Food & Drinkrecipes

Katie Quinn Davies’ Guinness Cake Recipe

by Kristina Gill

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. 

Suggested For You


  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • I have made this cake several times since first seeing it on your blog. I absolutely love it, and so do all of my friends and family! One tip I’d like to add, is to be sure you use the right beer, I accidentally used a special Christmas Guinness Ale which was lighter. I realized it as soon as I poured it into the butter. So I replace 2 tablespoons of the Ale with 2 tablespoons of cold brewed coffee concentrate, hoping it would Bring out more chocolate flavor like the stout would have. The cake still turned out delicious this time, but I’ll be sure and check for correct ingredients next time!
    Thank you for a great and easy recipe! And your beautiful cover shot helped me to find your recipe online when it came time to make it again. I was looking for the memorable photo with the Swans cake pan to ensure I had the right recipe, among the dozens of other Guinness cake recipes online! Thank you again, Nani in California

  • I have made this cake before and loved it! However, I would like to use this recipe to make cupcakes for a party, would you recommend altering the oven temp or cook time?

  • I know this post is really old, so I hope someone can answer … Is the heavy cream supposed to be whipped (turned into whipped cream) before it gets folded into the cream cheese?

  • Hi there.
    I’m just about to back your cake tomorrow (Friday) in readiness for my Irish Day while the rugby match is in (England v’s Ireland) .
    Can I make it in an ordinary cake tin (springform)? You say to line the tin in your recipe. Just with greaseproof paper? Thanks.

  • Wonderful wonderful wonderful! I followed this recipe exactly (used a scale to measure all the dry ingredients), making sure to use the the full fat versions of sour cream and cream cheese, a high quality Dutch process cocoa, and the Guinness i used was labeled as “extra stout”…the results were a huge hit with my Irish themed dinner club last night. The only thing I did differently was I made cupcakes instead of cake. Baked at the same temp in cupcake liners filled 3/4 full for 15 minutes. The frosting was divine and worked well through my piping bag with a 2D drop flower tip and held up perfectly in the fridge after piping. I’m not usually a cream cheese frosting fan but this fluffy version was so good and I plan to use it for any recipe that calls for a cream cheese frosting – YUM!

  • Hi, I was wondering how you recommendtoring this cake? I typically make the cake the night before, and the forsting the day I serve it. How do you like to store it if its not eaten all at once?

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