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More Nigella recipes

Chocolate Guinness Cake

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices.

There is enough sugar - a certain understatement here - to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices.

There is enough sugar - a certain understatement here - to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate sandwich cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate icing, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Makes: about 12 slices

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 250 millilitres guinness
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams cocoa powder
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 150 millilitres sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 275 grams plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the Topping

  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 125 millilitres double cream (or whipping cream)

For the Cake

  • 1 cup guinness
  • 17 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking soda

For the Topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/160°C Fan/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and cornflour and then beat to combine.
  5. If using double cream, add it and beat until you have a spreadable consistency. If using whipping cream, whisk first to soft peaks, add a couple of spoonfuls into the cream cheese mixture and once this is combined, fold in the rest.
  6. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/160°C Fan/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch and then beat to combine.
  5. If using heavy cream, add it and beat until you have a spreadable consistency. If using whipping cream, whisk first to soft peaks, add a couple of spoonfuls into the cream cheese mixture and once this is combined, fold in the rest.
  6. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

Tell us what you think

What 138 Others have said

  • I made these into muffins with 4 tablespoons of cake mix going into a muffin case and baking for 30mins.

    Posted by Sazcakes77 on 1st May 2021
  • So I mage this with buckwheat flour OGM!!! Its fabulous!!!! I mean seriously wonderful. Just a straight exchange buckwheat flour for plain flour.

    Posted by MrsMess on 3rd April 2021
  • This is such a great recipe! We made it into cupcakes and they were the perfect way to end our St. Patrick's Day! My two little ones (and husband) only complained when I stopped them after 2 each!

    Posted by swackman216 on 18th March 2021
  • I added a tablespoon of instant expresso to the cake mix, and a couple of teaspoons to the frosting, because I liked your idea of Guinness' creamy head, but I thought the head should have a bit of a tan!

    Posted by agarryking on 17th March 2021
  • Made for Mother’s Day tomorrow with my daughter: absolutely gorgeous! We know this because Mummy came back early and insisted on trying it!

    Posted by Satriani1 on 13th March 2021
  • Used a 20cm Bundt cake for a Guinness Chocolate Cake and it worked a treat - put the icing in a plastic cup in the middle of the cake. This has two pluses: keeping the icing fresh in warm weather (put cup in the fridge) and enabling those not keen on the icing to give it a miss. The cake is a family favourite and a first choice birthday cake for everyone! Key to bundt success is a Gordon Ramsey tip: brush all surfaces on the inside of the tin with vertical strokes of melted butter. Put in fridge for a while. Repeat the process, then put in cocoa powder and shake it about to cover throughout. Shake out the excess cocoa - messy process but essential. I put the tin back in the fridge until cake was baked.

    I baked for 45 minutes; allowed to cool on a wire rack as per the 'normal' instructions; checked the top edges to ensure there were no sticking points and the cake dropped out beautifully. Grandchildren verdict: "Delicious".

    Posted by Kingsmead on 27th January 2021
  • I have made this cake a number of times and I’ve started using freeze dried raspberries in the icing and even a pink bit of food colouring topped with some fresh raspberries and it becomes 10x better. Deffo worth a try if you love choc/rasp combos!

    Posted by Weaves90 on 24th December 2020
  • This cake is a heart stopper but oh so delicious. I love how my friends think it is healthy as it doesn’t taste sweet like most cakes. Little do they know ha. I’ve been asked to make it for Christmas Day. I live in Australia and found Guinness stocks depleted everywhere. Thank you Covid as delivery is the issue, not a rush on sales. I did find a bottle - Guinness extra stout and boy, they didn’t lie. The cake is quite bitter even with the sugar component but fine once the frosting is on.

    Posted by Vervestyle on 24th December 2020
  • I have been making this cake for a few years now. It never disappoints. It’s the one most asked for by my work colleagues and friends. I have made this cake in the above version, also as a two layer 8” and as cupcakes and the larger muffin type of cupcake. I have layered it into a wedding cakes too. I usually top with a buttercream with Baileys added for extra decadence. Thank you Nigella. You truly are a domestic goddess.

    Posted by BTbaker on 26th June 2020
  • Made this delicious cake for one layer of my sons wedding cake the other layer was red velvet cake everyone said how good they were even the guests that said they didn’t like chocolate cake ! I have made it several times now and it’s always great.

    Posted by HOBBIT1 on 20th June 2020
  • Has anyone made this using an 8" tin and can recommend how to adjust timings and temperature to suit?

    Posted by Dawniesb on 17th April 2020
  • This cake is a classic chocolate cake, lovely moist texture without being too heavy or rich, one that everyone will enjoy. I made the frosting and added 2 tablespoons of Baileys which added an extra layer of flavour however, the frosting is not very thick and I even froze it for about 10 minutes before putting it on the cake. The cake had to be kept in the fridge at all times so next time I’ll use a buttercream frosting instead of the one in this recipe.

    Posted by Veemw on 17th April 2020
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