Katie Quinn Davies’ Guinness Cake Recipe

This week’s recipe is by Irish-born and Sydney-based food photographer/food stylist Katie Quinn Davies.  You know her best as the one-woman show behind the blog What Katie Ate.  When Katie and I began to discuss what recipes she might offer, I found out that she was Irish and that changed up the whole game!  I had the greatest time in Dublin last year, and couldn’t wait to see what Katie would propose. As luck would have it, among her ideas was a Guinness Chocolate Cake.  I wasted no time in saying, “Yes, please!” So here you go, a beautiful chocolate cake that even the guys can get excited about! — Kristina

About Katie: Training originally as a graphic designer in her native hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Katie has spent over twelve years working for some of the leading design studios in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. In 2009, Katie re-focused her creative abilities toward hatching a new-found career in food photography and food styling. Working out of her own fully-equipped studio in Sydney and taking all photographs in natural daylight, Katie often creates, styles, art directs and photographs food photography briefs from concept to completion. Her work covers magazine editorial and cookbook commissions, as well as freelance shoots for a variety of Sydney’s gourmet food stores and restaurants. In her spare time, Katie runs a foodie photography blog, What Katie Ate, which covers all things relating to food and drink in Sydney and features recipes and photos from Katie herself.  You can visit her portfolio here.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients
  • 250 g (1 c. and 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 250 ml (1 c.) Guinness
  • 75 g Dutch process cocoa ( 3/4 c.), sifted
  • 275 g (2 +  1/4 c.) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 400 g (2 c.)  sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. good quality vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients
  • 300 g (1 + 1/3 cup) cream cheese
  • 150 g (1+1/2 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) cream, whipped
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

1. Add butter, cocoa and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.

2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.

3. Pour into a greased and lined 10″ angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.*Note: This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking.  [Please note:  Katie baked this in an 8.5″ x 3.5″ pan.  If you make this in a regular angel food cake pan, you should start checking for doneness at least 15 minutes early.]

4. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.

Frosting Instructions
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed using a whisk attachment (I find a paddle attachment tends to over-beat the cheese). Whisk until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.

2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.

3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.

4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side (never go over the sides of the cake) until the cake resembles a pint of the creamy black stuff! The idea is to capture the essence and simplicity of a pint of Guinness. Sláinte!

A special thank you to Donna Hay for the cake stand and wire cooling rack!
Why Katie Chose this Recipe:
I chose this cake as I’m a mad keen baker but even more so because I love the strange reaction from people when they hear its name.  They always ask “Chocolate and Guinness?? In a cake?! You’re kidding?!”  Also, it’s nice to introduce a bit of quintessential “Irish-ness” or “Oirish-ness” from my homeland into my cooking especially to my Aussie mates for a laugh, so I often make this cake when I’m going to a BBQ or dinner party if asked to bring a dessert as it’s quite the norm to “bring a plate” here in Oz. To most people, and still myself even after 30 years of living in Ireland, Guinness is an acquired taste.  I honestly find it too bitter for my palette to drink alone.  So when I initially made this cake a good few years ago, I was super surprised to find there is no lingering taste from “the black stuff” whatsoever and I was totally bowled over by the incredible moistness of the cake.  Honestly I really think it’s one of the best chocolate cake recipes out there.  It is heavy, so I would never be tempted to add anything to the middle of the cake or layer it and add frosting inside.  The essence with this cake is to keep it simple and don’t complicate it, enjoy its subtlety. 

  1. I am a cooker, not a baker, but this cake looked so tasty, I actually decided to bake for the first time in 2 years.
    It was delicious!

  2. debbie says:

    My daughter made this cake for a St Patrick’s day party and everyone thought it was fantastic! I was lucky enough to get a piece to take home…she will be making it again!

  3. janice says:

    This cake is amazing.This is a beautifully styled and photographed cake…

  4. This looks amazing! I want to make it right now. Any substitute for the sour cream?

  5. I absolutely love chocolate guinness cake! The beer really lifts the chocolate flavour without tasting like beer (!) making it velvety, smooth and delicious. I always top mine with a cream cheese frosting – so it looks a little like a pint of guinness!

