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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

A rich, chocolate cake made with Guinness and brown butter, and topped with the creamiest, most delicious cream cheese + brown butter Guinness frosting. Perfect for any celebration - especially St. Patrick's Day! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Keyword Guinness Recipes, St. Patrick's Day Recipes, St. Patrick's Day Dessert, Guinness Cake, Guinness Desserts
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cake Cooling 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 450kcal
Author Stephanie Simmons


For the Cake

  • 1 and 1/2 cups Guinness or similar dark stout beer
  • 15 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cane or granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 eggs SEE NOTE
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp full fat greek yogurt can sub sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour can sub AP
  • 3 and 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder

For the Frosting

  • 2 sticks + 4 tbsp butter 20 tbsp
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened SEE NOTE
  • 5 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp Guinness


  • Prep: Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans well. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make the Cake: Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. Once melted, turn heat down to medium and cook, stirring, until the butter browns. It will first bubble up, then get foamy, and then it will turn golden brown. The foam hides the color change sometimes, so make sure to stir it around well, pushing the foam out of the way, to make sure you don't overcook it. Make sure to stir well, scraping up any little brown bits from the bottom of the pot. As soon as it's golden (see photo above) remove from the heat, add Guinness, and whisk to combine. 
    Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and cocoa powder, and whisk until well combined. Add the eggs, greek yogurt, and vanilla, and whisk until well combined. (See note below about how to do 1/2 an egg.)
    Add the flour, baking soda, and espresso powder and whisk until well combined. The batter will be semi-thick, but thinner than brownie batter. It will have a sort of frothy, airy consistency, too, from the beer. 
  • Bake: Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs on it (not wet batter). 
    Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge and invert onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting. 
  • Make the Frosting: Sit out the cream cheese so it can soften at room temp. 
    Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium once melted, and cook, stirring, until butter begins to brown. It will bubble up, then get foamy, then it will start to turn golden brown. 
    Pour into a clean bowl and set in the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes. 
    Meanwhile, add the softened cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer until creamy. Add the slightly cooled butter and mix until it sort of smoothes out - it'll look lumpy and odd but trust! (See photos above). 
    Sift in the powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time, and mix well between each addition. Add the Guinness and vanilla and mix. 
  • Assemble: Frost your cooled cakes - use strips of wax paper to keep your cake plate clean. Drop a large blob of frosting in the center of the cake, and use a butter knife or offset spatula to work the frosting outward. Repeat for second layer. I left the sides naked on this cake so you can go heavy on the amount of frosting between layers and on top!
  • Serve + Store: If the cake has been out at room temp for a bit, you might want to chill it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before serving, so it holds its shape when you cut into it. 
    To store cake, stick some toothpicks in the top and in the sides to keep the plastic wrap from sticking, then cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Leftovers keep well for up to 6 days in the fridge. 
  • Make Ahead Tips: Frosting can be made 1-2 days ahead. Cover tightly and store in the fridge. Let it come to room temp a bit before frosting - or whip it back up with your mixer to get it to a spreadable consistency if you're in a rush. 
    Cake layers can be made 1-2 days ahead. Let cool completely, then place each layer on a plate, stick 2 toothpicks in the top of each layer, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The top of the cake is so moist, so the toothpicks will help keep the plastic wrap from sticking and tearing the top of the cake. Store at room temp overnight, or in the fridge for 2 days. 


NOTE: Make sure to buy the blocks of cream cheese - full fat. 
NOTE: To measure half an egg, crack the egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork. Pour out two tablespoons worth - that's the amount you'll add! (If you try to scoop the two tbsp out with the measuring spoon it doesn't work as well because those stringy goopy pieces will pull liquid from the measuring spoon. I like to do this in my glass measuring cup and use the little spout to pour it into the tablespoon. Don't do this over the mixing bowl - if you spill it'll end up in your batter!)


Calories: 450kcal