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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or any day) with this delicious Guinness Chocolate Cake! It has the most wonderful fudgy flavor and tender texture that is complemented by a Bailey’s buttercream filling and a rich ganache frosting.

This dessert is a MUST try. If you’re a chocolate lover, like me, you will go crazy for every bite of this incredible sweet treat! If you want to try more unique chocolate desserts, we have so many good ones. Try this nostalgic ho ho cake, this fun whoopie pie cake, or this almost sinful tuxedo cake.

Serving a slice of Guinness chocolate cake.

Guinness Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Guinness Chocolate Cake is decadent and sweet with the perfect boozy kick. If you’re looking for a dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this is it! The recipe features Guinness beer in the cake and the ganache frosting, and Irish cream in the buttercream filling. This is one of those recipes that’s absolutely heavenly, and one that you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve taken the last bite.

The Guinness gives the cake a fluffy texture and adds a slight malt flavor that pairs well with the chocolate without being overpowering. The buttercream spiked Bailey’s Irish cream tastes incredible and the creamy spiked ganache is the perfect finishing touch. If you’re making a full St. Patrick’s Day spread, be sure to check out our collection of all of the best St. Paddy’s Day recipes!

Ingredients Needed

The ingredient list for this Guinness cake recipe might look a bit long, but the ingredients are simple and mostly pantry staples. Plus, one bite of this flavorful, fluffy cake and you’ll see that it is so worth it! Exact measurements can be found at the end of the post in the recipe card!

Cake

  • Guinness Stout: Guinness extra stout or draught may be used. You can also use any favorite stout beer!
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar will perfectly sweeten the cake without overwhelming the flavor.
  • Cocoa Powder: Use regular unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutch process, to add depth and richness.
  • Vegetable Oil: For an extra moist crumb.
  • Eggs: Two large eggs will help bind all of the ingredients together. It’s best if they are room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Sour Cream: Use full-fat sour cream for the most wonderful moist texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds warm subtle sweetness.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour will give the cake structure while keeping it nice and soft.
  • Baking Soda: Helps the layers rise properly while baking.
  • Salt: To balance the sweetness and bring out all of the delicious flavor.

Ganache

  • Chocolate: Use a high-quality semi-sweet chocolate like Ghirardelli or Guittard.
  • Heavy Cream: Makes it super creamy and irresistibly rich.
  • Guinness: For extra Irish flavor in the frosting.

Bailey’s Buttercream Filling

  • Salted Butter: Use softened butter as the foundation for the buttercream filling.
  • Powdered Sugar: Makes the buttercream sweet and smooth.
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream: Complements the Guinness cake with rich chocolate and vanilla flavors. 

How to Make a Guinness Chocolate Cake

Grab all of the ingredients and get ready to make one of the best cakes ever! This is such a special dessert and will be the hit of any party. Here’s how it all comes together:

Cake

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with pan spray and a parchment round, if desired.
  2. Heat Guinness: In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness, sugar, and cocoa powder together over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Once smooth whisk in the oil until fully combined.
  4. Combine: Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Gently whisk in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Bake: Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed on or a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool: Let the cakes cool completely before wrapping them with plastic wrap and chilling them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before assembling the cake. Cold cake is significantly easier to frost than warm or room-temperature cake.

Ganache

  1. Simmer the Guinness: While the cake bakes, prepare the ganache by simmering the Guinness over low heat until reduced by half to ¼ cup. Add the cream to the pan and simmer until steaming.
  2. Combine with Chocolate: Add the chocolate to a large bowl and pour the steaming liquid over it. Let the chocolate sit for 2 minutes before whisking until smooth and shiny. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the cakes are cooled and ready to be frosted.

Bailey’s Buttercream Filling

  1. Mix: Use a hand mixer to beat the butter, powdered sugar, and Bailey’s together in a medium bowl until combined. Start with 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s and add a little more at a time until the buttercream is soft and fluffy, but not runny.

Assembly

  1. Add Buttercream: Once the cakes are chilled and ready to be frosted, place one layer bottom side down on a cake plate or serving plate. Top with the buttercream and spread it evenly over the cake, leaving ¼-½ inch space around the perimeter of the cake so the buttercream doesn’t interfere with the ganache. Place the second layer of cake topside down on the buttercream.
  2. Whip Ganache: Whip the chilled ganache with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Use it immediately to frost the cake, as it will set up and harden the longer it sits. If it becomes stiff as you are frosting, use the hand mixer to beat it again until it is soft.
  3. Spread Ganache: Add a couple of large dollops of ganache to the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it around, letting it go over the edges. Use the spatula to push the overhanging ganache down onto the sides, adding more from the bowl as needed. Try not to lift the spatula straight up off the cake, as that can cause the ganache to pull off from the cake bringing crumbs with it. Instead, move the spatula in a swiping motion to stop contact with the ganache.
  4. Smooth Ganache: Once the cake has been covered in an even layer of ganache, you may use the offset spatula or a bench scraper with a straight edge to smooth it. I like to run my metal tools under very hot water and dry them thoroughly before using the hot metal to smooth the ganache.

