Guinness Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing

An impressive and very easy to make Guinness chocolate cake paired with brown butter cream cheese icing- perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a moist Guinness chocolate cake served with brown butter cream cheese icing.

This cake. The product you get when a whole can of Guinness, cocoa powder and a bunch of other stuff are combined. I made this cake  twice in the past week-  I rarely repeat the same recipe, let alone in a short time span, which tells you something. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and I wanted to make something in spirit of the occasion. But using excessive amounts of green food coloring didn’t appeal to me, nor did it have any cultural significance. I wanted to make something somewhat authentic.  A chocolate cake with Irish stout seemed like the perfect choice- it brings together a very Irish element and a very chocolatey one.

So I set out to find the perfect cake. At school, I was told that one of my teachers made a the best Guinness chocolate cake ever, so I asked her for some tips. Instead of adding the quantity of Guinness required by the recipe, she told me that she had doubled the amount, and that had made for a moister cake. The first time I tried this out, I added more than double the quantity of Guinness – the result yielded a super gooey and soft, cake with a clear stout flavor. But the second time I made it, the Guinness addition was perfect- the cake was slightly dense, very chocolatey and incredibly moist- very comparable to my Best Chocolate Cake recipe.

You can barely taste the alcohol, it simply adds an unbeatable moisture that makes cutting into the cake enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. You may substitute coffee in place of the Guinness- but that kind of defeats the purpose of a Guinness chocolate cake.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a moist Guinness chocolate cake served with brown butter cream cheese icing.

Paired with the brown butter cream cheese frosting, the cake is flawless. When making brown butter, you have to remember that it is very easy to burn, so it is better to take it off the heat earlier rather than later- I’d give it 5 minutes on medium heat, just until it turns brown. Wait any longer and you’ll end up with a burnt mess.

Make this cake for St. Patrick’s Day- or any time, really.

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 1 cup (200-225 g) butter, salted or unsalted works
  • 2 cups (440 mL can) Guinness
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar (I like Demerara but granulated or brown- or a combination works)
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) cocoa powder
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2/3 cup (145 mL) natural yogurt (can use Greek yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream as a substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups (275 g) all-purpose flour

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
  • 135 g (4-5 oz) cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) powdered/confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and grease a 9 inch springform pan with butter.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter and Guinness and place on medium heat, stirring every now and then until the butter is completely melted.
  3. To the mixture, add the sugar and cocoa, stirring to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Add this mixture to the Guinness mixture.
  5. Then, stir in the baking soda followed by the flour until everything is incorporated and bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few damp crumbs.
  7. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium to low heat and let it melt and come to a boil. Swirl the pan, you do not need to stir it.
  2. After 5-8 minutes, the butter should turn a light golden brown color- when specks appear on the surface, take the butter off the heat and pour into a bowl. Be extra careful not to burn the butter- it's better for it to be under browned than over brown and burnt. Don't scrape the saucepan, and you don't need to add all the butter as those specks left behind will take away from the smooth texture.
  3. Let the butter cool slightly and then add the cream cheese.
  4. Once the mixture is smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add more if necessary.
  5. Finally, beat in the vanilla.
  6. Pour the frosting atop the cooled cake and spread with a butter knife or offset spatula.
This cake is the best (for me) when served at room temperature.
Recipe loosely adapted from Nigella and Ms. Sutton 🙂

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a moist Guinness chocolate cake served with brown butter cream cheese icing.