I always LOVE to see the look on someones face when they try this cake for the first time. It’s an absolute classic from the Hummingbird Bakery’s ‘Cake Days’ book. I’ve baked it so many times now, the book just falls open on that page! Personally, I like to double up on the icing, as I always prefer to have too much as opposed to not enough, and icing is also great to hide any imperfections too.

This cake also makes a fantastic and very impressive birthday cake. I doubled the recipe and made a 2 tier cake for my Mums 60th and radio husband JK’s 40th. With extra frosting and a spreading of cherry jam in the middle, it’s truly scrumptious! Raspberry jam also works well.

Even Mary Berry is a fan. I baked this when I was lucky enough to interview her, she tried it and loved it! When the words ‘I’m in seventh heaven’ and ‘it slices through like butter’ came out of her mouth, it felt like I’d won the lottery!

Best of all, it can be made gluten free. Doves Farm do a fantastic range of gf flours, so exchange the plain flour for their version. There IS unfortunately, gluten in Guinness, but I used Greens GF Dark Ale and it worked brilliantly. Bicarbonate of Soda is naturally gluten free, and Dr Oetker do a gf baking powder. The raw mix will seem a little runnier than the with gluten version, but don’t panic. Once cooked, the results are virtually identical.


250ml (9fl oz) Guinness
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
80g (3oz) cocoa powder
400g (14oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
140ml (5fl oz) buttermilk
280g (10oz) plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g (10½oz) icing sugar
125g (4½oz) full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
one 23cm (9in) diameter spring-form cake tin


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of the tin with baking parchment.

2. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.

3. Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Using the mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.


4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.

5. Using the electric whisk or the freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix in a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

6. Place the cooled cake on to a plate or cake card and top generously with the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be decorated with a light dusting of cocoa powder.

As always, your feedback is massively appreciated. Hope you love this cake as much as i do!

Lucy xxx

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe – Happy St. Patricks Day!
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