This easy chocolate Guinness cake is the perfect St.Patrick’s Day dessert!
The simplest (and BEST) one bowl chocolate Guinness Cake
As Guinness cakes go, this snack cake version is one of the absolute simplest, and I promise you the absolute most delicious. It’s not fancy, just pure perfection from the tender chocolate cake to the outrageous Irish Cream buttercream! This recipe is just another example of how you don’t need to get complicated to make an incredible dessert. I can’t think of a better use for a bottle of Guinness stout!
ingredients for Guinness cake
The cake itself is naturally vegan, made without any dairy or eggs. I think you’ll be amazed at the light fluffy texture and deep rich chocolate flavor.
- all purpose flour
- granulated white sugar
- cocoa powder
- I use Hershey’s regular cocoa powder, mixed with a small amount of Hershey’s Special Dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder to get that deep rich color. Make sure you are using unsweetened cocoa powder!
- Guinness stout beer
- this recipe is formulated to use 1 bottle of Guinness Draught. You can substitute any type of stout or dark beer you like.
- mild vegetable oil
- baking soda and salt
- vanilla extract
ingredients for Baileys Irish Cream frosting
The creamy swath of Irish Cream frosting is meant to resemble the froth on a perfect pint of Guinness! While some Guinness cake recipes call for a chocolate frosting, I think this one
- unsalted butter
- powdered sugar
- heavy cream
- Baileys Irish Cream
This is a super quick and easy cake that you can throw together with one bowl and a whisk.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl
- Add the wet ingredients and whisk until blended.
- Transfer to your cake pan and bake. Easy peasy.
Baileys Irish Cream frosting
The frosting is equally as fabulous as the cake itself ~ it’s a basic buttercream flavored with a few tablespoons of Irish cream liqueur. The result is so delish. I think Baileys just begs to be used in desserts ~ check out my Irish Coffee Cheesecake Bars and my No Churn Bailey’s Ice Cream. Suffice it to say the frosting bowl was licked clean.
Many recipes for Guinness cake call for a cream cheese frosting. I like my butter based recipe better because it lets the Bailey’s flavor shine. Another benefit ~ it doesn’t need to be refrigerated the way cream cheese based frostings do. You can make this in the morning to serve at night and let it sit on the counter. The texture of the cake and frosting is better that way.
what happens when you bake a cake with Guinness beer?
If you thought Guinness cake was just a cute idea for St. Patrick’s Day, think again. Long story short, Guinness makes a better chocolate cake!
- Beer adds a light, airy texture to cake batter ~ the carbonation in the beer creates bubbles in the batter, which helps to leaven the cake and give it a lighter texture.
- Guinness adds a subtle malty flavor to the cake batter ~ but honestly, it’s hardly noticeable.
- Beer contributes moisture to cake batter, making it more tender. This is particularly true when using a heavier beer like stout, which has a higher sugar content that also helps keep baked goods moist.
- The yeast in Guinness interacts with the baking soda in the cake batter, causing the cake to rise more quickly and resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture.
the bottom line
I can’t recommend this cake strongly enough. It has a beautifully light texture that is hard to come by in a from-scratch cake. And it’s one of the easiest chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. It’s a great little dessert to serve any time of year, but of course it’s pretty perfect for St. Paddy’s Day. Using oil instead of butter insures that the cake stays extra moist, and a good amount of cocoa powder results in a rich chocolatey flavor. From now on I’ll keep a bottle or two of Guinness in the pantry at all times just to make this amazing little cake.
Variations & FAQs
different pan sizes
You can bake this up in a 9″ cake pan or springform pan if you prefer a round shape. It can be doubled for a layer cake, or for a 9×13 sheet cake. You can bake this cake in a bundt pan, and you can even make Guinness cupcakes!
does Guinness cake taste like beer?
No it doesn’t! The beer adds a background rich malty note, but the flavor is 99% chocolate.
which Guinness beer should you choose for baking cake?
Choose Guinness Draught, which is the classic Irish dry stout. It has a smoother flavor and a lower alcohol content than Extra Stout, and is perfect for making chocolate cake.
does the alcohol cook out of Guinness cake?
Not all of the alcohol will cook off as your Guinness cake bakes, but the alcohol content of Guinness itself is relatively low (around 4.2%), so even if some alcohol remains in the cake, the amount per serving is likely to be minimal. The Baileys frosting, however, is not cooked and will retain the alcohol content. This cake is not for children in any case.
what other types of beer can you use for Guinness cake?
You can use another brand of stout beer, a porter, or any dark ale.
can you make a non-alcoholic Guinness cake?
