Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Guinness CakeOk, I’ll admit it. I’m not much of a cake decorator. Actually, I specifically avoid making special occasion cakes because my decorating skills are pretty pitiful. But here’s the thing…

Guinness and Bailey's CakeI’ve discovered that if your cake has quality alcohol in the recipe, no one will care what it looks like. Matter of fact, if you have your guests drink a few bottles of Guinness or if you have them swig back a couple of shots of Bailey’s before they even see your cake, your guests will think that Martha Stewart decorated it along with a troop of helpful leprechauns. Truth.

Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream CakeAfter making my Guinness Battered Fish and Chips yesterday, I had leftover bottles of Guinness. And Guinness goes very nicely with chocolate. Odd, but true.

Add a little espresso powder and we are talking some seriously decadent cake here. I will even go out on a limb and use a word that makes me cringe because of its overuse. Epic. Food bloggers are constantly saying their recipes are epic. And of course most of us are pretty biased.

But I’m going to put my name on the line here and stand behind this cake. Because by God, it is indeed epic.

Guinnes and Irish Cream CakeOh, and I forgot the craziest part of this recipe. There’s Greek yogurt in it. Did you just tell me to shut up? I swear I heard you all the way over here in Beantown.

Yes, there’s Greek yogurt in this cake. And it’s not at all for health reasons. Nope, I’ve found that the Greek yogurt makes this cake incredibly moist and rich.

Mixed in with the Guinness, chocolate and espresso powder, it comes together to create something that’s downright amazing. And that alone would be just splendid, but today is Saint Patrick’s Day. A day of over indulgence.

So, I’ve frosted this bad boy with an Irish cream frosting that will have you spouting Irish limericks while you are step dancing around your mixer. Aye, Lassie. Tis true!

4.9 from 17 reviews
Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A rich decadent Guinness chocolate layer cake frosted with Irish cream frosting. It will have you step dancing in no time No lessons needed.
For The Guinness Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt ( I used Chobani plain non-fat yogurt)
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 9 oz of Guinness beer
For The Irish Cream Frosting
  • 4 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 8 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp Irish Cream (I used Bailey's)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊ. Grease three 8" cake pans and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer over medium-low speed, mix together the vegetable oil and sugar just until combined. Add eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Mix this too just until combined.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Once it is all mixed together, add the beer. Mix for three minutes on medium-high speed.
  5. Divide batter between the three cake pans. Bake in a 350ΒΊ oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Prepare the frosting. In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar and Irish cream. Beat until fluffy. This takes a few minutes.
  7. Once the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool on cooling racks for ten minutes. Flip them out and let them completely cool before frosting.
  8. Divide the frosting into three equal amounts. Spread between each layer and cover the top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate curls.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh my! What a fabulous looking dessert and original creation! We always have leftover Guiness after a St. Patrick’s Day party, can’t run out during the party of course. If someone asks about dessert the next day, I can now say, give me an hour and I think I can whip something extraordinary up for all of us. I guarantee they will find this cake amazing and delicious. I am drooling!

  2. That’s a pretty well done decorating job on your cake!! I wouldn’t complain about that! And the cake looks fabulous. Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to you!!!

    • Thanks Mimi! As long as I don’t have to ice the sides, I can fake it pretty good. πŸ™‚ Happy St. Patty’s Day to you too!

  3. Melanie, I have two questions. First, what is espresso powder and where is it available? Could I just substitute an equal amount of freshly ground coffee?
    Second, reading the ingredients has me thinking it must be super sweet with that amount of sugar. 4 cups in the cake and 8 cups in the icing has my teeth hurting just thinking about it. Is it very sweet, in your opinion?

    • Espresso powder can be found at Williams Sonoma, King Arthur Flour and probably Sur La Table. It is nothing like fresh ground coffee. So, I wouldn’t suggest that substitution. You don’t have to put it in the cake. I just think it’s a very nice flavor. As far as the sugar goes, no it’s not a typo. Also, it’s not a very sweet cake. Quite the contrary. Keep this in mind, the cake is huge. Each layer is an entire 8″ cake pan. It really could feed more like up to 18-20. It’s that big. And the Irish buttercream icing ration of sugar to butter is standard. Hope that helps.

