Rich, fudgy, and so delicious, this Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is just the cake you want to cap off your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations but is so good you’ll make it all year long!

Piece of chocolate Guinness cake on grey plate.


Like most New Yorkers, each year my family honors our Irish ancestors with a St. Paddy’s Day feast.

I’ll make a Shepherd’s Pie or Guinness beef stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Tara will always make a few loaves of Irish soda bread.

This Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is always there to close out the meal and satisfy those sweet cravings.

The Guinness compliments the rich chocolate, the cake is incredibly moist and light, and the creamy Baileys frosting is just out of this world!

Cake ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: sugar, sour cream salt, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, vanilla, cocoa powder, Guinness, buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and flour.
  • Stout. We’re using Guinness but you can use any stout, such as Murphy’s.
  • Espresso powder. While this ingredient is optional, adding espresso to any chocolate cake amps up the flavor in a big way.
  • Buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk you can use regular milk with a little white vinegar, about 1 tablespoon per cup of milk.
  • Oil. I prefer to use oil over butter for cakes as it yields an incredibly moist cake. Use vegetable oil, avocado oil, or any neutral-flavored oil.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Baileys buttercream frosting ingredients

Baileys buttercream frosting ingredients shown: butter, salt, Baileys, and powdered sugar.
  • Butter. Unsalted butter softened to room temperature.
  • Irish cream. Baileys is the most well known Irish cream but you can definitely find other brands and use those.
  • Confectioner’s sugar. Be sure to sift the powdered sugar to prevent lumps.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

First, make the chocolate Guinness cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level. Line a 9×13 inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl add 3 cups (390g) of all-purpose sifted flour, 2/3 cup (83g) of cocoa powder, 2 1/3 (465g) of granulated suagar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, if using, and mix to combine. (Photo #1)
Chocolate Guinness cake recipe collage one showing mixing of dry ingredients and mixing of wet ingredients in separate bowl.
  1. In a separate large bowl add 1 bottle (317g) of Guinness, 1/2 cup (120g) of sour cream, 1 cup (224g) of buttermilk, 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup (162g) of vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and whisk until combined. (Photo #2)
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, to beat on low for 1 minute. (Photo #3)
Recipe collage two showing mixing of cake batter and pouring batter into cake pan.
  1. Pour the Guinness cake batter into the prepared pan. (Photo #4)
  2. Bake the cake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Photo #5)
Recipe collage three showing testing of cake's doneness with toothpick and removing parchment paper from the cake.
  1. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then invert and place on a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow the cake to fully cool before frosting with the Irish cream frosting. (Photo #6)

Next, frost the cake

  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 2 cups (454g) of unsalted room temperature butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until creamy. (Photo #1)
Baileys frosting process collage one showing creaming of butter and mixing of frosting.
  1. Add 6 cups (700g) of confectioner’s sugar, 1 pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup (80g) of Baileys Irish cream and beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium – medium-high and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Check the consistency of the frosting and if it’s too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. If the frosting is too thick, add another tablespoon of Irish cream to thin it out. (Photo #2)
  2. Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to place the frosting onto the top of the cooled chocolate Guinness cake. (Photo #3)
Recipe process collage group two showing placing frosting on cake with scooper and spreading it onto the cake.
  1. Use an offset spatula to distribute the frosting evenly. If desired, add a few festive sprinkles. Slice, serve and enjoy! (Photo #4)

Top tips

  • Espresso. This chocolate Guinness cake is already fudgy and delicious, but adding espresso powder really takes the flavor over the top. This is a great trick for any chocolate cake. You can use decaf espresso powder if caffeine is a concern.
  • The pan. This recipe was written for a standard 9×13 cake pan which is typically 2 – 2 1/4 inches deep and holds a volume of 14 cups (3.5 quarts). It’s important to be sure the pan you are using is the correct size. It’s much easier to remove the cake from the pan if it’s lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, be sure to adequately oil/grease/spray the cake pan for easier removal. You can also opt to keep the cake in the sheet pan and serve that way too.
  • Use a kitchen scale. Using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams will provide a more accurate measurement. We recommend using a scale for most baking and dough-making recipes.
  • Serving. If you’re not serving right away, store in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before serving. Room temperature frosting tastes so much better than cold frosting.

Chocolate Guinness cake with Baileys frosting and Irish sprinkles.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting

4.97 from 26 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 20 slices
Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is incredibly moist, fluffy, and fudgy! This is the cake you need for your St. Patrick's Day celebrations!

Ingredients 

For the Guinness Cake

  • 3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour sifted
  • 2 1/3 cup (465g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (83g) cocoa powder
  • 1 bottle (317g) Guinness
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
  • 1 cup (224g) buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (162g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Irish Cream Frosting

  • 2 cups (454g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 6-7 cups (700-840g) confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 1/3 cup (80g) Bailey's Irish Cream room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions 

For the Guinness Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level. Line a 9×13 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (if using) and salt, and whisk until combined.
  • In a separate large bowl add the Guinness, sour cream, buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a hand mixer to beat on low for 1 minute. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it over and place on a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and allow the cake to fully cool before frosting with the Irish Cream frosting.

For the Irish Cream Frosting

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until creamy.
  • Add 6 cups of confectioner's sugar, the salt, and the Irish cream and beat on low for 30 seconds then increase the speed to medium to medium-high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Check the consistency of the frosting and if it's too thin, add the remaining cup of sugar a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you find the frosting is too thick, you can add about a tablespoon of Irish cream at a time to thin it out.
  • Scoop the frosting onto the top of the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to distribute evenly. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Notes

  • This recipe was written for a conventional oven. For convection ovens, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and begin checking for doneness at the 75% mark.
  • This recipe is written for a 9×13 sheet pan, however, you can make a 2 layer cake by using 2 prepared 9-inch cake pans and using a kitchen scale to divide the batter equally between the two pans. The bake time will be much quicker, so start checking for doneness at the 20-minute mark.
  • Leftover cake can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.5g | Protein: 4.4g | Fat: 24.5g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 13.1g | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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32 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made this for St Patrick’s Day, everyone loved it. I’m making it for our 4th of July cake contest, plus our bake sale.

  2. 5 stars
    Stop what you are doing and bake this cake. The frosting alone was a hit. My batter was very thin/wet/loose and I did not expect the cake to turn out. I erred and over baked by a little but the cake was still a winner.