Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake)

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Time for an impressive cake not only for its flavour and texture, but also because it has a very special ingredient: beer. Yes, you heard it right, this Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake), as its name indicates, has beer! But don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like beer or alcohol at all. It has a delicate flavour, it’s extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And the cream cheese frosting it’s topped with – to remind us of the stout beer foam – is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect!

This cake is going to become your new favourite for special occasions because it truly amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and “secret ingredient” ;).

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

A Short Story on this Chocolate Guinness Cake

It’s been literally 10 years since I made this cake for the first time. I was in my first job after finishing my master and my birthday was about to take place. At work, it was tradition to bring breakfast the day of your birthday and since I had always loved baking I thought of baking a cake (the most common thing people would bring are trays of vinoisserie – croissants, ensaïmadas, pastry rolls…).

I while before I had spotted Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake and I had also seen a Chocolate Guinness Cake version in one of my books of the Hummingbird Bakery (I recommend them a lot by the way, especially the first one). But of course, when I read sout beer, I was a bit hesitant about making it, until I tried it in a cafeteria and felt in love!

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

So first I made this cake at home (in case I didn’t like it and I was disappointed at work XD), and since it was a complete success, I made it again and took it to work. Next? I had to write the recipe in Spanish (I only had it in English) because everybody wanted to make it afterwards and my former colleagues still remind me of it

I’ve made it I don’t know how many times since then and today’s version is a cross between Nigella’s recipe and Hummingbird’s with the changes I’ve made over the years. It’s a cake with a few steps but it’s still easy, you will fall in love with it in every way, I promise you!

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

The Million Dollar Questions: Does It Taste of Beer? And What About Alcohol?

No, it does not taste like beer or alcohol, it’s suitable for all ages and tastes (intolerances and special diets aside).

Let’s start with the alcohol: this evaporates on the one hand when we melt the butter with the beer (the first step of the recipe) and then when baking it in the oven, so you don’t have to worry about it.

As for dark beer, it provides extreme moisture, a depth of flavour that enhances the aromas of chocolate and a rich dark colour to this spectacular chocolate cake. Dark beer can be a bit bitter, but the amount of sugar in the recipe makes up for it without resulting in an overly sweet cake (bearing this in mind, by the way, I don’t recommend reducing the amount of sugar that I’m suggesting – the point is not to eat cake everyday and try to have a balance diet as I always say).

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

Key Factors to Make this Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe to Perfection

Thi chocolate stout beer cake recipe isn’t complicated, seriously, but as I was mentioning above, there are a few steps involved. I know I may sound repetitive, but I think it’s for the better if I share a few things to be born in mind before getting down to work. So if you want this chocolate Guinness cake to come out perfect, I recommend that you do not skip the following tips.

Brown and White Sugar Combination

Brown sugar plus chocolate are one of those combos that I couldn’t like more. The caramel-like flavor of brown sugar goes great with chocolate and kind of enhances its flavour. It also makes the final result less sweet and cloying than if we used only white sugar. On the other hand, brown sugar provides more humidity. Using only brown sugar though would make the cake very dense, so white sugar allows it to be more aerated and fluffy.

Avoiding Lumps

The flour and especially the cocoa powder tend to compact while stored. This can create lumps in the mixture if we are not careful, which later translates into a less homogeneous crumb with some “globs” or bubbles. To avoid this, I recommend 2 things for this guinness cake recipe:

  • Sift the flour with the cocoa and the rest of the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients in batches (and in no case the other way around). The batter of this chocolate cake is quite liquidy, so if we add the dry ingredients to the liquid ones, the probability of lumps appearing is enormous (I’m telling you this from experience). Adding the liquids in batches allows you to achieve a more homogeneous batter.
Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) Liquid Ingredients Mixture | Paula's Apron Recipe

Do Not Overmix the Batter

The fact that we are adding the liquid ingredients mixutre in batches could lead to overmixing the batter. This would in turn develop the gluten of the flour, resulting in a chewier and more dense cake. To avoid this, it’s important to mix or beat just enough until you see that the ingredients have been incorporated.

Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) Batter | Paula's Apron Recipe

Do not open the oven too early

Remember that you should not open the oven until at least three quarters of the total baking time indicated in the recipe has elapsed. If you do, the cake could sink in the centre.

Removing the cake from the tin safely

Allow the cake to cool down in the tin before unmolding it. Being such a tender and moist cake, while hot it’s very delicate and unmolding it could cause it to stick to the sides and base of the tin (regardless of how well you have greased it). Let it cool down on a rack so that the heat from the base can escape.

As an extra measure, you can always put parchment paper on the base of the tin.

Whipping the cream properly

Make sure you use cold cream cheese and the very, very cold cream when making the frosting, that will help the cream whip better. On the other hand, when you add the cream you will see that the mixture is liquid, but that is expected. You have to continue beating and little by little the cream will get whipped. The final result will have a texture denser than whipped cream thanks to the cream cheese, but it will be fluffy and aerated.

Make-Ahead and Storing

You can make the cake in advance. Being such a moist cake, it lasts well for days, but let me share some notes with you so if you make it in advance you can enjoy it as freshly baked on the day you serve it.

