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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.

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.

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 112 Others have said

  • I made this cake the first time yesterday, and it turned out amazing. I was skeptical at first how light and moist the cake would be, because of the amount of butter in it, despite the sour cream and baking soda. But doubt no more, the cake was finished in a jiff. I will definitely be making it again. Another keeper-recipe to add in the book(mark).

    Posted by TweeK on 22nd October 2018
  • I have been making this cake for years and it is wonderful. Such a rich chocolate flavor, with just a hint of malt. It keeps beautifully!

    Does anyone have any suggestions for baking this at a higher altitude? I have baked it in many countries, but I’m having trouble in my current location (750 metres altitude) – it explodes in my oven!

    Posted by babscanplay on 14th October 2018
  • Chocolate & love is a perfect combination. Thank you for the recipe!!

    Posted by DANINGO on 14th October 2018
  • I make this in two halves and use half of the filling to sandwich with the rest on top. I also gently push fresh raspberries into the cream cheese hoping the juice does not squeeze out of them and "bleed", They work well with the cake and the filling.

    Posted by Timboie on 14th October 2018
  • This is a fantastic recipe, made the round cake and then some cupcakes, absolutely delicious. I missed the corn flour out of the frosting by accident and it was still fine, in fact I was able to pipe a shamrock on the top and it kept the shape very well. I love how this website give the option for metric or cups. Top recipe which I will use again.

    Posted by JKyn0 on 22nd March 2018
  • So Good! My first time cooking this. I don't know how I overlooked it for so long but this is the BEST chocolate cake and will be my go to from now on. Dead easy to make and so deliciously moist and rich.

    Posted by V1ntageV1xen on 22nd March 2018
  • Made this cake on Sunday. Very delicious and easy. My family really liked the flavor. I just served it with whipped cream. I will make this cake again.

    Posted by bar88 on 20th March 2018
  • Thanks you for this marvellous recipe - it is really delicious, but quite a large cake and rises well while baking. It will take us a little time to eat it, but it is great!

    Posted by Alta_ on 1st January 2018
  • I love making this cake- have made a successful substitute of yoghurt for the sour cream when I forgot to buy it. Also top tip on the icing as it can so easily be too runny .. I whip double cream until stiff, mix the sugar and cream cheese separately and then combine carefully with a fork. Happy munching!

    Posted by Rosieisbaking on 25th September 2017
  • I use Guinness's Dublin Porter and this is quite simply the best cake I make. I can't go anywhere without being asked to make this cake. I've even made it into cupcakes. My only variation is that I only add the icing sugar until it's sweet enough for my tastes. I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

    Posted by Shr00m on 22nd August 2017
  • I have made this cake twice, it has been a hit both times. I recommend not using a spring for cake tin, I like using the Pioneer Woman 9 inch cake pan. It is very sturdy and bakes this cake well. Also, using Irish butter makes it oh so moist. Try using corn starch for the frosting, cream cheese nowadays comes soft already and it requires a bit of body. This cake makes the whole house smell divine.

    Posted by maxineloves on 24th July 2017
  • This is quite honestly the best cake I have ever had my mother and I made it for my brothers birthday and it is so moist and perfectly sweet we made a double layer with the icing in the middle aswell as the top and it turned out amazing. Will definetly be making this again

    Posted by Canadiansprinkles on 9th July 2017
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