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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

Yields: 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
  • 2 sticks plus 2 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.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The cake can be stored, without icing, in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. Store the iced cake in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. The un-iced cake can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of food wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for about 4 hours.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
The cake can be stored, without icing, in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. Store the iced cake in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. The un-iced cake can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of food wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Tell us what you think

What 150 Others have said

  • omg this is the best cake ever! It tastes like betty crocker but 1000 times better. So moist and incredible. I seperated the batter into two and put the icing in the middle. Never using another choclate cake recipie ever again!

    Posted by myrtle123 on 14th December 2023
  • Just made this, it's incredibly tasty! Simple, dense, chocolatey with rich flavour. The only thing I changed was the icing: I swapped out the sugar and added a bit of honey since the cream I used was already sweetened :)

    Posted by Annnnnna on 5th November 2023
  • Used this recipe so many times. Love it and so do friends and colleagues. Make it every St Pats day even though I am not Irish but have an Irish surname. Highly recommend this recipe

    Posted by Guinss on 25th May 2023
  • This recipe is delicious will definitely make it again! My only critique is I wish it had a bit more of the Guinness flavour, but otherwise a beautiful moist, rich and indulgent cake!

    Posted by danielledaisy on 24th March 2023
  • I'm not a big baker but I've made this over and over. It's easy and it's really good. I made some for my colleagues, for birthdays and I've taken one to the pub before to have with a pint of Guinness. Everyone loves it!

    Posted by Reviloton on 24th January 2023
  • Fabulous dark moist malty tasting cake a joy in each slice! I've made this cake several times now for many different occasions, easy delicious scrumptious cake it's wonderful!

    Posted by Odelle on 4th November 2022
  • Made this cake and had to use non alcoholic Guinness due to medical reasons and it was amazing without alcohol. A great recipe and would make again and again. Very light and not too sweet. The base is so moist. Thanks Nigella x

    Posted by Heathercowl on 19th September 2022
  • I asked my nephew and niece what they would like for their birthday. Nephew said The Chocolate Guinness Cake and my niece said the chocolate raspberry pavlova! These two are supberb and everybody loves them!

    Posted by Boodie on 8th July 2022
  • Outstanding! This cake will be made again and again. Why haven’t I made it before.

    Posted by Mezmoo74 on 31st March 2022
  • I add a teaspoon of ground Sichuan pepper to this recipe just as I did to the Guinness gingerbread. It combines well with the taste of the stout.

    Posted by 2pennybit on 20th March 2022
  • Love this! Even better if you make into cupcakes instead! Thank you for the recipe! Will make again and again.

    Posted by mbsaas on 17th March 2022
  • The best chocolate cake ever. also works well in muffin cases and made it for a friend for her birthday with raspberries on top of the beautiful cream cheese frosting. I also managed to get some gluten free stout etc.and made it for a friend who had just been diagnosed with coeliac disease. It had always been her favourite cake. She declared it delicious

    Posted by BerylD on 17th March 2022
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