Guinness Stout Chocolate Layer Cake

Okay diehard-St. Patty’s Day-celebrating-people…this one is for you.  If you are Irish, drink Irish beer, wear green on a daily basis, have freckles and red hair, go to pubs or just plain love chocolate cake, this is the ULTIMATE dessert for you. 

Friends, I’d like you to meet….Guinness Stout Chocolate Layer Cake.  Isn’t she a beautiful lass?  I have to say this is the most unbelievable, unusual, complexity of rich flavors that I have ever come across in a dessert.  It’s really an unbelievable recipe and very, very IRISH. 

If you need to impress anyone from the land of rainbows and pots of gold, ummmm, whip this thing out.  You will forever be in their debt.  I promise you. 

If you want a visit from the little green people…your’s is the house they’ll stop at with this puppy sitting on your counter. 

No one will ever believe you made this.  You will be unfairly accused of buying it from the pub around the corner; if they could even concoct something this good. 

This is true Irish authenticity in the raw. 

Don’t you long to be considered authentic?  This could be your new nitch.

Now I must admit this recipe is a bit more involved than just a regular chocolate cake.  Not because it’s difficult, there’s just lots of tasks.  But I will break down the steps as much as I can, cutting out some pictures only because there would just be too many.  It will be hard since I want to document my life with every possible photo I possibly can, even if it’s just baking soda.  But I’ll try to control myself.

Now let’s get going! We have an icing, a drizzling syrup and a cake to make! It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day!  Let’s get our green on.

Here are the ingredients for the cake.  Interesting, huh?  Guinness Stout (yum), dried currants (a prized Irish ingredient), unsweetened cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate, buttermilk, sugar, all-purpose flour, butter (or budda’), eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, red currant jelly, walnuts. Wow, that’s a butt-load of stuff isn’t it?

Alright, don’t be afraid.  I know this is a strange ingredient to put into chocolate cake.  I was skeptical too but there is nothing more perfect for this recipe.  It is a prized ingredient of the Irish.  These are in the grocery store with the other dried fruits.  Very easy to find.  Right next to the raisins, right over there. No, there…that’s right.

You’ll need 2/3 cup of currants.  I know, I know, it looks like rabbit poops.  But try to move past that.  Also, I can hear you saying, “I don’t like raisins. so this is not for me.”  Let me just tell you, I am the biggest hater of raisins there is.  Currants and raisins are not similar in taste and these are 1/3 the size of those dried up grapes.  So calm down.

Again, are you’re asking yourself, “Is this a cake recipe?”  Oh yes, it is.  Now get the stout out!  Trust me, there is nothing more magical to frame the sweetness of this cake than the bitterness of Guinness.  In the final product all you taste is depth of flavor.  And it’s quite impressive.

Could my hand look any more wrinkled?

You will need 2/3 cup of Guinness.  Pour the stout right over the currants; soak them for about 15 minutes.  This is getting more interesting isn’t it?

After the drenching, pour the currants through a strainer, reserving the stout for later.

Now, you’ve been working hard.  Go ahead and give yourself a reward..but just a little one.  You still need more of this lovely beverage.  In Ireland they serve this at room temperature…ummm, yuck…I prefer it very, very cold.

In a saucepan, you are going to add the reserved stout as I have already done here.  Then add 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat.

Find your semisweet chocolate and add 2 ounces to the pan while it’s still hot, stirring until it’s melted.  Cool slightly.  Any brand of chocolate will do; this happens to be one of my favorites.

Now to the chocolate mixture add 3/4 cup of buttermilk.  Stir well.  It will be very chocolaty.  Set aside.

Now, to a small bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons flour.  Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with cocoa mixture.  Much better than plain old flour, eh?

Well folks, it’s that time again.  The time where I profess my undying love and devotion to the ONE thing that makes EVERYTHING worth eating.  “Budda’ everyone knows about us now.  I’ve kept you a secret for so long, but you and you alone are the reason I walk 5 miles a day.  It’s you Budda’ that I return home to everyday; I’m hopelessly devoted.”

