Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake

This luxurious Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake has layers of moist Guinness chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and Baileys buttercream frosting. The cake is light, moist and the flavors are to die for!

Looking for more chocolate cake recipes? Try this chocolate layer cake or, if you want a single serving dessert, try this chocolate mug cake.

A Slice of Guinness Layer Cake with Baileys Frosting on a Plate

Homemade Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake

Whether you are a lover of Guinness or not, you will love this cake! While I really don’t love drinking Guinness, I LOVE the flavor it gives to baked goods. It doesn’t actually make things taste super strongly of Guinness – but it does really enhance the chocolate flavor, kind of like adding coffee to chocolate. Even though you might not be able to identify the Guinness right away, you’ll immediately know there’s something special about this cake.

And there’s always the option to add more Guinness if you’re a big fan of the flavor. You can definitely brush additional Guinness onto each layer of cake as you build the cake. I did try experimenting with cooking down some Guinness to make it more concentrated, but that didn’t really change the flavor.

Either way, this decadent chocolate layer cake will rock your world. The Baileys buttercream with it is just perfect! I love Baileys, and it goes really well with the flavor of this cake.

A Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake Decorated with Guinness Bottle Caps

What Makes this Chocolate Cake So Good?

This is so much more than your average chocolate cake. Not only are there three layers of chocolatey goodness, but the flavor goes beyond what chocolate can do its own, thanks to the the Guinness.

Guinness beer intensifies the chocolatiness of the cake and the ganache, while Baileys Irish Cream flavors the frosting. It’s all layered together and finished off with more frosting. The combination is heavenly! And not to mention, perfect for St Patty’s Day.

A Slice of Layer Cake on a Plate in Front of the Rest of the Cake on a Cake Stand

Recipe Ingredients

Besides the beer and the Irish cream, this cake uses a tried-and-true combination of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for each component:

For the Guinness Chocolate Cake Layers

  • All-Purpose Flour: For structure.
  • Sugar: To keep the cake moist and delicious.
  • Cocoa Powder: Use natural, unsweetened cocoa powder for the best flavor.
  • Baking Soda: You’ll need 2 teaspoons.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors in the cake.
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vegetable Oil: For the most moist cake.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Guinness: You’ll need 1 cup, plus another 1/4 cup.

For the Guinness Ganache

  • Chocolate Chips: I used semi-sweet.
  • Guinness: The ganache uses about 4 tablespoons.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: To get that luscious ganache consistency.

For the Baileys Buttercream Frosting

  • Butter: Unsalted.
  • Powdered Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar gives the frosting its volume and consistency.
  • Baileys Irish Cream: Half a cup.
  • Salt: To taste.

A Guinness Cake with a Chocolate Ganache Drip Design on a Cake Stand

How to Make Guinness Chocolate Cake

Between the cake, the frosting and the ganache, this dessert is all-around easy, even though there are a lot of steps. Let’s get baking!

Make the Chocolate Cakes

  1. Prep for Baking: Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add Wet Ingredients: Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add Guinness: Add one cup of Guinness and mix until well combined.
  5. Bake: Divide the batter evenly between 3 cake pans and bake for 33-37 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Let Cool: Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

  1. Beat Butter: Once the cakes have cooled, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add Half of Powdered Sugar & Baileys: Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth. Then, add about half of the Baileys and beat until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add Remaining Sugar & Baileys: Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth. Add additional Baileys until it reaches the right flavor and consistency. Add salt to taste.

Make the Ganache

  1. Prep Chocolate Chips: Add the chocolate chips to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Heat Guinness & Heavy Cream: Heat the Guinness and heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil.
  3. Pour Over Chocolate: Pour the heated Guinness mixture over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Level Cake Layers: Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  2. Assemble First Layer: Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Brush the cake with 2 tablespoons of Guinness, if desired. Spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer, then pipe a dam around the outer edge, on top of the frosting. Fill the dam with 5-6 tablespoons of chocolate ganache and spread evenly on top of the frosting.
  3. Finish Layering: Add the second layer of cake on top and brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Guinness, if desired. Add another layer of frosting and chocolate ganache, then top the cake with the final layer of cake.
  4. Frost: Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Feel free to use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake.
  5. Decorate: Use the remaining chocolate ganache to drizzle around the outside of the cake. Pipe swirls of frosting around the outer edge of the cake to finish it off.

A Piece of Guinness Cake on a Gray Plate with a Fork

Tips for the Best Guinness Chocolate Cake

It’s easy to make this layer cake, but if you have any questions, I’ve got you covered! Here are my best tips.

