When I first saw this cake, I thought that it looked exactly the way a St. Patrick’s Day dessert should. Its colors and textures are reminiscent of a freshly poured Guinness stout on nitro – chocolatey, malty beer topped with smooth, creamy foam. But the appearance of the Guinness chocolate cake with Baileys cream cheese frosting is nothing compared to the experience of eating it.
I have quite a bit of experience eating Savor the Best cakes. As Dahn’s daughter-in-law, I have spent years proudly volunteering my time as a cake sampler. During the weeks leading up to my wedding with her son, I ate three whole lemon-lavender raspberry cheesecakes, all in the name of deciding which recipe was best.
Some people would have just taken one slice of each and put the rest in the freezer, but I take my cake sampling seriously. Or maybe I just couldn’t resist eating each cake every day until they were all gone. Now that’s what I call a wedding diet!
So, of course, I was happy to sample this cake. My first thought when I bit into it was, “This is good, but like, really good.” What followed next was the realization that something this good couldn’t stay at my house. Resisting an incredible cake is just not something I do. In the interest of protecting myself from myself, I took the rest of the cake to work.
Like Dahn, I am a nurse. Not everyone knows this, but nurses are some of the world’s hungriest people. Slap a half a cake on the table in a nurses’ break room at 11 am and it will vanish within the hour, no questions asked. So, it was not surprising that the cake got eaten. What was unusual was that throughout the rest of the 12-hour shift I had staff members seek me out left and right to tell me how much they loved it.
During a busy day, which is every day on my floor, I might go most of the shift without seeing some of my colleagues. Today was different. I spent the afternoon fielding questions about how I made a cake that was so moist and yet not too dense, and what kind of frosting is so tart, buttery, and sweet all at the same time? Even though I confessed that I had nothing to do with the creation of such a masterpiece, I was still the most popular person at work that day. Yes, this recipe is that good.
This cake is everything that a Guinness and Baileys cake should be, and also everything that I’ve always wished it would be. I have bitten into stout-inspired cakes before and thought, “Sure, it tastes like there’s beer in there,” when really I mostly tasted chocolate. This recipe’s Guinness reduction method sets it apart from the others, creating a profoundly malty and complex flavor. The perfect cake is then topped with frosting that tastes like Baileys cheesecake.
The Guinness chocolate cake with Baileys cream cheese frosting lives in that ideal world where nobody can decide which is their favorite – the cake, or the frosting. Both work together harmoniously to create a dessert that will make an adult think “Guinness and Baileys,” yet lacks any bitterness that would offend a younger palate. It is a dessert for everyone – not too sweet for the adults, not too boozy for the kids.
When I asked my husband Josh what he thought of this Irish drink-inspired cake, he very aptly said: “It quenches your thirst – for a good cake!”
(Written by Sara Levy, the best daughter-in-law on the planet!)
Now that Sara has convinced you that this cake is the best Guinness chocolate cake with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting you will ever find, here are the tips to success. Don’t skip the secret tip for bringing out all the malty, Guinness goodness in the Guinness stout.
How to make a Guinness chocolate cake.
This Guinness chocolate cake is fast and easy to whip up. We used a whole bottle of Guinness stout in the cake but the secret to the intense flavor is reducing the Guinness stout down to 1 cup. Aside from reducing the Guinness stout, this cake can be made in one bowl.
Here are the steps to creating this incredible cake.
1.Preheat the oven.
Start things off by pre-heating the oven and preparing the cake pans. We sprayed two 9-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray then lined the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
You don’t have to use the parchment paper but it really does make a difference. Parchment paper takes all the worries away. You know you will get the cakes out of the pans perfectly intact if you use parchment paper. If you don’t use it then I recommend greasing the pans and dusting them with flour.
2. Reduce the Guinness Stout.
The secret to creating such a rich malty stout flavor is in reducing the Guinness stout. Pour the entire bottle of Guinness stout into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. It will take between 8 to 10 minutes to reduce the bottle of Guinness down to 1 cup. If you simmer it for too long and have less than a cup then just top it back off with some water.
Once you have the Guinness reduced to a cup, stir the cocoa powder into the hot Guinness. By adding the cocoa powder to the hot Guinness, the cocoa solids that are in the chocolate will melt and all the chocolatey-flavor-filled-molecules will burst out. It’s a flavor explosion! This is is how we made our intense chocolate cake.
3. Beat the rest of the ingredients together.
While the Guinness/chocolate mixture is cooling, add all the other ingredients to a mixing bowl and blend them together. It’s really that easy. Just toss the ingredients in and start mixing. You don’t have to fuss around with creaming butter and sugar or alternating the dry and wet ingredient like many cake recipes.
