A whale of a time

With St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I was looking for an Irish inspired recipe to share. I finally settled on making and sharing Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake. I haven’t altered Nigella’s recipe at all in the details below.

I was lucky enough to visit the home of Guinness a few years ago, located at St James’s Gate in Dublin. The Guinness Storehouse is like an amusement park for big kids, where you can learn all about the history and production of arguably Ireland’s most famous drink, with a pint of the black stuff included. Guinness is made from roasted unmalted barley, and it is this roasting that I think gives the stout a coffee aroma and flavour.


The only alterations I made to Nigella’s recipe as I was cooking was that I used salted butter instead of unsalted, raw sugar instead of caster, added a little vanilla to the icing and my cake actually took about an hour and twenty minutes to cook through. It may sound like an alarming amount of sugar, but given that the Guinness and cocoa are both bitter, the flavours do balance out. The recipe is from Nigella’s book “Feast”, which is a cookbook I refer to regularly. Feast explores the food we use to celebrate different events, including Christian Christmas and Easter, Jewish Passover and Islamic Eid celebrations amoungst the chapters.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

* This recipe is from the chapter “Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame” from “Feast” by Nigella Lawson.


For the Cake

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 142ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the Icing

  • 300g cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 125ml double or whipping cream


  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180°C, add butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  • Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery beery pan and finally whisk in the four and bicarb.

Guinness Chocolate Cake mixture

  • Pour the cake batter into the greased and 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.
  • When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  • 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 the famous pint.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

What is your favourite Irish recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?


Leave a comment

Filed under Baking, Book Review, Cake, Cheese, Chocolate, Recipes, Sweet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s