Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe (2024)

By Nigella Lawson

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
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For me, a chocolate cake is the basic unit of celebration. The chocolate Guinness cake here is simple but deeply pleasurable, and has earned its place as a stand-alone treat.

Featured in: AT MY TABLE; A Feast for a Holiday, Or Everyday Exulting

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Yield:One 9-inch cake or 12 servings

    For the Cake

    • Butter, for the pan
    • 1cup Guinness stout
    • 10tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (see Tip)
    • ¾cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 2cups superfine sugar
    • ¾cup sour cream
    • 2large eggs
    • 1tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2cups all-purpose flour
    • teaspoons baking soda

    For the Topping

    • cups confectioners' sugar
    • 8ounces cream cheese at room temperature
    • ½cup heavy cream

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

512 calories; 26 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 46 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 345 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

  2. Step


    In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

  3. For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

  4. Step


    Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.


  • The recipe for this cake in Nigella Lawson's cookbook "Feast: Food to Celebrate Life" (Hyperion, 2004) calls for 18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter.



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Cooking Notes


By volume, a 9" springform pan is 10 cups. You can use 2 "standard" 8" or 9" pans instead. Or make 18-24 cup cakes.

I used a 9" square pan and made 6 cupcakes as well (the 9" square has a volume of about 8 cups). I baked the cupcakes for about 25 minutes and the cake for 45.


Love this cake. I do think a little Bailey's in the frosting does wonders.


We make this cake one day in advance. It tastes better and it's a little more moist. We release the spring form after about an hour in the cooling process so the sides don't stick the next day. We prepare the frosting the day we plan to serve.
In a side by side taste test with my family of 19 tasters... this was a clear winner over the epicurious three layer Guinness cake.


It's better with 1) a half-teaspoon of kosher salt added to the dry ingredients, and 2) a better stout than Guinness - preferably a chocolate stout.


Made this cake for the folks. They loved it! Didn’t notice the Guinness in the cake, but I noticed there was leftover beer in the bottle, so it was a win for the cook.


Please list ingredients by weight, not by volume.


For those of you asking for weight. You can find it on Nigella's website


Made cake as stated. I used about 3 oz. of goat cheese in the topping in place of cream cheese. To accompany the cake I use a jar of Morrelo cherries simmered in a bit of sugar and ruby port. Served it on a plate and put the cake on top. It was a warm syrupy mixture that set off the deep chocolate cake. It was awesome and pretty.


This was superb and so easy to make! Not too sweet (I used ordinary sugar, not superfine, and didn't adjust quantity). Came out perfectly. Icing was easy too, and frosted beautifully. My husband loved the deep flavor of chocolate with a hint of bitterness. Looked gorgeous as well! Did I mention how easy it was to make? :)


I make this with the above-noted changes (salt, a better stout) in a Bundt pan, rather than a springform, and don't frost it at all. Dusting with a mix of confectioner's sugar and cocoa is all it needs, not a thick gloppy frosting.


I made it in Denver (5280', folks, if you had forgotten!) and it didn't fall! Changes:
9oz stout
6.25 oz sugar: 2cups minus 2T
10.25 oz flour: added 2T to the 2cups
2 tsp baking soda (not 2.5)
Baked at 375 (actually in my convection oven, 350 which is 375 in normal ovens) for 35 mins. I should have checked at 30 mins.
Also, I food-processed the sugar and cream cheese, then added the whipping cream just until I liked the texture.
Quite yummy


I made this recipe into cupcakes, adjusting the cooking time downwards and just using a cake tester to figure out when they were done. I also used the food processor to make superfine sugar out of white granulated sugar with no problems. The cupcakes were a hit!


I have made this over and over since it was first published and think it is the best in the world! Last one I used a cherry ale instead of Guinness. Also tossed in a coupla handfuls of frozen Bing cherries and added more chopped cherries to the frosting and a bit more powdered sugar to thicken. The cake was grand and gone in one day. I am going to keep experimenting with the recipe as my go-to base for chocolate cake.