  4. Oh Lordy Lordy. This is seriously making my mouth water girl and I don’t like Guinness or Espresso (or any kind of coffee type flavor which is guess is bad since I’m a mom lol). You have a crazy gift πŸ™‚ I don’t even wanna think though what the calories are for a slice πŸ™‚

    • I don’t like beer or espresso either but they are awesome together in this cake. Honestly, you’ll love it. And yes. Try not to think about the calories. πŸ™‚

  5. I think that I’m going to start icing my cakes like this! It looks so pretty!

  6. Patricia N. says:

    I am mesmerized by the beauty of the cake and the photo you took of it. Can I come over and have some; I’m only a couple of miles away. Hahaha.

  7. Theresa Z says:

    Can’t wait to try it. One question – what is the measurement of 3/4 bottle Guiness? Does Guiness come in only one size bottle? It looks scrumptious!!!

    • A 12oz bottle Theresa. Great question!!

      • victoria says:

        It’s a good thing I read the comments because my bottle was a pint and 6 ounces! Made this for my cousins 21st birthday today! I did two 6inch pans and 12 cupcakes turned out gorgeous AND delish. I love how beer in baked goods gives it a hard shell yet keeps the insides moist! Thank you for this recipe! πŸ™‚

        • Hi!
          Question: I need to bake 50 mini cupcakes and two six inch cakes with frosting. Do I need to double or triple the recipe? I’m scared of messing it up because it’s so much! Help!!!

          • I would imagine doubling it would be fine. That said, I’ve not done that before. I think that would be a good guess. πŸ™‚

  8. I’ve baked the cakes today and did a small taste-test . Very, very rich and not for the weak at heart! I loved it personally. Tomorrow I will frost & decorate, can’t wait to taste it when it all comes together!! Thanks for posting, hope my chocolate curls come out as pretty as yours!

  9. I was wondering did you use natural cocoa or Dutch process in this recipe since you have both baking powder and baking soda in it?

  10. Fumettosa says:

    Hello there! There is this dear friend of mine who’s bagged a job in Dublin, and I was just thinking of making a cake like this to wish her the best possible farewell at the party!
    Problem is I’m not american, and I make dreadful messes of converting cups, ounces, tablespoons in metric format.
    Could you give me a hand? Even if it is just suggesting me a GOOD converting website…

    Thanks for sharing, it looks so good.

  11. Hi! Quick question, we don’t have greek yogurt in the Philippines (but we do have Guinness LOL). We only have the plain ones. Will that work? I was hoping to make this cake tomorrow. That cake looks so rich. If it were a celebrity, it’d be Halle Berry? LOL sorry blabbering here must be the Guinness

    • Melanie says:

      Blabbering is totally welcome, lol. Do you have sour cream there? I’d try that first before regular plain yogurt. You want that sour component. If all else fails, use the plain regular yogurt. It won’t hurt it. Let me know how it goes!

      • Hi! I made the cake using plain yogurt and WOW it’s sooo gorgeous. It’s definitely an “adult” chocolate cake, very deep chocolatey flavor. And I made a very huge cake with this recipe! So many leftovers for breakfast ;P

        Now, I have another question, one that’s bordering on blasphemy. I ran out of Guinness (woops). And Guinness is not exactly easy to find (and it’s quite expensive) here in the tropics. Can I substitute like a dark lager beer? What exactly does beer do for a cake? Thank you so much and keep up the awesome work! Your blog is definitely a favorite.

        • You can absolutely substitute with another dark beer. Beer does a couple of things for a cake. First of all, the yeast creates a tender crumb. The other thing is that dark beer and chocolate compliment each other. The beer makes the chocolate flavor really stand out. I’m glad you like the cake. It’s one of my favorites. πŸ™‚

  12. I made this for my family over Labor Day weekend and we all fell in love with it. Oh my Gosh delish!! The only thing I changed was I used cream cheese frosting in a can and with the Irish cream. Still tasted amazing. I’m sending this to the pastry chef for my wedding cake. Hope you don’t mind.

