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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream

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Do you like dark, deep, rich chocolate? A moist, heavy and delicious cake, with notes of coffee and cocoa topped with a dreamy buttercream. Say hello to Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream.

Obviously, you can make this for St. Patrick’s day, but really, do you need an excuse to make a dark, rich chocolate cake? Not in my house! So be bold and brave and make this any ol’ time of year!

Love chocolate cake? Try these other reader favorites: Chocolate Lava Cakes, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, and Texas Sheet Cake!

Image of a single layer round Guinness Chocolate Cake topped with light and fluffy Irish Cream Buttercream frosting, sitting on a wooden plate.

Easy Chocolate Guinness Cake

I wanted to bring you a simple and easy Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream. Hopefully one you won’t be shy to try this easy recipe.

I’ve had this recipe for ages, the one note I should have made on it years ago, was the recipe recommends using a 9″ springform pan, 10″ would be better as the recipe tends to rise quickly, then sink, that extra inch of real estate would allow for it to rise without oozing over the sides of the pan.

How to Prevent Guinness Chocolate Cake from Sinking

Sometimes cakes sink! It’s a fact of life, especially for those of us living at high altitude! Here are a few tips to help prevent sinking cake syndrome.

  • Make sure your oven is at the correct temperature, ovens vary a lot! Mine runs a bit cool, invest in a decent oven thermometer.
  • Be sure your baking powder is fresh. It should last about 9-12 months covered and stored in a cool cupboard, but can you test freshness? Yes, and it’s simple. Stir half a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup of hot water. It should immediately start to fizz and release carbon dioxide gas if it’s still fresh enough to use.
  • For baking soda, if it’s past the best by date, it is still good and won’t hurt you, though it will lose some potency over time. I write the open date on the lids for my baking powder and baking soda and typically toss it if I haven’t used it (or use to clean a drain) within 6 months.
  • Be sure to scoop and level your dry ingredients properly.
  • Avoid over-mixing the batter, especially the eggs.
  • Bake the batter soon after mixing.
  • Bake in the center of your oven and don’t open the oven door unnecessarily.
  • Lastly, don’t underbake the cake. A cake tester or toothpick should come out clean!
Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream on a hammered copper pedestal stand with a napkin below

How to Fix a Sunken Cake

In fact, this cake DID sink, but instead of re-baking the perfect cake, I wanted to show how easy it is to fix a “sunken” cake.

Honestly, it still tastes great! And to prove you do not have to do everything perfectly!

This is an extremely moist and rich cake recipe, so if your cake does sink slightly in the center don’t worry. It’s definitely not ruined! Simply use a serrated knife to level off the cake for a flat layer, save those sliced off pieces.

Since I had to slice off the “cratered” edges of the cake to level it for frosting, nobody was sad, they enjoyed noshing on the trimmed edges of the freshly baked and cooled cake while I prepared the buttercream.

Or freeze and crumble over ice cream!

Process shots for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream. Ingredients for cake, springform pan lined, floured and oiled. Guinness, butter and eggs. Lastly, butter melting with guinness beer.


Baking with beer starts with flavor and moves into science. Because of its carbonation, it assists with leavening baked goods which is why Beer Bread is so simple and so darned tasty!

When used as the liquid in a recipe, it gives extra lift and tender texture to breads and cakes.

Image of Guinness bottle, guinness poured into measuring cup with head on top, sliced butter and egg shells on a marble board for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream

If you’re new to baking with beer; porters and stouts are the best place to begin. Because they’re brewed with dark roasted malt, they lend flavor notes of cocoa and coffee, ideal for chocolate desserts!

Porters lean more toward chocolate and malted flavors with less bitterness. Stouts offer a more intense bitter coffee flavor and are often higher in alcohol. This is a great post from King Arthur Flour

What Can I Substitute for Guinness

  • If you are still talking beer, any porter or stout will still work. Try a Vanilla Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout, or your favorite!
  • If you are looking to replace beer with a non-alcoholic liquid, these are my suggestions, based on some research, though I have never tried them. There are some sites that suggest substituting with cola or Dr. Pepper style of soda, but soda has sooo much more sugar than Guinness does, so please do not substitute with a full sugar soda.
  • Instead, if you must, use a sugar free darker soda, my suggestion would be a natural soda that is sugar free, such as Zevia or Blue Sky.
  • You may also use seltzer water or soda water.

Tips for baking with beer

  • Freshly opened, room-temperature beer is best. Pour it out and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe. This lets the foam dissipate and releases some of the carbonation.
  • Beer works better with full-fat dairy. It’s acidic and can curdle lower-fat ingredients.
  • Beer desserts are best when fresh. Beer can alter the flavors of the baked good over time, so if possible, bake and serve on the same day. Or keep unfrosted baked goods in airtight container for 5 days, refrigerate and bring to room temperature if frosted.
Ingredient shot for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream L-R Flour, Sugar, Beer, Vanilla, Sour Cream, Irish Butter, Eggs, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda and salt.

Ingredients for Chocolate Guinness Cake

  • 1 cup Guinness or dark stout or porter, room temperature
  • 17 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold Irish butter, that’s 2 sticks, plus one tablespoon)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used organic Dutch processed cocoa)
  • 2 cups sugar (I used all natural cane sugar, superfine or regular ok)
  • ⅔ cup sour cream (full fat – see note on baking with beer)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (try my bourbon vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, my flour is always unbleached
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • One recipe Irish Cream Buttercream

Easy Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream

While this recipe might seem complex, it’s really very simple, no creaming of butter; instead it’s melting, stirring, a bit of whisking and pouring. We can all do that right?

Making Irish Cream Buttercream

If you choose to frost your Guinness cake, be sure to cool the cake completely in the springform pan before frosting.

Image of Irish Buttercream for Guinness Chocolate Cake in a pedestal glass bowl on rattan platemat with offset spatula

You can get all fancy and pipe or frost the entire cake, I chose instead to frost the cake a little more willy-nilly (that’s a word, right?) resembling the black and tan look of a pint of Guinness with the foam on top.

We had friends over to enjoy this cake, they gave it a big thumbs up. My girlfriend who isn’t a big frosting fan, enjoyed the trimmed bits from the cake, while the rest of us gobbled up the frosted slices.

Offset spatula spreading Irish Buttercream frosting onto Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream, sitting on top of a copper cake pedestal

Recipes Using Beer

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might enjoy these other recipes that use beer in them as well!

Keep in mind, the alcohol mostly cooks or bakes out in the these recipes, the resulting flavor is maximum! If you have never cooked or baked with beer, now is the time to give it a try.

Recipes Using Beer

Recipe is below, I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake.

For a comprehensive list of St. Patrick’s day menu ideas, check out my 35+ St. Patrick’s Day Recipes post.

PIN to your Favorite St Patty’s Day Board!

Pinterest Pin for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream with image of single layer chocolate cake sitting on wooden pedestal with Guinness beer bottle in background.

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Pinterest Long Pin with two images for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream. Top image of Guinness bottle with poured beer in measuring cup, Irish butter sliced. Bottom Image of finished cake sitting on wooden platter with Guinness bottle on side and frosted Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Buttercream looking top down.
Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. I love your entire site, from start to finish! The Guinness cake will be cooking in my oven here in Canada on March 17th. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes but for now, I just raided my cupboard for something chocolate. Your photos made me do it! 🙂

  2. I got such a good giggle out of your email with this one Kathleen! I am FULLY on board for Moms Against Time Change!! This cake and buttercream look like the perfect solution for all the crankiness of the time change to come this weekend. Pinned!!