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This celebratory Guinness Beer Cake recipe is lightly sweet with cocoa, malty with Stout, and is crowned with fresh Baileys whipped cream!
With much gratitude and appreciation, this recipe inspired by our friends at Eating Well Magazine!
A birthday cake for a friend who is by all accounts the biggest beer lover I know, marked the first time I assembled a Mighty Irish Guinness Beer Cake recipe. Obviously, it turned out NOT to have been my last.
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I appreciate this cake for its simplicity. No fancy tube pan or Bundt pan required to bake up a humble stout beer cake batter into a truly luscious and moist cake.
The delightfully perfumed freshly whipped cream is sweetened with Bailey’s Irish Cream and a wee bit of confectioners’ sugar. Just enough of each to let you know it’s special.
Do You Have What’s Needed to Bake This Mighty Irish Guinness Beer Cake Recipe? Check The List!
for the Guinness Beer Cake
- cake flour
- granulated sugar
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- baking soda
- baking powder
- Kosher salt
- large eggs
- Guinness Irish Stout
- unsalted butter
- canola oil
- vanilla extract
for the Bailey’s Irish Cream Whipped Cream
- heavy whipping cream
- confectioners’ sugar
- Bailey’s Irish Cream
- vanilla extract
- instant espresso powder
How This Recipe Came About…
Chocolate cake with beer wasn’t on my radar when I agreed to help my girlfriend with her husband’s birthday party. In fact, I truly thought I was to be responsible for streamers and balloons and that was it.
But the situation changed when she called me across the street to be her cake tester for a Bundt cake, she’d baked earlier that morning. The cake had been turned out onto a cooling rack and there were tiny chocolate candies all over the top of the cake. It certainly looked pretty enough.
She cut some slices right on the wire rack and piled the cake along with rogue cadies onto a napkin and handed it over. It was that first bite when I knew…somehow, I was being roped in because (no offense Linda!) that cake was awful.
It wasn’t until we sat down to put the beverage order together that the notion struck me; why not bake a cake incorporating his favorite dark beer?
What Kind of Beer is Good in a Beer Cake Recipe?
My grandmother used to incorporate beer into her gingerbread cakes, so adding beer or stout to a cake batter wouldn’t be ‘new’ for me.
When I first moved out on my own, my aunt mailed me a newspaper clipping for a beer cake recipe made with a box of yellow cake mix and pale ale.
So yeah, the idea of Simon’s favorite dark beer, a lovely Irish Stout we are all familiar with, was a possibility. And baked into a decadent chocolate cake seemed absolutely ideal.
For bakes like this chocolate beer cake recipe, I love a Stout or a Porter. Chocolate cake with Guinness beer is a classic.
That said, any dark beer paired with chocolate will get you to where you’re going. Key word here is ‘pairing.’
When baking up blonde bakes like a vanilla or citrus cake, I rely on blonde ales.
In fact, vanilla blonde ales like the vanilla bean blonde ale by Infusion Brewing Company out in Benson, Nebraska are not only fabulous for enjoying but also wonderfully razzle dazzle for baking. Again, you’re ‘pairing.’
Remember that when pairing beer to a flavor profile, consider the ingredients you will be using in the cake. Simple ingredients will get you over the finish line every time.
What Is the Best Chocolate for Baking a Chocolate Cake with Guinness Beer?
This is a super subtle bake. If you’re looking for an incredibly sweet cake, this is not your recipe. Why not?
This recipe is a winner due to the fact that the flavor of the Guinness REALLY shines. Unsweetened cocoa powder elevates the roasted barley that gives Guinness Stout its incredibly deep caramelized flavor.
No chocolate chips in the center of the cake and no heavy chocolate frosting on surface of the cake, just chocolate in its most basic form, a little sugar, and the BEST chocolate cake subtly flavored with Ireland’s favorite beer.
Instead, look for a HIGH-QUALITY unsweetened cocoa powder. I don’t get paid for saying it, but theirs is pretty much solely what I use, and it’s Ghirardelli.
There are only a few main ingredients in this cake with a bunch of supporting ingredients of course. Making sure you use the BEST chocolate in this bake is going to absolutely make a difference once added to the flour mixture.
Coupled with a brilliant freshly whipped cream that is only lightly sweetened, Bailey’s Irish Cream is showcased in what can only be described as indulgent.
How to Make a Mighty Irish Guinness Beer Cake?
For this recipe, I use my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you do not own a stand mixer, an electric handheld mixer works just fine.
You will however need a 9-inch square pan. You can get away with an 8-inch square pan, however the bake time is altered to bake the cake through, and I have always insisted this lengthened bake does dry the cake slightly.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and coat the bottom of the pan and sides of the pan with unsalted butter or baking spray. I go unsalted butter every time because hey, what’s the harm in a couple tablespoons of butter?
To the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and some salt. On low, mix these dry ingredients for about 2 minutes or until they’re well incorporated.
Add in eggs, Stout, melted butter, oil, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until JUST incorporated. Do NOT overmix.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the fragrant malty batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 24 minutes, however, begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
All ovens are different, and if this cake is overbaked even slightly, it loses something. A tester inserted into the middle of the cake will pull away clean when the cake is ready.
Use the parchment handles to lift the cake from the pan after a brief 30-minute cool-down, and place on a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature.
How to Make Bailey’s Whipped Cream?
For this step, I swap out the paddle attachment for the whip attachment on my stand mixer. After thoroughly washing and drying the bowl, I add heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, some sugar, Bailey’s, vanilla extract, and a surprisingly necessary ingredient, instant espresso powder.
Beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until medium peaks form. Once you’ve achieved peak status, refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
How to Serve a Mighty Irish Guinness Beer Cake?
Plate the generous squares of cake on dessert plates at room temperature with a heap of Bailey’s freshly whipped cream. And if it happens to be Saint Patrick’s Day, a tiny sprig of mint livens the plate!
Mighty Irish Guinness Beer Cake Recipe
- 9-inch square baking pan
- parchment paper
- wire cooling rack
for the Guinness Beer Cake
- 1 ½ cups cake flour
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 ¼ cups Guinness Stout or other dark porter or stout beer
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the Bailey's Whipped Cream
- ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup Confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream liquor may substitute Irish whiskey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
prepare the Bailey's Whipped Cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine heavy whipping cream and espresso powder. To the cream mixture, add the confectioners' sugar, Bailey's Irish Cream liquor, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whip on medium-high until medium peaks form, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a pretty serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve (for up to 8 hours). Wash and thoroughly dry the stand mixer bowl and reassemble for use with the Guinness beer cake batter.
assemble the Guinness Beer Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch-square baking pan with unsalted butter or baking spray. Line the bottom and 2 sides of the pan with parchment paper cut to fit, leaving an overhang on the 2 sides. These overhangs will serve as 'handles' for easily removing the cake after the bake.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer again, this time fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cake flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and Kosher salt for 1 minute on medium-low speed, just enough to combine all of the dry ingredients. To the dry ingredients, add the stout, melted butter, oil, lightly beaten eggs, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on medium speed until just smooth and combined (do not overmix). Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. NOTE: begin testing for doneness at 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Lift the cake using the parchment handles and remove from the pan to a wire cooling rack.
- Serve the cake at room temperature with dollops of the Bailey's-infused whipped cream.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.