  13. Katherine Dieringer says:

    I am so excited to use this recipe for my boyfriend’s birthday cake! My question is, though, do you recommend a certain Guinness? There is the stout and extra stout… Your picture shows the extra but the recipe doesn’t specify. Do you know if one is better for baking and bringing out the Guinness flavor more?


  14. wowza… my hubby drinks Guinness so we always have it in the frig. And I like to bake with espresso powder so I have both of those on hand. I will definitely be pinning to make this! Thanks for sharing at Buttercream Bakehouse! ~ Mama Ging

  15. Do you think it would be just as tasty if I literally Halved the recipe? I think it’s just too much cake for my group of people!

  16. This is a FANTASTIC cake! I used 2 servings of the Starbucks Via instant coffee instead of the espresso powder. I made this recipe as cupcakes and they were a huge hit. They tasted like they came from a fancy bakery. I will be making them for St. Patrick’s day. Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. Does the alcohol bake out of the cake? and can you use yuengling beer? or wood chuck hard cider?

  18. can I make this in a 9 by 13′ pan?

  19. I made this cake and it is awesome. My granddaughter helped me with the frosting. Since we had enough frosting, she frosted the sides of the cake. She just happened to have some chocolate coated coffee beans which we sprinkled on the top of the cake. The cake was so tall that I had to use a soup pot for a cover since the cover on my cake stand was not high enough.

  20. This recipe is awesome! It’s like something you’d buy at a fancy bakery. I make it as cupcakes and it makes quite a few – 40 or so. I used 3 packages of Starbucks via dark decaf instead of the espresso powder. Be sure to use salted butter in the frosting or it isn’t nearly as good. All my friends and family are begging for more!

  21. @grapesofkath says:

    This recipe is incredible, the best chocolate cake I have ever made! I heated the stout before adding it to the batter and it worked like a charm (pardon the St Paddy’s day pun). Also cut the sugar by a third and used sour cream instead of yogurt. Thanks for this, will share it with everyone.

  22. Could you please convert the cups into. Grams or ounces please

  23. Absolutely delicious! Easy to make. Use instatnt coffee in place of expresso and imgredients are easy to find. Takes forever to cool off. But wait until completely cooled off. Suffer in the wonderful aromas because it is worth it!

  24. Does it make any difference if the butter is salted or unsalted?

    • I always use unsalted butter. The salt can mask the taste of the butter if it is going rancid. You can always add salt–you cannot take it away. Also, if you do choose to use salted butter–that should be used for savory dishes. Unsalted butter is best for baking/sweet dishes.

  25. I’m in the process of making this cake. Used fresh ground espresso and ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder, fage 2% greek yogurt. Just based on our samples from leveling a lower cake layer and the scrapings of the pan, our minds are just blown. Wow, wow, wow. Moist, delicious, amazing chocolate flavor.

    Also, I used unsalted butter for the frosting, but did end up salting a little to taste. Always easier to go that route than the other way around.

  26. I made this for my birthday, and while I haven’t yet eaten it as a finished product, if the batter and frosting are any indication this is going to pretty much kill us all, and we’ll die happy! I made a few minor changes (coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons Kahlua instead of 3 teaspoons vanilla, instant coffee instead of espresso powder, chocolate sprinkles instead of curls). I also ran the nutrition information on it, and I really wish I hadn’t! What the heck, you only live once…might as well enjoy it.

  27. this was AMAZING!!!! I did cut back the sugar by 1/2 cup and made cream cheese frosting, because I like things less sweet, but Oh my goodness. Seriously delicious! I see that many people have made these as cupcakes. I would love to do this. But help!!! Bake for how long? Any other changes to make? Thanks!!!!

  28. Darleen says:

    I am baking this for my sons birthday tomorrow so I hope I am not too late asking. With the greek yogurt it says 1 cup….that is a measuring cup of it not just a greek yogurt cup right? The yogurt is only 5.3 oz. Thank you!!! Can’t wait to make it!

  29. Quick question….are you using cake flour or all purpose flour?

  30. Great recipe, thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to try!! Could you tell me why do I need the yogurt? Thanks.

  31. I make cupcakes with this recipe and they are hands down the most requested dessert I have ever made. I bake them for 18-20 minutes.


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