Yes, it is possible to make Guinness cake without alcohol. There is a non-alcoholic version of Guinness called Guinness 0.0. This product is made using the same ingredients as regular Guinness, but the alcohol is removed through a special filtration process. The result is a dark, malty, and slightly bitter beverage that is similar in taste to regular Guinness, but without the alcohol content. Another option is to substitute the Guinness with an equal amount of a dark soda, such as cola or root beer.
For a non-alcoholic frosting, just leave out the liqueur and add more cream.
now for the rest of your Irish meal!
- Irish Oatmeal Soda Bread
- Irish Brown Bread
- Traditional Irish Leek and Potato Soup
- Dublin Coddle ~ a quick cooking Irish stew!
- Authentic Irish Colcannon Recipe (Mashed Potatoes with Kale)
- Instant Pot Irish Stew
- Authentic Irish Apple Cake
- How to Make Homemade Irish Cream
- No Churn Bailey’s Ice Cream
- 9×9 baking pan
- parchment paper (optional)
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used a combination of natural and Dutched cocoa powder)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 11.2 ounce bottle Guinness Draught beer
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Irish Cream frosting
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur
- 3 Tbsp cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper. The paper is optional but helps to lift the cake out after baking for easier slicing.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl to combine well.
- Add the extract, oil, and beer to the bowl and whisk until combined. Just whisk until everything is combined and there are no dry streaks left, but don't over beat your batter.
- Turn the batter into your prepared pan. I tap the pan on the surface of the counter once.
- Bake for about 28-30 minutes, or until the top is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without obvious wet batter on it. There may be moist crumbs. You don't want to over bake this cake. Note: don't open the oven door prematurely or the cake can sink in the middle.
Irish Cream Frosting
- Beat the soft butter, powdered sugar, Irish Cream, and cream together until smooth. Add more cream or Irish Cream if your frosting seems too thick. If it seems too thin, add a bit more sugar.
- When the cake is completely cooled, frost it.
Questions and Reviews
I made this cake over the weekend and it was DELICIOUS! Making it again for St. Patrick’s Day!
I usually shy away from homemade cakes but this was easy and came out perfectly. It did sink a tiny bit in the very center but the frosting covered that!
Wow! Guinness, Bailey’s and chocolate in one dessert, count me in! I’ll be making this deliciousness year round.
Did a test run of this cake and it’s a winner ~ going on our St. Paddy’s Day menu for sure.
I made this exactly as directed but for adding a teaspoon of espresso powder and a TINY dusting of cinnamon, because I tasted the batter, and it had virtually no flavor. Donneness was difficult to gauge, given that you’re not allowed to open the oven. I tested at 28 minutes. I used a 9×9 pan, as directed. The cake sank in the middle, per the author’s warning, and the cake tastes like….pretty much nothing. Glad I made a single recipe and didn’t make the buttercream pending cake results. It’s easy, but flavorless. I’ll keep looking.
I’m sorry this wasn’t a hit for you D., we loved it! I do think the frosting adds a lot to the cake, but for us it had beautiful chocolatey flavor on its own. When you use 3/4 cup of good quality cocoa powder (make sure yours was unsweetened cocoa powder and not cocoa mix) and a bottle of rich Guinness ~ it’s hard to imagine not getting a great flavor.
Sue, I made this the day you posted it and we loved it ~ the flavor is amazing, not sure what happened with D. I didn’t have Irish Cream in the house so I added a bit of Irish whiskey to the frosting…outstanding! The cake reminds me of those depression cakes made without eggs, i love the light texture.
Is there anything I can substitute for the vegetable oil? Do you think melted butter would work??
Yes, you can generally get away with either, so go for it
And there are really no eggs in this recipe?
My cake is delicious!I`m not much of a baker but I have to say this recipe made me look like one! The Bailey`s Irish Cream frosting is also delicious,a little sweet for us but had nice balance with the cake since it is not too sweet.Couldn’t wait for St Patty`s to make this Thanks Sue.
Thanks for the quick ‘test’ lowandslow!
I love how easy you’ve made this look! I haven’t made it yet, but plan to soon. I’d love to do it in a loaf pan — or even two. Do you happen to know how the recipe converts for that? Thanks in advance.
I haven’t baked it that way so I’m not sure of the baking time, but it should work in a loaf pan, just make sure you use a standard full sized loaf pan. Check it at 30 minutes.
This looks amazing, Sue! Any ideas for a gluten-free substitute for Guinness? That’s the only thing that is preventing me from making this today!! 🙂
There are definitely gluten free stout beers, here’s an article that mentions the best ones.