Belated Unofficial Chocolate Guinness Birthday Cake

guinness cake.JPG

The 8th of May was my unofficial birthday. To cut a long and rather depressing story short, I don’t like to make a big fuss over my real birthday. A few years back Tiana decided in which case we needed to celebrate my birth on some other day. This day (and the reason why did make sense at the time I promise you) was the 8th of May.

Recently, I’ve not really celebrated my unofficial birthday either. I’m never one for a fuss, and I hate surprises, so people don’t tend to give me surprises. This does backfire somewhat when it comes to parties, but ah well. This year, the day itself passed with very little note indeed, but I came home on Friday evening to discover a large cake sitting on my shelf in the fridge – Moose had got baking. She said it was because she felt bad not to have done something for my unofficial birthday, but I reckon she just wanted to bake and was using that as an excuse.

Not that this is a bad thing. Cake is, after all, cake, and this is a particularly good cake!

As quite a lot of Nigella’s cake recipes are, it’s unusual, but works really really well:

Chocolate Guinness Cake

For the cake:

  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g cocoa
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 142 ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs – from happy hens (that is free range). This doesn’t affect the taste, but it will affect your karma
  • t tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 275 g plain flour – that is flour without rising agent added
  • 2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

  • 300 g Philadelphia cream cheese – Moose used generic and it didn’t set very well. Have to assume that real Philly works better
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 125 ml double or whipping cream


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180oc, butter and line a 23 cm springform tin
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter gradually, and heat until the butter has melted. At which time, whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
  3. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the bicarb and flour.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the greased, lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack as it is quite a damp cake.
  5. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar, then beat together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of a pint.

– A few tips that the book won’t tell you:
This needs longer to cook than less – if it looks wibbly in the middle when you take it out of the oven, it probably isn’t done yet. We’ve not worked out the optimum cooking time, but rest assured we will keep trying!
The middle will probably sink, and it will ooze a bit of Guinness, but keep it in the fridge, and it tastes amazing!
Probably not suitable for the young or teetotal.

I’d hate to think what the calorie count of just a slice of this is, but who cares, right? It’s cake, and cake isn’t meant to be good for you. Enjoy 😉

11 thoughts on “Belated Unofficial Chocolate Guinness Birthday Cake

  1. Pingback: Bright Meadow » Uh, ok. Back to reality

  2. And I can also confirm it lasts a bloody long time! There’s still about a third left – and it’s still fresh.

    goooooooood cake.

    Bless Nigella Lawson. I can’t stand the woman, but she does have good cake recipes.

  3. Yep, Nigella rubs me the wrong way, too. Not even sure why…

    … but if the cake is still fresh… that’s a little disconcerning to me! lol
    Nah, cakes or ok (in my opinion) for ’bout a week tops.

  4. Ok, so I just had a bit and it isn’t quite as fresh as it could be, but still good 😀

    To be truthful though, I am starting to reach that “ugh. Not more cake” stage. (Yes, that stage does exist). It was/is a big cake, and there’s only two of us! Both on (sort of) healthy eating kicks!

  5. Whoops, that last line of mine shoulda read “cakes ARE ok…”

    I’m all too aware that a “no more cake” stage exists. Being out at a party or something and having a peice, fine… but having a ginormous cake hanging around in your fridge for a week is like, “ugh, I should throuw it out, but I just can’t…” type of thing! lol

  6. It’s my birthday on Monday and today, by some magical coincidence, I found a recipe for Guinness and Chocolate Birthday cake lying around. I was hoping to find some opinions of anyone who’d actually tried making such a… well, vile sounding cake. It looks damn good in the picture, and you have described it as “really, really good”. So I’m putting my trust in you, stranger as you may be, that this cake will be a delicious addition to my 18th birthday spread. Cheers.

  7. Hi there. I just wanted to say a big thank you for your recipe for the Chocolate Guinness Cake. I’ve passed it on to quite a few of my friends and they’re all making it now. I thought I’d be slightly different and make mini versions of the cake, and using the same quantities in your recipe, I managed to make 18 individual muffin sized cakes. I’ve made two batches in the past week and given them to friends to taste, and they all say how delicious they taste. I made a couple of changes to your recipe – instead of the sour cream, I used creme fraiche, and instead of the Philadlephia cream cheese, I used 250g of Italian Mascarponi – this version of the creamy topping on the cakes sets if you leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Once again, thank you so much for posting your recipe on this website.

  8. Your welcome Chris. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the recipe so much. I’ll have to try that trick with the mascarponi and creme fraiche – sounds tasty!

    Welcome also to Bright Meadow and the comments 🙂

  9. I’ve done this one loads of times and it’s always a winner! A great way to make new friends and as you say, who cares about the calories!!!! yum

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