a cake for a drinking holiday

St. Patrick’s Day; always a great excuse to drink ridiculous amounts of beer, wear green and maybe participate in one of the fun runs or parades that seem to go hand in hand with the holiday. 

The speed at which I used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day involved joining my friends at one of the many Irish bars in Portland. Paddy’s, Kells, Horse Brass, it really didn’t matter as long as there was beer and friends. These days I’m more apt to bake a cake and call it a day.

This dessert is great any day of the year, but because a main ingredient is Guinness Stout, you can claim it as a special St. Patrick’s Day cake. I like this recipe because you can mix the batter by hand, and it’s easy to whip up and bring to that last minute St. Patrick’s Day party to which you were just invited.


My kitchen notes

Since I’m a citizen of Oregon, the land of craft beer, I cheated and substituted Black Butte Porter for Guinness. Any porter or stout will work.

If you want to up the ante and go festive, consider adding a bit of green food coloring to the cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Guinness Cake 

Butter for pan

1 cup Guinness stout

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups superfine sugar

¾ cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

For the frosting

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

2.  In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

3.  In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add to Guinness and butter mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth.

4.  Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, about 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

5.  For the frosting: Using a hand mixer, blend confectioners’ and cream cheese until smooth. Add heavy cream, and vanilla and mix until smooth and spreadable.

6. Once cake is cool, remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.


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