A rich chocolate cake infused with Guinness, paired with a Baileys dark chocolate ganache and a Baileys buttercream. This Baileys & Guinness Cake is the perfect grown-up treat.
I love a good, sweet cocktail, but you’ll never catch me with a glass of wine or a beer. My palette just prefers sweet drinks (surprised??) and I generally don’t like the taste of alcohol.
Guinness though — I think this might be the first time I’ve ever tried it. So what better way to try it than in cake form, right?? I actually took a sip of it after using what I needed in the cake… I think I’ll stick with the boozy desserts.
This Baileys & Guinness Cake is a long time coming. I actually planned to make it last year for St. Paddy’s Day but never got around to it and made a Mint Chocolate Chip Cake instead. Better late than never though, right??
How to Make a Guinness Cake
To make this Guinness Cake, I took my favourite Chocolate Cake recipe and simply swapped out the hot water for hot Guinness. The result worked perfectly.
I also swapped out some of the Dutch-process cocoa powder for black cocoa to intensify the deep, dark color of the cake — trying to emulate the actual color of Guinness. If you don’t have black cocoa though, Dutch-processed or regular cocoa powder will work fine.
Baileys Buttercream & Ganache
Most Guinness Cake recipes you’ll find online pair the cake with a Baileys cream cheese frosting. While that sounds like a perfectly delicious combo, I wanted to do something a little different, so I made a Baileys dark chocolate ganache and Baileys Swiss meringue to go with the cake.
If you don’t want to make both types of frosting, you can do either/or, but see my tips below if you decide to do only one or the other.
I like both in the cake both for a stunning color contrast and for flavour, but either one would be equally delicious on its own.
Something I should note is that this is actually my second version of this cake, because I tried and failed to do a pretty ombre frosting with the ganache and buttercream.
I started with the ganache at the bottom and it totally solidified on the cold cake, which made it impossible to blend in a pretty way. I tried to do something more rustic to compensate, but it just didn’t work, so I redid the whole thing.
Flavour wise, the cake is delicious! Even for someone who doesn’t like beer, I’m a huge fan of this cake. You can taste the beer, but it’s almost more of an after-taste (to me anyhow) and it goes so well with the Baileys frostings.
If you’re a Baileys/Guinness fan or looking for something fun and unique for St. Paddy’s day, this cake is for you!
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day Recipes??
- Coffee & Baileys Cake
- Baileys Cheesecake Cookie Cups
- Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
- Baileys Chocolate Cupcakes
- Coffee & Baileys Macarons
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 18-24 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temperature and rewhip before using.
- The ganache can be made a day or two in advance and kept at room temperature. Place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Do not refrigerate as it will get too firm.
- The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips for making this Baileys & Guinness Cake
- Use the best quality chocolate you can find for the ganache, it makes a huge difference! I use Callebaut.
- If you like, you can skip the buttercream and just use the Baileys ganache between all the layers. The recipe makes enough for the whole cake.
- If you’d like to use the Baileys buttercream instead of ganache, double the buttercream recipe.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
Baileys & Guinness Cake
Baileys Chocolate Ganache Frosting: (make in advance)
- 20 oz good quality dark chocolate chopped, not bakers chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
Chocolate Guinness Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder sifted
- 1/4 cup black cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup Guinness hot
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
Baileys Chocolate Ganache Frosting (make in advance):
- Place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, Baileys, and butter. Cook over med heat, stirring often until it just barely starts to simmer.
- Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Stir gently with a spatula until completely smooth. If needed, place over a double boiler and stir until all chocolate has melted.
- Place plastic wrap directly on top of chocolate ganache. Allow to thicken and set overnight.*
Chocolate Guinness Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F, grease three 6" round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.
- Place flour, sugars, cocoas, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.
- Place Guinness into a small saucepan and heat until just simmering.
- In a medium bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Temper this mixture with the heated Guinness -- pour hot Guinness into the bowl very slowly while whisking egg mixture quickly.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.
- Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. A total of 30-35mins.
- Cool 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.**
- Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot (160F) and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.
- Add Baileys and vanilla and whip until smooth.***
- Cut each layer of cake in half horizontally.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving dish. Top with about 1/2 cup buttercream, spread evenly. Repeat with remaining layers alternating buttercream with ganache. Frost and smooth the outside with a thin crumb coat. Chill for at least 20mins until firm and set.****
- Frost the chilled cake with the remaining ganache. It will start to set quicjkly against the cold cake.
- Using the remainder of the buttercream, do a rope border on the top using a Wilton 6B piping tip.
- Decorate bottom with chocolate flakes if desired.
** Ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won't stiffen.
*** The buttercream may look like it's curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
**** If the ganache is too thin or soft and the cake layers start to slide around a bit during assembly, you can place 3-4 bamboo skewers into the top of the cake as support. You'll need to trim the skewers to the proper height of the cake.
Originally published Mar 4, 2018