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Food & Recipes

Guinness Chocolate Cake Is the Ultimate Rich + Fudgy Treat — Easy Shortcut Recipe

Here's a pastry chef's trick for making a yummy cake with less measuring!

Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or frankly any day, one of our favorite decadent treats to enjoy is Guinness chocolate cake. It’s a rich dessert that uses a surprise ingredient in both cake batter and icing: Guinness beer. This Irish stout beer enhances the cake’s chocolatey flavor and  keeps it moist. Keep reading to learn more about this cake and our simple recipe that will make your festivities extra special!

The ingredients in Guinness chocolate cake

The batter for this cake combines baking staples like flour, cocoa powder, butter or oil and eggs with a fun bonus ingredient: Guinness. Once mixed, the batter is divided between cake pan or muffin tin openings and baked. The cooled cake is then topped with a chocolate or cream cheese frosting before serving. Barrington Brewery in Barrington Hill, Massachusetts, is credited with popularizing this cake as the establishment shared their original recipe in a 2002 issue of Bon Appétit. This cake has been a staple treat for occasions like St. Patrick’s Day.

How this dark beer enhances the cake’s flavor

Although beer isn’t a standard ingredient for chocolate cake, Guinness is one delicous exception to that. Its rich taste, which is a byproduct of the brewing process, pairs well with the sweet and earthy taste of chocolate. And as the Irish beer’s alcohol content evaporates during baking, it leaves behind its unique flavor.

“Basically, we just take one of those ingredients from beer, barley, hops, yeast, water, we take the grain, barley, and we roast it like you would roast coffee,” Jimmy Callahan, Guinness Brewery Ambassador, explains in a video. “And that’s where you get the dark color of the beer, and then also those coffee, chocolate and toffee flavors.” While this namesake beer gives this treat its signature flavor, you can use other fragrant liquids like porter beer or brewed coffee. (Click through for the best Irish drinks to enjoy on St. Paddy’s Day and all year round!)

Pastry chef’s easy shortcut for whipping up this cake

If you’re short on time but still want a tasty cake, use a box of devil’s food cake mix for the batter. It cuts down time since you don’t have to measure each ingredient. Also, one brand of mix that’s earned a pastry chef’s seal of approval is Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix. “This particular type of Betty Crocker cake mix has pudding in the mix, which helps retain the liquid on the cake and makes for a more moist end product,” Amanda Rose, executive pastry chef at Desserts First in Castro Valley, California, says. When using store-bought mix for this cake, follow the recipe listed on the box and swap water for Guinness. This infuses the cake with the beer’s nutty and toffee flavors in no time.

How to make Guinness chocolate cake

Our test kitchen’s Guinness Chocolate Cake recipe is the ultimate indulgent treat to include in your St. Patrick’s Day dessert spread. It uses 5 key ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. (Note: Directions and cake measurements are based on the Super Moist boxed cake mix, but adjust accordingly to your preferred brand.)

Guinness Chocolate Cake

A whole Guinness chocolate cake


  • 1 (13.25 oz) box devil’s cake mix
  • 1 cup Guinness + 3 Tbs.
  • ½ cup vegetable oil + extra (for greasing)
  • 3 room temperature eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups canned or homemade chocolate frosting


  • Yield: One (8 or 9-inch) cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with generous layer of vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, mix cake mix, 1 cup Guinness, oil and eggs until just combined. Divide cake batter between both pans and smooth top using rubber spatula.
  4. Bake 28 to 33 minutes for 8-inch cakes, and 23 to 28 minutes for 9-inch cakes. When toothpick inserted comes out clean, take out of oven and cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove layers from cake plan and sit on wire rack while preparing frosting.
  5. In medium bowl, whisk together chocolate frosting and remaining 2 Tbs. Guinness until well combined.
  6. To assemble cake: Trim cake if domed on top. Place 1 cake on serving plate or cake stand; spread with about 1 cup of frosting. Top with remaining cake layer and spread with rest of frosting on top and around sides. Slice and enjoy!

    Easy variation: Make Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes by dividing batter between two 12-cup lined muffin tins. Bake at 375°F for about 14 to 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire rack and pipe frosting on top. Makes approximately 21 cupcakes.

Keep reading for more recipes that will get you into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit!

This Melt-In-Your-Mouth Irish Soda Bread Recipe Is Ready to Bake in Just 10 Minutes

These Irish Cookies Are the Perfect Buttery Treat for St. Paddy’s Day: 2 Easy Recipes

Homemade Irish Cream Recipe Is So Easy to Make in Just 5 Minutes

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