After you partially blend in the mixture, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the Guinness/chocolate mixture. Beat the ingredients together for a minute, stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then beat it again.
4. Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake.
First, make sure the oven is at the right temperature. If you did not pre-heat the oven then set the cake pans aside and let the oven get up to temperature. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and stick them in the oven. Make sure they are in the center of the oven so they bake evenly. It takes between 30 to 35 minutes to bake the cakes. Every oven is a bit different so the best way to know if they are finished baking is to do a toothpick test.
Most recipes will tell you that a toothpick should come out perfectly clean but this cake is so moist and fudgy that you might see a few crumbs on the toothpick. As a matter of fact, if you don’t see a few crumbs on the toothpick you may have overbaked the cakes.
If the toothpick has wet batter on it, the cakes need to bake longer. If you see a few crumbs on an otherwise dry toothpick, it’s time to remove the cakes. Don’t fret if you end up over-baking a little and the toothpick comes out clean. This cake is moist enough to handle a little extra bake time.
How to make Bailey’s cream cheese frosting.
This Baileys cream cheese frosting only has five ingredients.
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Corn starch
- Bailey’s Irish Cream
- Heavy cream
Make sure the cream cheese is soft. If you use cold, firm cream cheese it will be lumpy. Don’t buy the spreadable whipped cream cheese that is already soft. You need the old fashioned block cream cheese. Let it sit out on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes and it should be softened enough for this recipe.
Beat the cream cheese with a mixer to get it smooth then add the powdered sugar, cornstarch and Bailey’s. Once you add the powdered sugar and cornstarch, turn the mixer on LOW to get it stirred in slowly. If you crank the mixer up to high right away then powdered sugar will explode all over the kitchen.
Once you blend the powdered sugar enough to get it moist you can crank the mixer up higher and beat the mixture until it is nice and smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peaks. You will have better results if you use heavy cream instead of whipping cream. Heavy cream has between 36% to 40% milkfat whereas whipping cream has 30% to 35% milkfat. The higher milkfat in heavy cream will create a more stable frosting.
If you use cream with 40% fat then the frosting will hold 4 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream and still be stable enough to pipe. When I tested this recipe with whipping cream (30% fat) the frosting only held 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s. Beyond 3 tablespoons makes the frosting too loose and a bit messy.
When the cream reaches stiff peaks, fold it into the cream cheese mixture with a wide spatula. Now try not to eat all the frosting before you spread it on the cake. 🙂
This is NOT a sponsored post. I used ingredients that I love and I am linking to them so that you know what I used in this recipe.
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- 1 (12 ounces) bottle of Guinness stout
- 1 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar (400g)
- 1 ¾ cup (210g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream (225 grams)
- 1/2 cup oil (100 grams)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
BAILEYS CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups (372 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
- 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper, grease and flour the sides. (The parchment paper will make the cake come out much easier).
- Pour the Guinness stout into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until it has reduced to 1 cup. Reducing the Guinness will give the cake a richer, more intense flavor,
- Remove the Guinness stout from the heat and whisk the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a whisk, blend and sift the ingredients together.
- Add the sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and the cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds until the dry ingredients are moist. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and beat for another minute.
- Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes should come out clean or with just a few crumbs).
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cake. Invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper. (At this point if you re-invert the cakes onto another rack and let them cool with their tops up, they will retain more height and the tops of the cakes will not stick to the cooling rack.)
Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting:
- To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese until soft then add the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and Baileys Irish Cream. Beat until creamy and smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Use a wide spatula to fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Assemble the cake:
- Put a dab of frosting on a cake plate and place a cake layer on top of the plate. Spread or pipe half of the frosting on top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Spread or pipe the rest of the frosting on top of the cake.
- Store the cake in the fridge.
- Here is a tip to make it easier to frost the cake: Partially freeze the cake layers for approximately 20 minutes before frosting. After keeping it in the freezer for a short time, the partially frozen cake will be firmer and easier to frost.
- Try to find heavy cream for the frosting. Heavy cream has more butterfat than whipping cream and will make a more stable frosting. When I used cream with 40% butterfat I was able to put 4 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream into the frosting. When I trialed this recipe with 30% butterfat whipping cream, the frosting only held 3 tablespoons of Bailey's. More than that and the frosting was a bit too "loose" but still delicious.
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Amount Per ServingCalories 711 Total Fat 37g Saturated Fat 16g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 16g Cholesterol 109mg Sodium 578mg Carbohydrates 86g Fiber 2g Sugar 65g Protein 8g