Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

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Chocolate and Guinness come together for the ultimate Guinness Chocolate Cake. With a tender crumb, chocolate-packed flavor in every bite, and a Baileys-spiked buttercream, one slice will just not be enough! Make this chocolate stout cake for the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert.

A slice of Guinness Chocolate cake on a white plate with a slice of chocolate stout cake in the back.

This is by far one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made. The chocolate flavor is deep and rich, the cake is moist, and the frosting is a perfect complement.

So What is A Guinness Chocolate Cake?

Technically classified as a butter cake, this chocolate stout cake is typically made around St. Patrick’s Day – mostly because of the use of an Irish beer. The Guinness adds a depth of flavor with notes of cocoa and coffee to the chocolate cake making it absolutely irresistible. Guinness Chocolate Cake started making a splash in the early 2000’s and has been a St. Patrick’s Day tradition ever since.

If you are unsure about adding beer into your baking, I have been there. I was every kind of skeptical about throwing beer into my chocolate baked goods, and this is coming from someone who will choose a beer over a mixed drink any day of the week. My skepticism was obliterated when I made my Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, both of which use beer. Have faith!

A full guinness chocolate cake on a silver stand with a glass of baileys in front.

How to Make Guinness Chocolate Cake

Let’s break this recipe down into two parts: the cake baking and the frosting making. I suggest tackling the cake first so it will have plenty of time to cool before you frost it.

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Guinness Stout – If you can’t find Guinness you can try a different dry Irish Stout such as O’Hara’s or Murphy’s.
  • Butter – Unsalted at room-temperature.
  • Cocoa Powder – I use a Dutch-process cocoa powder, if you do not have this in your pantry yet, take a minute to order it (also, Costco carries the Rodelle brand of Dutch-process cocoa powder). It produces such an intense, rich chocolate flavor and a deeper, darker color than unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Dry Ingredients – Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt – the basics.
  • Eggs – Binds all of the ingredients together in a perfectly spongy cake.
  • Sour Cream – Adds just a little tang and keeps the cake ultra-moist!

Ingredients for Guinness chocolate cake in bowls on a counter with labels saying what each ingredient is what.

The Chocolate Stout Cake

This cake? Top 3, all-time. No question. To make this moist, Guinness chocolate cake you will need to:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the Cake Pans: Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans, and line them with parchment circles.
  • Heat the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
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Three side by side pictures of the melted chocolate, the first shows butter melting in a pot, the second shows cocoa powder in the pot, and the third shows the melted mixture in the pan.

  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Beat together eggs and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix together at a slow speed. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

Three side by side pictures, first the wet ingredients in a bowl, the second picture with the mixed wet ingredients, and the third the chocolate batter in a bowl.

  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cake out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

Two side by side pictures of the Guinness chocolate cake in cake pans.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

My favorite frosting for this chocolate stout cake is without a doubt this Bailey’s-spiked frosting. The ingredients you will need are:

  • Unsalted Butter – At room temperature for easy whipping.
  • Powdered Sugar – Sifted so you have a smooth and sweet frosting.
  • Baileys Irish Cream – Spikes the frosting and adds an extra milky, chocolaty flavor. If you don’t have Baileys on hand you can also make your own Baileys with this Homemade Irish Cream recipe.
  • Salt – Just a pinch to help balance out the sweetness in the frosting.

Ingredients for the Irish cream frosting in bowls.

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Now that you have your ingredients, let’s get to making the frosting!

  • Beat butter on medium-high in a mixing bowl until super light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar, then Baileys Irish Cream and salt until combined.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Note about consistency: If the frosting feels too stiff to spread, beat in 1 tablespoon of cream at a time. If it feels too soft, beat in extra powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Icing for Guinness chocolate cake.

How to Decorate and Serve Guinness Chocolate Cake

I love to serve this chocolate stout cake with the included Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting but if you are looking for something not spiked you can try one of these delicious frostings below!

Once you have your frosting there are plenty of ways to frost the Guinness chocolate cake:

  • For a simple design: Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter or cake stand and spread 1½ cups of the frosting over the top in an even layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting upside-down, then frost the top and sides of the cake and decorate as desired. 
  • Pipe a Shell Rim: Using a Star French Tip, pipe a shell border around the top edge of the cake and the bottom of the cake. Here is a great tutorial on How to Pipe a Shell.
  • Spiral: Do a “spiral” design on the top of the cake, as shown below.
  • Garnish Tops or Sides: Press festive sprinkles around the sides of the cake or sprinkle on top.
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A chocolate guinness cake on a cake stand with a slice taken out behind a glass of baileys.

Storing, Freezing, and Make-Ahead Tips

  • Storing: Keep this deeply chocolate-y cake stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator for 4 days.
  • Freezing Directions: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and placed into a freezer zip-top resealable bag, and frozen for up to 3 months before thawing in the refrigerator overnight and proceeding with the frosting. You can wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Make-Ahead: For the best taste, you can make the cake up to 2 days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place.  Or freeze the layers and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frost before serving.

A slice of guinness chocolate cake on a plate with a fork in front of a full cake on a silver stand.

Notes About Baking with Beer

Guinness and other stout beers act as a leavening agent in cakes. It also inhibits the formation of gluten giving the cake a tender, delicate crumb.

Guinness does contain alcohol and contrary to popular belief, the baking process does not entirely evaporate the alcohol.

If you do not consume alcohol or do not want to use beer in this recipe, swap the beer for coffee; you will still get the rich chocolate taste. If you do not want to use coffee either, substitute water.

Other Irish Recipes to Try

A slice of Guinness chocolate cake with a bite out on a white plate with a spoon in front.

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Chocolate paired with Guinness and frosting paired with Baileys Irish Cream, what more could you want?!?! This Guinness Chocolate Cake is tender, moist, and a chocolate-lovers dream come true.

If you make this utterly delicious Guinness Chocolate Cake and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

Ultra-moist with a tender crumb, this Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Frosting is a chocolate-lovers dream!

  1. Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles.

  2. Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

  5. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake the layers for 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

  6. Make the Frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until super light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar, then the Baileys Irish cream and salt until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting feels too stiff to spread, beat in 1 tablespoon of cream at a time; if it feels too soft, beat in extra powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.

  7. Assemble the Cake: Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter or cake stand and spread 1½ cups of the frosting over the top in an even layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting upside-down, then frost the top and sides of the cake and decorate as desired. 

  • Equipment: Two 9-inch round cake pans 
  • Guinness: To eliminate the alcohol, replace the Guinness with coffee. If you can’t use coffee either, then use water.
  • Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder: If you do not have any, it can be purchased on Amazon or at your local Costco (they sell Rodelle’s brand).
  • Sour Cream: You can substitute plain Greek yogurt or buttermilk for the sour cream.
  • Baileys Irish Cream: To eliminate alcohol in the frosting, you can substitute heavy cream. You can also use any of these frostings instead:  Cream Cheese Frosting / Vanilla Buttercream Frosting / The Best Chocolate Frosting
  • Storing: Keep this cake stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator for 4 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and placed into a freezer zip-top resealable bag, and frozen for up to 3 months before thawing in the refrigerator overnight and proceeding with the frosting. You can wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Make-Ahead: For the best taste, you can make the cake up to 2 days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place.  Or freeze the layers and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frost before serving.
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Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!



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