slice of cake on a plate

Whether you’re looking for a cake recipe for St. Patrick’s Day, an upcoming celebration or just because (which is always reason enough for cake), this Chocolate Guinness Cake is about to become your new go-to dessert. It’s immensely rich, dense, decadent, moist and full of chocolaty goodness with a hint of flavor from the Guinness, and it’s the perfect match to the creamy cream cheese frosting on top. Serve this cake whenever, wherever, on repeat — you won’t be sorry.

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe

OHEMGEE, you guys. I can’t believe I am just now sharing this cake recipe with you. First off: This is not my cake recipe. It is Nigella Lawson’s cake recipe that has garnered fans from all over the world since she first shared it, and I am one of them. In fact, I first made this cake in another lifetime — back in 2010 or so (I tried to find photographic evidence but either a) we ate it all before I had a chance to snap a pic, or b) it was pre-Instagram days) — and I’ve loved it ever since. And today is the day I’m sharing it here, with you, with a few tweaks + tips that make it extra-fun and unfussy (as is our motto here).

Here is what you can expect from this cake:

  • A dense, rich, decadent chocolate cake with a hint of fruity, yeasty stout flavor
  • The most indulgent cream cheese frosting that you’ll want to eat with a spoon
  • A simple cake that’s ideal for everyday eating and celebrations alike
  • A go-to chocolate cake recipe you’ll return to again and again
chocolate cake on a plate

Ingredients You’ll Need

Now that I’ve hopefully thoroughly whetted your whistle, here is what you’ll need to make all your chocolate Guinness cake dreams come true:

  • Guinness extra stout beer (you’ll need just 1 cup for the cake recipe, and the rest in the bottle is the baker’s share — enjoy ;))
  • Butter, to grease the pan and for the cake
  • Cocoa powder (please use unsweetened cocoa powder, NOT Dutch process cocoa powder. It will affect the outcome, so double-check!)
  • Granulated sugar (see Recipe Notes for a tip on this!)
  • Sour cream, for added tang and moisture in the cake
  • Large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda, to help with loft and lightness
  • Powdered sugar, for the frosting
  • Cream cheese, for the frosting
  • Heavy cream, to make the frosting extra-delish
chocolate guinness cake on a plate

How to Make Chocolate Guinness Cake

This cake is super simple to make — it’s a single thick layer, with a simple frosting on top, and if you follow the instructions as written and use the proper ingredients, you’ll be amazed at how pro-level this cake will taste and look without much effort. See here for a basic rundown of this recipe, but as always, please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the FULL recipe + instructions:

  • Step One: Make the cake. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the Guinness. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract, then add the mixture to the Guinness mixture along with flour and baking soda. Whisk everything together until smooth.
  • Step Two: Bake the cake. Pour the cake batter into a greased and lined 9-inch springform pan, then place on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any potential drips). Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cake rises, is firm on the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
  • Step Three: Make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add heavy cream and process to a smooth, spreadable frosting.
  • Step Four: Assemble the cake and enjoy! Remove the cake from the springform pan; transfer to a serving plate or cake stand. Frost the top of the cake only with the frosting, then decorate with chocolate shavings, if desired. Serve immediately.

Can I Use a Different Baking Pan?

I highly recommend a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe — the sides of a springform pan are generally taller than that of a cake pan, and this cake rises considerably while it bakes. It also makes it so much easier to remove the cake from the pan once baked.

That said, if you have a 9-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 3 inches tall, you could use that instead! Otherwise, I’d recommend dividing the cake batter between two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans (greased and lined). If you go this route, the bake time will be lower than the written recipe, so check for doneness around the 20-25-minute mark.

slices of chocolate cake on a plate

Can I Use A Different Beer?

Yes, you can! I highly recommend a dark stout for this cake recipe, as its flavors lend themselves really well to chocolate cake, but you can swap the beer for another brand besides Guinness, or a different dark beer (such as a porter). I would not recommend a light beer, such as an IPA, for this recipe — it will make the cake taste bitter.

Can I Freeze This Cake?

Yes! This cake freezes exceptionally well. To do so, allow the cake to cool completely. Remove it from the springform pan, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil (unfrosted). Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature. Frost as directed.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

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slice of cake on a plate

Chocolate Guinness Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British


Nigella’s chocolate guinness cake is one of my favorite cakes in the whole wide world. Dense, rich, fudgy, moist and flavorful, it’s everything you want in chocolate cake and more. The silky cream cheese frosting on top is a delicious bonus.


Units Scale

For the cake:

  • 1 cup Guinness extra stout
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Chocolate shavings, for topping (optional)**


  1. First, make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat Guinness and butter just until butter is melted. Remove from heat; whisk in cocoa powder and granulated sugar until well-combined. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add to Guinness mixture along with flour and baking soda; whisk again until smooth. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any potential drips); place on center rack of oven.
  4. Bake cake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the edges of the cake are firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cake to a cooling rack; cool completely. (The center of the cake may dip slightly as it cools; this is normal and the frosting will cover it up!)
  5. Meanwhile, make the topping: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse powdered sugar a few times to remove any lumps. Add cream cheese and process until mixture is smooth. Add heavy cream; process until well-combined into a smooth, spreadable frosting.
  6. Remove fully cooled cake from springform pan; transfer to a serving plate or cake stand. Top cake evenly with frosting so it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. Serve immediately.
  7. Store any leftover cake covered tightly with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • *The original recipe calls for 2 cups superfine sugar, which is effectively granulated sugar with a finer crumb. If you want to make it as close to the OG as possible, you can pulse granulated sugar in a food processor for a few seconds to make it more fine, then add it to the recipe. Be sure to not to over-process, or you’ll end up with powdered sugar.
  • **To make chocolate shavings, run a vegetable peeler along the narrow end of a chocolate bar.
  • Recipe adapted ever-so-slightly from Nigella Lawson.