recognize it.
Vera Dawson/Courtesy Photo

We sip champagne on New Year’s Eve, Christmas calls for eggnog, and the glass we raise on St. Patrick’s Day will be filled with Irish beer, making Guinness cake the perfect March 17th dessert.

I posted a recipe several years ago that still gets rave reviews, so this one, which is delicious and easier to make, should be a winner. The taste of beer is not overwhelming. In fact, it’s so subtle that only dedicated stout fans will recognize it. Most will simply experience a deeply flavored chocolate cake with a pleasant crumb and moist texture. The cake in the photo is covered in vanilla frosting and drizzled with dark chocolate, but use any frosting you like.

Guinness chocolate cake

Bake in an 8 1/2 inch shiny metal springform pan with 2 inch sides. Adjusted for altitudes of 7,000 feet and above.


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Guinness stout, without foam
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting, optional

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon stout
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar

Watering, optional

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon rapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Unlock your springform pan, flip the bottom over so the lip is facing down, and lock it back in place. This will make it easier to remove and cut the baked cake. Grease the pan with cooking spray that contains flour. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and grease the paper.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add them, along with the stout, to a microwave-safe mixing bowl and heat on low in a microwave oven until the butter melts. Remove the bowl from the oven, add the cocoa and sugar, and whisk to combine. Whisk sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl until combined. Then whisk in the butter/stout. Slowly add flour and baking soda, stirring/whisking until a paste forms. Do not overmix. Stop when the dry ingredients disappear and the mixture is smooth.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth and level and bang pan on counter several times to dislodge air bubbles. Bake until the cake rises, the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. The top may develop a few cracks while baking, but they won’t show once the cake is inverted and glazed/frosted.

Take the cake out of the oven, place it on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Run a knife or offset spatula between the pan and the cake, pressing toward the pan, then carefully remove the sides of the pan. If the cake is bulging, use a serrated knife to shave the top. Invert the cake onto a plate or a cardboard circle. Remove bottom of pan and parchment paper liner. Cover the cake while you prepare the frosting and drizzle.

Prepare and glaze by combining melted butter, stout and vanilla in a bowl and whisking until smooth. Slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon or two at a time, beating after each addition until the mixture thickens but still slips off a spoon easily (it will thicken much more as the butter hardens). Place the cake on a sheet of waxed paper and pour/spread the frosting on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the frosting set (refrigerate the cake to speed it up). Prepare the tenderloin by heating the chopped chocolate and canola oil in a microwave oven for 30 second intervals on low heat until almost completely melted. Remove from oven and stir until completely melted, smooth and shiny. If necessary, let cool until slightly thickened then drizzle with frosting.

Editor’s Note: This recipe is a variation of one published on the New York Times Cooking website.

Vera Dawson

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