Bake up something delicious this St. Patrick’s Day! Chocolate Guinness cake has a fudgy flavor and fluffy texture. It’s complemented by a rich cream cheese frosting spiked with Bailey’s Irish cream.

three layer chocolate guinness cake slice being pulled away from cake with baileys frosting and chocolate shavings.

When St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, I love incorporating Bailey’s Irish cream into my baking (have you tried my Bailey’s chocolate cookies?) It makes the perfect flavor for any icing or frosting! This year I’m taking my Guinness cupcake recipe and making it into a Guinness chocolate cake with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting. Believe me when I say it’s as good as it looks!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Unique flavor. The Guinness adds a subtle malty taste that complements chocolate well without being overpowering. The Irish cream adds the perfect sweetness to the cream cheese frosting!
  • Fluffy and moist. The carbonation from the beer creates a fluffy texture while the sour cream guarantees moisture in the cake.
  • Festive dessert. With Irish beer and Irish cream in the recipe, this cake is obviously made for St. Patrick’s Day!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make chocolate guinness cake with bailey's cream cheese frosting.
  • Guinness: Either Guinness Extra Stout or Draught may be used. You can also use your favorite stout beer!
  • Cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is preferred (not non-alkalized). I like the Ghirardelli brand.
  • Chocolate chips: The chocolate chips will be melted so make sure they are good quality semisweet or bittersweet.
  • Sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream that is room temperature. This creates a moist texture. Plain yogurt is a good substitution.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter is used in the cake batter as well as the frosting. It’s best to use unsalted because different salted butters have various amounts of salt added.
  • Cream cheese: For the frosting, block-style cream cheese is preferred. It is denser and has less air than the kind in a tub.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar is used to sweeten the frosting.
  • Bailey’s: Irish cream adds another layer of flavor for the frosting!

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Use a different size pan. This recipe also works for two 8-inch round cake pans. Baking time will be closer to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a 12-cup bundt pan. Baking time will be 45 to 60 minutes.

Try a different frosting. Not a fan of cream cheese? Omit it and make buttercream instead. Increase butter to 1 cup. If you don’t like Bailey’s, omit it from the recipe and replace with milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Add a whiskey ganache. For a little more Irish flavor, make the chocolate whiskey ganache from my Guinness cupcake recipe. Add it as a drip garnish on the outside of the cake, or use it between the layers.

How to Make Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

photo collage demonstrating how to make chocolate guinness cake in a mixing bowl and small saucepan to melt chocolate with guinness.
  1. Make the chocolate mixture. Simmer beer and butter until melted. Add cocoa powder and chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk sour cream and eggs until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
photo collage demonstrating how to make bailey's cream cheese frosting and assemble three layer guinness cake.
  1. Divide batter among three 6-inch round pans. Bake at 350 F for 24 to 28 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  2. Make the frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix until combined. Mix in Bailey’s until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Level cakes if they domed during baking.
  4. Spread frosting on top of one cake, then top with another cake. Repeat, then frost the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat). Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. Apply final layer of frosting. Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve.

Expert Tips

Choose good quality ingredients. Full-fat sour cream and cream cheese are the best for a rich flavor. Good quality chocolate and cocoa also make a big difference in how the cake will taste!

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. If the cake is warm at all the frosting will melt and the layers may slip.

Use room temperature ingredients. They are easier to mix and make a more consistent batter and frosting. As a result, the cake will have a better texture!

Use a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients. Baking is about accuracy and a scale is the most reliable method. If you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (do the same for the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar). Also, let the foam subside when measuring the beer.

plate with chocolate guinness cake with bailey's cream cheese frosting topping with chocolate shavings for garnish.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead the frosting and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature and stir well before using. You can make the cake layers a day in advance before assembling. After they have cooled, wrap in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out overnight.

Store Guinness cake loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Freeze the whole cake or slices for up to 3 months. Flash freeze for an hour so the frosting is firm, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and serving. You can also freeze the unassembled cake and frosting for up to 3 months.

Recipe FAQ

Can you make a nonalcoholic Guinness cake?

Yes, Guinness makes a nonalcoholic stout, which is an excellent substitution. Another option is to use freshly brewed coffee that is cooled to room temperature.

Why did my cake sink in the middle?

Most likely the batter was over-mixed and too much air was incorporated into the mixture. Remember to mix the wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Also, don’t open the oven door until the end of baking time. The sudden temperature change can also cause the cake to collapse.

Can kids have Guinness cake?

The alcohol is cooked out of the cake, which makes it okay for children to eat. However, the frosting contains Bailey’s Irish cream, which is relatively low in alcohol. I suggest substituting with milk or using a nonalcoholic Baileys alternative.

plate with slice of triple layer chocolate guinness cake with baileys frosting.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

three layer chocolate guinness cake slice being pulled away from cake with baileys frosting and chocolate shavings.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

This St. Patrick's Day bake a chocolate Guinness cake! Its sweet, malty flavor is complemented by a rich Bailey's cream cheese frosting.
5 (10 ratings)



  • 1 cup (240 ml) Guinness Extra Stout, or similar stout beer
  • 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (48 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (85 g) semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • cup (160 g) full-fat sour cream or plain yogurt, room temperature


  • 1 cup (225 g or 8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish



  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease and flour three 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a pot or large saucepan, simmer the beer and butter on medium until butter is completely melted. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips and stir until your mixture is smooth. Take off heat and set aside to cool.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sour cream together until smooth. Slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  • Divide batter into prepared cake pans and spread into even layers. Tap pans gently on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake at 350℉ for 24 to 28 minutes. Remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined. Add Bailey’s and a pinch of salt, then mix until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. If the frosting is too thick, add more Bailey’s one Tablespoon at a time. If it’s too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.


  • Level the cakes with a serrated knife if necessary. Place one cake on a plate. Top with frosting and spread into an even layer. Repeat and then top with the third cake.
  • Make a crumb coat by spreading a very thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes or until frosting is firm.
  • Remove cake from the refrigerator and apply the final layer of frosting. Garnish with chocolate shavings or chocolate ganache.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 622kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 410mg, Potassium: 195mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 49g, Vitamin A: 1086IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 2mg

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