Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s the week of St. Patrick’s Day and you know what that means for me – chocolate paired with Guinness and frosting paired with Baileys Irish Cream! Before last year 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 squashed after making the utterly amazing Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, then I took it a notch further with Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. Both blew my socks off, so when I saw a chocolate stout cake on King Arthur Flour, I wasted absolutely no time in getting to the kitchen. Luckily, I had some bottles of Guinness leftover from my Gingerbread Cake, so I didn’t even have to hit the liquor store before starting. Bonus! While the original recipe called for a chocolate frosting, I thought it would be way more festive to get Baileys into the mix, and settled on a Baileys cream cheese frosting.

This cake? Top 3, all-time. No question.

My mom has belonged to the same card club for about 25 years now – the group got together when I was in elementary school and they were all stay-at-home moms who volunteered at the school. They began having monthly Friday night “card clubs” where they would get together, play cards, eat, and gossip. No husbands or kids allowed. Twenty-five years later, they still get together once a month and have started taking a yearly vacation together. They take turns hosting the monthly get-togethers; a few weeks ago, it was my mom’s turn and she asked if I would mind making her a dessert. I said I’d love to and, with this cake jumping to mind immediately, asked if the ladies would mind a spiked dessert. She assured me they would love it, so with the green light, I was off.

The cake came together really easily and while it was cooling, I got started on the frosting. I was in a baking zone and hadn’t really looked outside over the previous few hours. As a result, I didn’t notice that it was becoming eerily similar to the scene from The Wizard of Oz right before Dorothy’s house gets picked up and spun around by a tornado. Oblivious to the situation outside, I started in on my boozy frosting. I put the cream cheese, butter, and Baileys into the mixing bowl and mixed in approximately two spoonfuls of powdered sugar when, poof! Mixer stopped. Radio stopped. Lights went out. I waited a few minutes to see if the power was going to come back, but no such luck. As it turned out, the wind knocked a tree down over power lines down the street. I pulled the mixing bowl off the mixer, grabbed a wooden spoon, and went to town.

This frosting experience made me appreciate all of the things that our grandmothers made years before stand mixers graced most kitchen counters. It also made me appreciate my KitchenAid mixer more than ever before. I wanted to kiss it when the power came back! While I’m unsure if it was the recipe itself or the fact that it was mixed with a wooden spoon, the frosting was just a bit on the soft side. Still, it was stiff enough to frost the cake and do some piping. Plus, it was to-die-for delicious. I will make it a thousand times over.

The verdict from the card club ladies? My mom said they went absolutely crazy over it and couldn’t stop raving. Since they only polished off half of the cake, I got to dig into the leftovers. I have to say this is by far one of the two 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. I ate it for days, and I am already looking forward to making it again. And again. And again.

One year ago: Corned Beef Hash
Two years ago: Good Eats in NYC

Chocolate Stout Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


For the Cake:
1½ cups stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
1½ cups unsalted butter
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup butter, at room temperature
7 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
6 cups powdered sugar


1. 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, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and Baileys Irish Cream on medium speed until completely smooth and combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar on medium-low speed until it has all been added. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is smooth and thoroughly mixed. Use immediately. You can refrigerate the frosting, but it will need to be brought to room temperature before using. This yields enough frosting to fill the cake and frost the outside, and do some basic decorations.

*Note: If the finished frosting is a little soft for your liking, you can add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

(Cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour, Frosting recipe adapted from Epicurious)


132 Responses to “Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on March 14, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting is all I would need to never have to leave the house, ever again. I’d be content forever!


  2. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on March 14, 2012 at 1:29 am

    This looks awesome!

    I used to live in a very power outage prone apartment building, so I feel your pain with the mixer – that happened to me once several years ago. One time the power actually went out as I was mid-way through flat-ironing my hair, which might have been even more inconvenient!

    Pinning this recipe to save for St. Patrick’s Day next year!


  3. Phoebe on March 14, 2012 at 1:50 am

    This looks so good my dad would love it!


  4. Kathy - Panini Happy on March 14, 2012 at 2:11 am

    I’m sure the card club ladies will be eager to have you handle refreshments from now on – the cake sounds amazing! 🙂


  5. Kiri W. on March 14, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Ooooh, now doesn’t that look tempting? I’m loving all these Irish Cream recipes!


  6. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on March 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I wonder if there is any way to make this cake appear in my kitchen in time for breakfast…:-)


  7. Lori on March 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Michelle, You are amazing. I will have to try this cake. Do you have a good recipe for a chocolate mousse cake. The local bakery makes one that is incredibly rich but light at the same time. (You might be tempted for seconds) I would appreciate it if you keep your eyes open for a good recipe. You have the knack for hunting down the best of the best. I always comes to your blog first!


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Hi Lori, I haven’t nailed down chocolate mousse cake yet, but it’s definitely on my to-do list. If you have a link to the bakery site with a description of the cake you like, feel free to send it my way!


