Guinness Cake

By Clodagh McKenna | March 13, 2015
This cake can only be described as dark and majestic. The bitterness of the Guinness is balanced by the sugar and the vanilla icing adds a fluffy lightness to balance it perfectly. I make this at my restaurant, Clodagh’s Kitchen, using a locally brewed stout called O’Hara’s, which is similar to Guinness. If you don’t like stout, worry not–you will like this cake! The caramel and coffee flavors make this cake one of the best that I have ever made or eaten…Trust me!


For the cake
  • 2 1/4 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups Guinness
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the frosting
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups cream cheese (not low-fat)


Serves 10

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 12-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Make the cake: Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in the Guinness, then remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and buttermilk, and then slowly mix in the Guinness mixture.

4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a separate large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, slowly mix the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and keep beating until it is all well combined.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Test to make sure the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake—if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Let cool in the pan, then transfer from the pan onto a wire rack.

6. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: Using a handheld electric mixer, blend all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.

7. Place the cooled cake on a plate and generously spread the frosting on top. 

The cake will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container. 

Excerpted from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen, A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavors by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fisher.

  • Guinness Cake recipe by Clodagh McKenna