Chocolate cake is tough to pull off. Too dry is never a good thing and is too easily achieved when delving into the homemade cocoa gateau realm. When it’s good though, it’s oh so good. So with my Libra husband’s birthday upon us, I figured no cake could be more man pleasing than one that is moist, chocolatey, and loaded with Guinness.

Sugar. Check. Chocolate. Check. Stout. Check. And did I mention the incredibly soft and frothy cream cheese frosting? This recipe for chocolate Guinness cake from the buxom and lovely Nigella Lawson is one that I have transferred to the “handwritten family recipe book”. This is serious business reserved for the best of the best. Nigella cleverly tops her dark and damp cake with soft white frosting to imitate the froth on top of a good pint. So pretty. So moist. So delicious.

The original recipe can be viewed here, but because I like you I have saved you the grief of converting each ingredient from British weight measurements to volume measurements. You’re welcome. Now just make sure to drink the left over half can of Guinness while it’s still frothy and gorgeous as you bake that pretty cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
(recipe from

For the cake:
1 cup of Guinness
1 cup of unsalted butter
2/3 cup of cocoa
1 3/4 cups of caster sugar
2/3 cup of sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
2 1/2teaspoons baking soda

For the frosting:
1 1/3 cups of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/3 cups of icing sugar
1/2 cup of double or whipping cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.