Use a 9×13 Pan

You may also bake this cake in a 9×13-inch pan. Spray the pan well with pan spray with flour in it or use regular pan spray and dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Tips and Variations

Use these helpful tips and options to make an amazing chocolate Guinness cake!

  • Beer Options: If you are not going to use Guinness beer, it may be substituted for any other stout beer. If you would like to leave out the beer completely, I recommend using this recipe for chocolate cake instead.
  • Use Butter: You may substitute the oil for butter if you would like to. Add the butter to the saucepan with the beer, sugar, and cocoa powder. Cook it until the sugar is fully dissolved and the butter is completely melted. If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to ½ teaspoon.
  • What if the Cakes Sink? Don’t be alarmed if your cakes sink a little! The best way to avoid this is to let the cakes bake undisturbed as long as possible since opening the oven door causes a drop in temperature and that can make the cakes fall. These cakes bake longer than a standard cake, so try to wait until 40 minutes. If the cakes do sink a little, let them cool completely before using a serrated knife to carefully level off the cake. If it is just a slight dip in the center, invert the warm cake upside down on the cooling rack right out of the oven. Letting it cool upside down will often help level out the dip.
  • Frosting Option: You may omit the Bailey’s buttercream filling and just use ganache instead.
  • Irish Cream Option: If you don’t have Bailey’s you may use an equal amount of Irish Cream flavored syrup or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract instead.

Serving a slice of cake.

Storing Leftovers

  • Room Temperature: Store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • In the Refrigerator: To keep fresh for up to 5 days, place in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: The unfrosted cake rounds may be baked and frozen for up to 3 months. Let the cakes cool to room temperature before wrapping each layer tightly in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap. They may be used directly from the freezer, or thawed in the refrigerator. I recommend frosting them while either frozen or chilled.

A slice of chocolate Guinness cake on a scalloped plate.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

If you love chocolate and cake, you’re in the right place! We have so many tried and true chocolate cake favorites that you’re definitely going to want to try! No matter the occasion, these are always a hit!

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Bailey’s Buttercream Filling

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with pan spray and a parchment round, if desired.

  • In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness, sugar, and cocoa powder together over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Once smooth whisk in the oil until fully combined.

  • Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Gently whisk in the flour, baking soda, and salt.

  • Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed on or a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Let the cakes cool completely before wrapping them with plastic wrap and chilling them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before assembling the cake. Cold cake is significantly easier to frost than warm or room-temperature cake.

Ganache

  • While the cake bakes, prepare the ganache by simmering the Guinness over low heat until reduced by half to ¼ cup. Add the cream to the pan and simmer until steaming.

  • Add the chocolate to a large bowl and pour the steaming liquid over it. Let the chocolate sit for 2 minutes before whisking until smooth and shiny. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the cakes are cooled and ready to be frosted.

Bailey’s Buttercream Filling

  • Use a hand mixer to beat the butter, powdered sugar, and Bailey’s together in a medium bowl until combined. Start with 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s and add a little more at a time until the buttercream is soft and fluffy, but not runny.

Assembly

  • Once the cakes are chilled and ready to be frosted, place one layer bottom side down on a cake plate or serving plate. Top with the buttercream and spread it evenly over the cake, leaving ¼-½ inch space around the perimeter of the cake so the buttercream doesn’t interfere with the ganache. Place the second layer of cake topside down on the buttercream.

  • Whip the chilled ganache with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Use it immediately to frost the cake, as it will set up and harden the longer it sits. If it becomes stiff as you are frosting, use the hand mixer to beat it again until it is soft.

  • Add a couple of large dollops of ganache to the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it around, letting it go over the edges. Use the spatula to push the overhanging ganache down onto the sides, adding more from the bowl as needed. Try not to lift the spatula straight up off the cake, as that can cause the ganache to pull off from the cake bringing crumbs with it. Instead, move the spatula in a swiping motion to stop contact with the ganache.

  • Once the cake has been covered in an even layer of ganache, you may use the offset spatula or a bench scraper with a straight edge to smooth it. I like to run my metal tools under very hot water and dry them thoroughly before using the hot metal to smooth the ganache.

Calories: 899kcalCarbohydrates: 98gProtein: 9gFat: 53gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 533mgPotassium: 429mgFiber: 7gSugar: 67gVitamin A: 666IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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