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  • Writer's pictureJim Hoehn

Why Choose Between Cake or Beer? Have Both!

Flying Cakes

My past experience baking cakes was never good. Once, I placed a cake carrier holding a homemade masterpiece on the roof of the car in preparation for a trip to the next town. Fifteen minutes later, I was driving down the road when I took a turn too fast and watched in horror: the forgotten cake rolled off the roof, tumbled onto the road, and sent the destroyed masterpiece everywhere. I have on more than one occasion accidentally slammed the oven door on a rising cake, then marveled at how a flattened and lop-sided cake was still delicious. So when I started my new cooking lessons, I was a bit nervous about cake baking but was surprised at how easy it was.

The Secret of Guinness

One of my first recipes was a Chocolate Guinness Cake. It is very easy to make from scratch in a short amount of time. Adding Guinness may seem odd, but believe

me it is a cake to die for. Something interesting happens when the richness of the beer cooks down to a sugary syrup. When you put it in front of your family or take it to a party, people are going to love it. Best part, it’s great the next day; it doesn’t turn into a dry cracker. Having successfully made this cake myself a couple of times, I asked my coach, Chef Mary Ann, to tell us below how she crafts the Chocolate Guinness Cake. Her final step is my favorite!

“I first made this cake from Nigella Lawson as a terrific finish to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration dinner. It quickly became a family favorite. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years, and make it often. It never disappoints. The cake is simple but also sophisticated in its flavor palate. Dark, rich, malty, not too sweet and entirely satisfying. It is also very easy; the cake prep takes about 15 minutes, mixed by hand.”

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe



  • Butter for pan

  • 1 cup Guinness stout (I use the whole bottle, 11 oz.)

  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (I use dark unsweetened cocoa)

  • 2 cups sugar

  • ¾ cup sour cream

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda


  • 1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

  • ½ cup heavy cream

For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, (I’ve also used a bunt pan), and line with parchment paper. Butter one side of the parchment paper as well. This helps for an effortless removal from the pan. In a large saucepan, combine the Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and sugar, and whisk to blend well.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; beat well with a mixer. Add this to the Guinness mixture. Then, add the flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour everything into the buttered pan and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

For the frosting: Using a mixer, food processor or by hand, mix confectioner’s sugar to break up any lumps. Add the cream cheese and blend until smooth. Then, add heavy cream and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cooled cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

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