Member recipe

Improved Chocolate Guinness Cake

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Cooking time

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Cooling the cake and icing

Skill level

More effort


Serves 12

A smooth, moist, deep-flavoured cake that even non-Guinness lovers will adore due to the bitter Guinness offset by the sugar and cocoa. I've based this on the Nigella Lawson cake, however (I feel) improved on the proportions of ingredients and baking time after baking this at least a dozen times to date.

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  • 250ml Guinness stout
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 142ml pot of sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda


  • 200g of cream cheese
  • 50ml of double cream
  • 300g icing sugar (or as much as required for desired consistency)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Centigrate (170 for fan-assisted ovens), or gas mark 4. Lightly butter a 23cm push-base cake tin.

  2. Measure out the Guinness, making sure to let any foam dissipate, and pour it into a wide, deep saucepan. Cut the butter into small cubes, and add it to the pan. Heat until the butter is melted into the pan - do not let it boil.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa and sugar and whisk into the butter/beer mixture, being careful not to let the sugar catch and burn.

  4. Beat the eggs and sour cream together, then add to the pan.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then slowly whisk into the pan, introducing a little at a time so as to not form lumps. This is really easy to accidentally do due to the density of the cake.

  6. Pour the batter into your pan, and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Keep an eye on your oven - I do not recommend baking this longer as this cake can burn on the outside but not cook on the inside. When a toothpick comes out of the centre clean, your cake is ready.

  7. While the cake is baking, beat the double cream into the cream cheese, and begin to add your icing sugar bit by bit. Depending on what consistency you wish to achieve, you may need more icing sugar to allow the icing to 'sit' on the cake like the head of a Guinness pint.

  8. Once completely cooled (this will take a while due to the cake's density), pop your cake out of the tin and ice with a spatula (I prefer a silicone one for better control).

Comments, questions and tips

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24th Sep, 2015
I found the texture of the cake good - nice and moist, although the cake crumbled despite greasing the tin. The icing was also very runny so failed at gluing my crumbly cake. I think that the icing sugar should be sieved to avoid lumps and also not beaten too much as this thins the consistency. Better luck next time - I will try more icing sugar and less beating!
Hannah Stewart
3rd Sep, 2015
I have just made this cake - it is in the oven. However, whilst tidying up, I have realised that I didn't add any vanilla extract. Looking back at the recipe, this is because it isn't mentioned in the method. Could you please update the method to tell me when it should be added for next time? Do you think the cake will taste okay without it? Thanks, Hannah
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