My go-to chocolate cake, always wins raves. It's what I think a chocolate cake should be: intensely chocolate-y, not overly sweet, and fairly dense. Occasionally I save other chocolate cake recipes but then I think, "Why bother?"

Lynda H.

And a few more notes on making and baking the cake:
I let the butter-Guinness-sugars-cocoa mixture cool to room temp before adding to batter.
After filling the pan, I rapped it on the counter a few times to shake out any air pockets.
I used an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness: 200 degrees F in center (don't start testing too early and deflate the cake).

Susan from Luxembourg

Lucious but too much sugar--way too sweet. The recipe says the amount of butter was decreased. I will also use 1.5 cups of sugar rather than 2 (and possibly less on subsequent tries). And use half "raw" sugar which should add to the caramely taste of the stout. Otherwise terrific.

sally in NH

The Guinness adds a special zing. Definitely does not fit in an 8” spring form but filled with enough room to grow stayed moist and rich tasting.


Nigella Lawson’s recipe calls for 2 sticks butter plus 2 Tbsp. I used this recipe today calling for 1 stick plus 2. Frosting it tomorrow. We shall see.


Made this cake and it was loved by all. I used an 8” springform pan (do not have a 9”)and made 6 cupcakes. I glazed all with a mixture of Bailey’s Irish Cream and powderedsugar. Yum!


This was unremarkable for me. I used extra brute cocoa powder, but the flavor was still a bit bland. I found it too sweet (I used super fine sugar per recipe). I did add a dash of salt otherwise followed the recipe - uniced. The texture was perfect. Perhaps I will try with less sugar and see if that lets the flavor shine through better. Superfine sugar is definitely sweeter by volume and I wonder if that’s the difference between my experience and others. The kids were happy to eat it.


This was delicious. Like other commenters, I added a TBSP of espresso powder to the cocoa and sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt in the flour mixture, and replaced half the heavy cream in the topping with Bailey's. I baked the cake the day before serving for about 49 min and was later worried I'd underdone it after it cooled, but honestly, it turned out fantastic! Don't mind a mildly molten-looking core, apparently haha. Would definitely make again.


Has anyone tried the version of this recipe from Nigella’s cookbook which calls for 18 tablespoons of butter (instead of the 10 tablespoons in the recipe above)? I have been making this cake as stated above for years with great success using 10 tablespoons of butter, but am curious as to how it turns out with the extra stick of butter.


Excellent moist cake. I used baileys in the frosting. Also would be great with powdered sugar and whipped cream instead of frosting.


I made it exactly as written and it was....not good. The cake was dense and bland, and this was at the 45 min baking mark. Icing in a food processor?? I'd never tried this either and it was so thin and flimsy it was also disappointing - mind you this was with 33% whipping cream, not 36%. Made it again according to Nigella's original recipe and it was excellent. skip this recipe and find Nigella's original one.


Why the difference in the butter?


I have the same question. The “tip” for tel is what the difference is to the finished cake with or without that extra stick of butter. I’m scouring the comments here trying to figure out which way I should go.


I don’t get the high ratings. This was a bland cake with little flavor.


I followed the recipe to the letter and it turned out a bit dense and stodgy. I also found it to be less flavorful than other chocolate cakes I've made and tasted.


It’s an “eat with your eyes” cake with way too much baking soda. It tastes nice, but looks devilishly good in that Instaworthy home-baked way. But the taste is not in the league of the Whisky Chocolate Cake or the Denver.


I made this but with a Bailey's Irish Cream drizzle instead (see Pinterest). Cake was nice and moist a hit at St.Paddy's Day party.


Used a porter from a local brewery and gluten free flour. Baked the day before, frosted day of. Yes, it sunk in the middle while cooling, but who cares . The cake was phenomenal. Multiple raves from everyone. Will definitely make again, but reduce cream in frosting by half. It was a bit loose.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe (2024)
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