Uhhhh!  You look so lonely in there.  I wish I could jump in and swirl around in your, um..uh…bowl?  You need 2/3 cup of softened butter, which is an annoying measurement for this ingredient.  So I cut 1/3 cup out of 2 sticks.  Much easier that way and suits my lazy lifestyle.

Beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

After the butter beating (tee-he) gradually add 1-3/4 cups sugar to the butter until well blended or until your bored; whatever comes first.

Now, when I opened the egg carton, the eggs were mocking me. Badly.  Look at the tongue and the fang-showing here.  Complete disrespect.  I had to show them who was boss…

Yeah, if you were made out of a thin shell, would you have behaved that way? 

Add 4 eggs, one at a time to the mixer.

Vanilla is next; 1-1/2 teaspoons, until it’s well combined with the mixer.

In a separate bowl combine 2 cups of flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Mix well.

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the chocolate mixture we made earlier.

Cool, huh?  Mix until both mixtures are completely blended.

Remember the currants soaked in stout?  Add them in and stir.

Divide batter between pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 40 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes and invert onto a wire rack.

Now another reason this cake is so special is because a Drizzling Syrup is made to pour on top of the baked cakes, making them extremely moist.  You can make this syrup before you make the cakes or while they are in the oven.  Your call.

These are the ingredients for the Drizzling Syrup;  Guinness Stout, dark brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and vanilla.  Easy schmeezy.

You are going to add 1/3 cup of Guinness Stout, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a heavy saucepan, whisking until smooth.  Heat on medium heat until the syrup is smooth.

Now for the fun…poke the tops of cake layers with a skewer or toothpick.  Go ahead, take out your aggressions.

Now spoon the Drizzling Syrup over the tops.  Good god, this is good.

Now get the red currant jelly out.  Now, I had never had red currant jelly before but let me tell you…I will never buy strawberry jelly again.  This stuff is fabulous.

Add 1/2 cup red currant jelly to a saucepan and warm up until the jelly is smooth and spreadable. 

Then move one layer of the cake to a platter and spread the top with the warmed jelly.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Now let’s make the Bittersweet Icing.  You can make this icing before you even start the cake since it needs to chill down before applying it.

Here are the ingredients; Heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate, powdered sugar, sweetened cocoa, vanilla and salt.

Get your bittersweet chocolate.  Do not use semisweet, that would just be wrong.  Try to use the best chocolate you can for this part.

Chop 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into pieces.

Add 1-12 cups of heavy cream to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Place chocolate pieces into a bowl and pour boiling cream over it.  Whisk until chocolate melts and is thoroughly combined.  Cover and chill in the fridge.  The chilling can take about 4-6 hours.

After the chilling, the frosting will be very hard (cuz it’s high in fat).  I melted mine a bit by setting the bowl in some hot water in the sink; it worked perfectly.

You will now add 4-1/2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, 4-1/2 Tablespoons sweetened cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the previously cooled cream-chocolate mixture.  With a hand-held mixer whip all the ingredients together into a creamy, spreadable consistency.

Cover the jelly layer with about a quarter of the Bittersweet Icing.  Place the second layer of the cake on top.

And Ice, Ice, Baby…

Grab the walnuts…

Chop them up…and press into the sides of the cake. 1 cup of walnuts is all you need; unless you use big chunks like me.  Then you might need more.

You will not believe this cake, I promise.  It is amazing.  And it’s giant.  This photo does not do it justice.

Can you see the jelly-chocolate icing layer in the middle?  I know the ingredients might seem strange but they work together like a lock and key, like a hand in a glove like a…well I won;t go there. 

I will not just be serving this on St. Patty’s Day, this is the perfect cake for any celebration!

Also, the cake should be kept refrigerated since the icing is cream based.

If you try this, let me know how it turns out.  But make sure you send me a piece.  You know, for an evaluation.

Guinness Stout Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from Relishmag

Drizzling Syrup
1/3 cup Guinness Stout
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened  cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cake
2/3 cup Guinness Stout (measured after foam has subsided)
2/3 currants
1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1-3/4 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons, sugar
2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking Spray
2/3 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red currant jelly, warmed
1 cup chopped walnuts

To prepare syrup, combine all ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan, whisking until smooth.  Heat over medium heat, until sugar dissolves and syrup is smooth.

