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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 125 Others have said

  • Made this for the first time today to offset lockdown blues. Fantastic! A real crowd pleaser. Might do less icing next time but 100% delighted. Thanks!

    Posted by System55 on 25th March 2020
  • One of a kind cake for sure! Made it for us after St. Patrick's Day. We are not cake people but my husband and I are fans of Guinness beer so it was a must try. Definitely will make again. Thank you for the recipe!

    Posted by mbsaas on 24th March 2020
  • This Glass half full cake is a one of a kind! With time on my hands at home, I tried the recipe to mark St Patrick’s Day 2020 amid the coronavirus lockdown. It’s delicious! I have to say that as a result of stockpiling madness, the supermarket shelves had no regular cream cheese to offer so I opted for a ricotta frothy top. Result was perfetto! This rich cake is a real treat - particularly for Mums-to-be for whom reaching for the stout is a no no. #QuarantineLife

    Posted by CjParis on 17th March 2020
  • This cake is beautiful, dark, and so satisfying. It may very well be my favorite of Nigella's chocolate cakes. Even my husband, who wants only the most normal simple standard chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, adored this cake.

    Posted by Arvona on 17th March 2020
  • I make a double layered version of this in two 12 inch tins, I find that there is still enough cream cheese topping to do a layer between and on top. So if your making a single layer I would reduce this in half personally.

    I also add raspberries onto the top which just cut nicely into the sweetness. Everybody loves it and it's so easy. I have made gluten free versions which also work but need just a little bit less baking time.

    Posted by Timboie on 16th March 2020
  • I have made this cake so many times! I generally don't like chocolate cakes but I LOVE this one! When I made the first one I accidentally used the full strength cocoa powder. It proved to be perfect mistake as this cake is Devine! Though I don't do the cream cheese topping it was too rich for us so just plain fresh cream. I test with a wooden skrewer before removing from the oven and it's always PERFECT and DELICIOUS!

    Posted by PandaBear on 16th March 2020
  • My absolute favorite cake, I have replaced the Guinness with a local stout a few times and it is just as delicious. Thanks Nigella!

    Posted by Izziebella on 16th October 2019
  • I took this cake to work and it was devoured in minutes. The icing combined with the dark chocolate is amazing! I’ve already had to bake another batch for my family. Thanks Nigella!

    Posted by Jolandi on 6th April 2019
  • Keep the cake (covered) in a cool place for 2-3 days. The flavour then matures and mellows.

    Posted by diarist on 22nd March 2019
  • Delicious and moist! Everyone loved it!☘️ I need to be more patient and allow to cool completely before taking it out of the pan!

    Posted by ctUsaMom on 18th March 2019
  • Baked the Guinness cake for a St Patricks supper (16/03/19) and every one of my guests came back for seconds. Moist and rich!

    Posted by Maevestrachan on 17th March 2019
  • Made the cake this morning. Sank a bit in the middle and the edges were uneven as they stuck to the pan itself. Some tears of frustration because I like things to look nice but the taste coverted all disappointment felt to joy. Very delicious cake and with these minor problems, a reasonable, good excuse to make it again and again until perfect!

    Posted by MaryMint on 17th March 2019
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