  6. Melinda says:

    I made this cake for my husband for his birthday this past December. So easy to make, and it looked gorgeous on my white cake stand. He is a home brewer—a cake made with beer is perfect for him. The guinness taste does increase over time, sort of like when you add rum to a fruit cake, so I think this is best consumed within a day or two of baking.

  7. Stacia says:

    I tried this recipe over the weekend and it was a big hit! So delicious and rich, with such wonderful flavors. It was such a highlight to my fourth of July weekend to bake it for family and friends, it will definitely make many more appearances on our menus!

  8. M.E. says:

    with so many delicious food sites and blogs and books, seeing similarities is hardly surprising. Not to mention that recipes are not copyrightable, one of the few things that are not, at least in the US: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

  9. Elana says:

    Just made the cake. yum. didn’t have any cream cheese so made a ganache and tipped it on the warm cake. mmmmmmmmmm, delicious! Thanks for sharing

  10. Jen says:

    I have made this cake about three times since reading this recipe. It’s a great, moist cake and everyone seems to love it! I swapped out the icing for my mother’s recipe as she really makes the best icing in the world. It still tastes great! I linked to this article/recipe on my blog as well – I hope that many more people get to enjoy it too!

  11. Jane says:

    This is a mindblowing cake! I made it for my birthday and my friends lurrved it! I loved using the unexpected combo of chocolate and guiness and the frosting is a lovely, tangy addition. Superb Katie!

  12. Ida says:

    I made it about a week ago. My brother was like, why can’t I make something usual?! I said, you wait till you have tasted it. I was right, the whole family, my sweetheart (even the cat:D) loved it. It is just great! Thanks for sharing, Ida from Hungary.

  13. Susana Lopez says:

    I recently made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday! He is a huge chocolate fan.

    I actually used a different stout for a more creamy flavor: the St Peter’s Cream Stout. Next time, I would try it with a few of my favorite local dark beers. Real Ale Coffee Porter. (512) Pecan Porter. Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout! Those are all delicious Texas beers (and in my opinion preferred to Guinness). The possibilities are endless!

  14. Lisa says:

    I tried this recipe and really liked it, however my cake did not rise in the pan quite as high as this…what did I do wrong? I even used a scale to measure the ingredients exactly.

  15. Paige says:

    Made this cake but substituted the cream cheese frosting for a dark chocolate fleur de sel ganache. Absolutely FABULOUS! Photos and recipes here:


  16. Deborah McDonnell says:

    My first reaction–It’s Nigella’s recipe and looks the same as the one she published several years ago. While various responses to this observation have been made throughout the comments, it is obvious that a credit to her should have been made. At the very least, acknowledgement that the recipe is an adaptation, if not a copy.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      you might want to read all the comments. your concerns have been addressed and acknowledged and explained already.


  17. Anna says:

    I’m in awe of this cake!!

  18. I added this yummy cake to my my black and white roundup on my blog: http://www.lauracgeorge.com/pretty-palette-black-and-white/

  19. Kathy Smith says:

    Oh WoW, You have inspired me to make this lovely Tall cake. I have purchased the exact Swans Angel Food cake pan to make it in. I personally love Guinness Stout AND Chocolate. So, for the Tall cake pan am I correct that I need to add a 1/2 tsp of Baking soda to the batter? Reading the comments above, I think I am supposed to, but not sure. Thank you and I will let you know how it turns out. I have also ordered special Onyx black cocoa for this cake as well.

  20. Rotularte says:

    That makes me hungry. Makes me want to get cooking. I’m definitely going to try this weekend. Thank You!

  21. Stacy says:

    Does it really use baking soda? I’ve been told dutch processed cocoa takes baking powder, so now I’m confused!

  22. Lavues says:

    Yummy! It looks really tasty with the moist texture, gonna give it a try!


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.