To prepare cake, pour stout over currants; soak until plump, about 15 minutes.

Drain currants, reserving stout.  Add stout to a small saucepan.  Whisk in 1/3 cup cocoa and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat; add semisweet chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts.  Cool slightly.  Stir in buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons flour.  Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with cocoa mixture.

Beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in 1-3/4 cups sugar until well blended.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in vanilla.

Combine 2 cups flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture, stirring until blended.  Stir in currants.

Divide batter between pans.  Bake 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; invert onto rack.

Poke tops of cake layers with a skewer or toothpick.  Spoon Drizzling Syrup over tops.  Place one layer on a platter.  Spread warmed jelly over layer on the platter.  Chill 30 minutes.  Cover jelly with about a quarter of the Bittersweet Icing.  Place second layer on top.

Ice top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing.  Press nuts into sides of cake.

Bittersweet Icing

1-1/2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4-1/2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
4-1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring cream to a boil.  Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling cream over it, and whisk until chocolate melts and is thoroughly combined.  Cover and chill, 4-6 hours.

After chilling, the chocolate mixture will be hard.  Put bowl in some hot water to help start the loosening process.  When it is softened, sift in powdered sugar, sweetened cocoa, vanilla and salt.  With a hand-mixer, whip until combined and icing is spreadable.

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16 Comments

  1. Lord have mercy. I am really getting on a plane now.

  2. Man, oh man, that looks de-lish! Why don’t you make another one and send it my way?

  3. I had to wait until my lungs started working again and I could catch my breath. Oh baby!

    Do you suppose a different stout would work? I like guiness, but I have another stout I like better…

  4. Mother of God that looks yummy. It times like this that inability to bake makes me sad. That, and when my kids run screaming from whatever “delicious” treat I’ve pulled from the oven.

  5. Like who, like whoa, like whoa. I want it. Irish Soda bread, which I never liked anyway, can burn in hell now that I have seen this Irish cake.

  6. Kevin 6

    That cake looks great and sounds amazing!! I really like the idea os using guinness in a chocolate cake!

  7. eliza 7

    yummy!! love c.h.o.c.o.l.a.t.e!!

  8. I love the illustrations… and the chocolate.

  9. Dianne 9

    That looks amazing! I also love Dagoba chocoalte!

  10. Elle 10

    Dear God, that’s a beautiful cake. Just looking at the chocolatey goodness is making me want to run to the store and buy everything to make this.

    It looks fabulous!

  11. wow wow wow!
    Great write up. Love the writing on the eggs and butter.
    Im not sure if I am dedicated enough to make this, but at least I know how.

  12. Dave 12

    This looks delicious; can’t wait to try it out. By the way, I’m from Ireland myself and over here we definitely drink our Guinness cold!

  13. Ha! love the silly faces.
    And your hard work on the blog is definitely paying off. Your photos look more professional this year-can’t wait to see what you do next year!

  14. That’s great, I never thought about I Interrupt These Easter Recipes to Bring You Something From The Emerald Isle…Part 2 of a 2 Part Episode like that before.

  15. Jessica 15

    Oh I just LOVE this recipe! The cost of ingredients really adds up at the checkout line (especially if you’re out of stuff like sugar, flour, etc., as I always am), and it’s definitely got a LOT of steps, but I’ve made it twice in the past year and it’s been totally worth it: once for Valentine’s Day (my boyfriend is a fiery red-head with Irish roots and a love for beer – ESPECIALLY Guinness) and again for his birthday ;) Not that there’s not enough going on here, but I imagine it’d be great with some Bailey’s ice cream, or you can do as I did and serve little shots of Guinness to sip as you eat – the guests loved the idea of drinking beer with cake – who’d’a thunk it?! And the bittersweet icing is to-die-for…seriously what else can I slather that icing on?!

  16. ya really is a good time to Phillie’s Pre Post-Season Party!!i have read this article its so much interesting i have read this recipe so yummy… i m very crazy about all these types of recipes so try it and enjoy it so i want to also try to make it so thanks to giving me this such of yummy recipe.