  • Add More Guinness: If you want to amplify the Guinness flavor in this cake, brush some Guinness right onto the cake when you’re layering everything together. Totally optional, but for the Guinness lovers out there, it’s a great way to bring out that flavor!
  • Let Cake Cool Completely: Be sure to let your cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake. Once they’re cooled, use a serrated knife to cut off the domes for easy stacking.
  • Need Help Making the Ganache? If you haven’t made chocolate ganache before, be sure to check out my tips and tricks!
  • How to Make the Chocolate Drip Design: If you’re wondering how to make the dripping ganache design on your cake, I have a whole post explaining how to make a chocolate drip cake. It will help you perfect the technique!

Serving Suggestions

If you want to serve up a little something extra with this cake, go ahead! I like to add the following.

  • Top with Whipped Cream: A dollop of my homemade whipped cream is always a great dessert addition!
  • Serve with Ice Cream: Cake and ice cream are a classic combo! This chocolatey cake goes great with vanilla ice cream.
  • Pair with a Glass of Milk: Whenever I’m eating a dessert as decadent and chocolatey as this one, I like to serve it with a cold glass of milk.

A Metal Cake Stand Holding a Decorated Guinness Chocolate Cake

How to Store this Cake

This cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that, refrigerate it, but serve it at room temperature. It should be eaten within 4-5 days.

Can I Freeze Extras?

Sure you can – this cake is freezer-friendly! First, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil. You can freeze this cake for up to a month. Be sure to thaw it in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

Print
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A Piece of Guinness Cake on a Gray Plate with a Fork
Recipe

Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 16
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A chocolatey Guinness cake and ganache are layered together and covered with Baileys buttercream frosting in this luxurious Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake! The cake is super moist and fluffy and the flavors are to die for!


Ingredients

For the Guinness Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) Guinness, divided

For the Guinness Chocolate Ganache

  • 9 oz (1 1/2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp (60ml) Guinness
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) heavy whipping cream

For the Baileys Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) unsalted butter
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Baileys Irish Cream
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
  2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add one cup of Guinness and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cakes pans and bake for 33-37 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  7. To make the chocolate ganache, add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl (see my tips on making chocolate ganache).
  8. Heat the Guinness and heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
  9. When the cakes have cooled, make the buttercream frosting. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  10. Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
  11. Add about half of the Baileys and beat until well combined and smooth.
  12. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
  13. Add additional Baileys until it reaches the right flavor and consistency. Add salt to taste.
  14. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  15. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Brush the cake with 2 tablespoons of Guinness.
  16. Spread about 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer, then pipe a dam around the outer edge, on top of the frosting.
  17. Fill the dam with 5-6 tablespoons of chocolate ganache and spread evenly on top of the frosting.
  18. Add the second layer of cake on top and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Guinness.
  19. Add another layer of frosting and chocolate ganache, then top the cake with the final layer of cake.
  20. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Feel free to use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake.
  21. Use the remaining chocolate ganache to drizzle around the outside of the cake. Feel free to use my tutorial for how to make a chocolate drip cake. Pipe swirls of frosting around the outer edge of the cake to finish it off.
  22. Store cake in an airtight container. It’s best if eaten within 4-5 days.

Keywords: guinness cake, chocolate layer cake, three layer cake, chocolate ganache, baileys cake, buttercream frosting recipe, beer cake, beer birthday cake

A Collage of Two Images of Guinness Cake Showing the Full Cake and a Single Slice

More Chocolate Cakes to Try

Obsessed with chocolate cake? Try these yummy recipes next!

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Recipe rating

7 Comments
  1. Miranda

    Hi there!! Did you use black cocoa or just normal cocoa? The cake looks really dark like black cocoa or maybe the beer turns it that color? Thanks in advance

  2. Charleen

    Good Morning Lindsay from sunny South Africa.
    In S.A. our cups are 250ml, so when following American recipes, I am obsessive about measuring correctly.
    I see the Milk is “1 cup (240ml)” yet,
    the Guiness is “1¼ cups (240ml)” – is this absolutely correct or should it be 300ml?
    Looking forward to your answer as I cannot wait to try this recipe – a subscriber

    1. Lindsay

      Hello to you in South Africa! That’s where my husband is from – such a beautiful place! Thanks for pointing out the issue. I’ve fixed it. You are correct about the 300ml. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for subscribing!

  3. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay,
    Can I make this cake with cake and pastry flour? If so, do I use the same weight measurement?
    Thank you,
    Brenda

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12