You can make the cake sponge up to three days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place (if it’s very hot in your kitchen, store it in the fridge ). If you don’t have such a big container, then, as much as it saddens me, it’s best to wrap it in plastic wrap (you can leave the cake inside the tin if you want and put plastic wrap just on top). In fact, making the cake from one day to the next makes the flavours settle, intensifying them, but the texture is softer when it is freshly made (and already cooled).

If you want to make the cake even further in advance, there’s no problem, but in this case, you will have to freeze it well wrapped in plastic wrap. You can freeze it for 3 months and when you are going to use it, thaw it at room temperature wrapped in the film.

You can prepare the frosting a day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to frost the cake, stir it a little first with a spatula and tope the sponge.

If there’s leftover cake, as the frosting has cream, you will have to store it in the fridge and it will keep well for a couple of days (but the cut part will be drier than the inside, keep that in mind). When you are going to eat it, take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before so that it gets at room temperature (the colder it is, the less the flavourful).

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

Some FAQs

I don’t have buttermilk or can’t find it, what can I do?

Buttermilk traditionally was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream. Today, it’s made industrially (but it doesn’t mean it’s bad, don’t worry) and can be found in many supermarkets. If you can’t find buttermilk though or don’t have it on hand, you can make a homemade version in the following way:

  • Replace the 150 ml of buttermilk that the recipe calls for with 150 ml of whole milk. Scoop out a teaspoon and a half and add a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. The milk is going to curdle and this is expected.

Can I use other beers besides Guinness?

Yes, as long as you replace it with another dark beer (Stout or Porter varieties would work great). In fact, this cake could be more generically called Chocolate Stout Beer Cake.

Can I use other tin sizes?

You can use a bundt-type tin, for example, or a slightly smaller or slightly larger round one (I would not use a tin smaller than 20 cm or larger than 25 cm in diameter with the quantities that I indicate in this recipe). The important thing to keep in mind is that the baking time will vary: if you use a tin with a smaller diameter, it will need more time, if it has a larger diameter, less time.

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

More Delicious Cakes

If you make this Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;). | Paula's Apron Recipe

Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake)

This Chocolate Guinness Cake (or Chocolate Stout Beer Cake) has a delicate flavour, it's extra tender and moist, dense without being heavy, pure joy! And don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer or alcohol. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the best topping it could have: airy, not too sweet, just perfect! It's there to remind us of the stout beer foam. This cake is going to become your new favourite for special celebrations because it really amazes everyone with its taste, appearance and "secret ingredient" ;).
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Cooling Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Paula

Equipment

  • 1 23 cm diameter cake tin

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 250 ml Guinness - or another dark beer (Stout or Porter)
  • 250 g butter - unsalted
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 2 L eggs - at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract - or vanilla paste
  • 150 ml buttermilk - at room temperature (see notes)
  • 280 g all-purpose flour - (plain flour)
  • 80 g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Frosting

  • 300 g cream cheese - cold
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 125 ml whipping cream - or heavy cream cold

Instructions

Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC no fan (160ºC fan assisted), and grease the tin.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter with the beer over medium low heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl or jar, mix the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • Once the butter is melted, remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool down a bit if it is too hot, and add the sugars. Mix well until they dissolve and add the egg mixture, stirring again until it looks homogenous.
  • Pour 2/3 of the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until it gets incorporated (if you use an electric mixer, mix at low speed). Add the remaining liquid and beat until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 55 minutes. Take a look at it after 45 minutes, but don’t open the oven before so it the sponge doesn’t deflate. Take it out from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (it may have some crumbs stuck to it as it is a moist cake but it shouldn’t come out with raw batter) and if lightly pressing the cake in the center it bounces back.
  • Let it cool in the tin on a wire rack and remove from the tin.

Frosting

  • In a bowl sift the sugar and beat it with the cream cheese until the sugar dissolves. I recommend using an electric handheld mixer (or stand mixer) for this.
  • Add the whipping cream and beat until you have an airy and fluffy mixture like thick whipped cream.

Decoration

  • Top the centre of the sponge cake with the frosting, and from the centre outwards push it gently to all the sides. It has to resemble the foam of dark beer, so it should be rustic, don’t worry about perfection.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Homemade Buttermilk
  • Replace the 150 ml of buttermilk that the recipe calls for with 150 ml of whole milk. Scoop out a teaspoon and a half and add a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes. The milk is going to curdle and this is expected.
Make-Ahead and Storing
  • You can make the cake sponge up to three days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place (if it’s very hot in your kitchen, store it in the fridge ). If you don’t have such a big container, then, wrap it in plastic wrap. In fact, making the cake from one day to the next makes the flavours settle, intensifying them, but the texture is softer when it is freshly made (and already cooled).
  • If you want to make the cake even further in advance, there’s no problem, but in this case, you will have to freeze it well wrapped in plastic wrap. You can freeze it for 3 months and when you are going to use it, thaw it at room temperature wrapped in the film.
  • You can prepare the frosting a day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to frost the cake, stir it a little first with a spatula and tope the sponge.
  • If there’s leftover cake, as the frosting has cream, you will have to store it in the fridge and it will keep well for a couple of days (but the cut part will be drier than the inside, keep that in mind). When you are going to eat it, take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before so that it gets at room temperature (the colder it is, the less the flavourful).

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @paulasapron on Instagram and hashtag it #paulasapron.

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