  8. Katrina on March 14, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Mmm what a fun cake! Love this idea!


  9. Priyanka on March 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Awesome great cake and stunning pics


  10. Erin @ Brownie Bites on March 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I’ve been seeing this combination everywhere! So yummy.


  11. Hannah on March 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

    This looks great. I have to ask, what is the other chocolate cake that ranks in the top two with this one?


  12. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables on March 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’m skeptical of putting beer in my baked goods too but you have so many great recipes using it that I think it has convinced me to give it a try 🙂


    • Miranda on March 15th, 2012 at 12:05 am

      i was skeptical too, especially using nasty guiness, BUT, O to the M to the G…it was amazing, no beer taste, gave the chocolate a little zip, and it’s now officially NUMERO UNO in my chocolate cake slot. TRY it, you will not be disappointed.


  13. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on March 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Your cake looks beautiful! I love the idea of Bailey’s Irish Cream in the frosting. I spectical of beer in my cake, but I trust ya. I’ll have to try this recipe!!


  14. Nicole G on March 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Is there anything that makes it much different from the car bomb cupcakes? The only thing I can tell is the baking soda versus powder and this cake has cream cheese frosting where the cupcakes did not. If this is the best, can it be modified for cupcakes? Thanks!


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Hi Nicole, Yes! This cake doesn’t include any whiskey. A traditional car bomb includes shots of Jameson whiskey and Baileys, dropped into a pint of Guinness. You could always make the whiskey ganache from the car bomb cupcakes and spread it onto the cake before the Baileys filling in the middle to make a car bomb cake if you’d like 🙂 If you want cupcakes, though, I would still make the original car bomb cupcake recipe.


  15. Angela @lesgetbaking on March 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Wow, I am loving this and the Irish car bomb recipe, good times! 🙂


  16. Holly on March 14, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Dang you, woman! I haven’t gotten the car bomb cupcakes made yet! And here you go tempting me again!


  17. Erin on March 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Top 3 cakes of all time!? I might need to rethink my plans for St Patty’s Day dessert.


  18. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on March 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I was waiting for you to say that you took the bowl and spoon and hid in a closet while continuing to mix lol. Sounds fantastic and I love that your mom and the other ladies are still friends after all these years!


  19. Lindsay {Life and Kitchen} on March 14, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This is definitely appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day! Looks great!


  20. Amber, RD on March 14, 2012 at 10:17 am

    That sounds amazing and looks beautiful! I have your cupcakes saved, but haven’t made them yet. You come up with the greatest stuff. Keep ’em coming! 🙂


  21. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids on March 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Wow! That cakes looks absolutely delicious and beautiful, too!


  22. momofnine on March 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    This sounds terrific and looks lovely. I can’t wait to try it!


  23. Nicole on March 14, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I’ve made this before and it’s just amazing. Not a huge Guinness fan but the mix of that with the Bailey’s is making me rethink my stance. Also it comes out SUPER moist!!


  24. Mal @ The Chic Geek on March 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

    So perfect for St Pattys Day! Yum!


  25. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on March 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Oh yum! This looks delicious. I might have to make this asap!


  26. Chelsea@Chelsea Is Dishing Up on March 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Come to mama! This cake is so perfect for St. Paddy’s day, it is very impressive looking and has all the right flavors! Can’t wait to try it.


  27. Rachelanne on March 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Could I make this into cupcakes? I know the frosting would work well, but is the ICB recipe better for the cupcakes or would this work as well? reading of your rave review on this cake I am curious!


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Hi Rachelanne, The cupcakes include the whiskey ganache, which this cake does not. However, if you want cupcakes, I would stick with the ICB recipe. I haven’t tested this cake for cupcakes, and I think the frosting recipe for the ICB cupcakes is better suited for cupcakes (sits up easily when piped). I hope that helps!


  28. Katie on March 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

    You never cease to amaze me! Looks delicious and its perfect for St. Patty’s Day! I seriously wish I didn’t live in Toronto and that we were friends. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


  29. Jenn on March 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I just drooled all over my keyboard!! Seriously. I now have a dilemma on my hands… ICB cupcakes or this cake for St. Patty’s day???? I was 100% sold on the cupcakes – until this beauty flashed across my screen this morning! I wish I was having a crowd so I would have an excuse to make both… I’ll figure SOMETHING out ;0) Thank you for your genius recipes and your posts that make me laugh out loud! My 4 year old stares at me from across her breakfast wondering why I am laughing at the computer and when I show her the page she says “Oh Mommy…. we HAVE to make that one!” She is probably one of your youngest fans :0)


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Jenn, That is so adorable! I’m glad your daughter enjoys the recipes 🙂


  30. Kristina on March 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Michelle I was wondering if the alcohol bakes out in the cake, I would love to make this for my grandmothers birthday. We have alot of kids in the family and I am sure they would try to sneak a bite.


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Kristina, The alcohol does probably bake out of the cake itself, but definitely not out of the frosting. You could sub a regular cream cheese frosting, or use a suggestion from a reader on the BEB Facebook page – there is a non-alcoholic coffee creamer that is flavored like Baileys. You could try that in the frosting too!


  31. Tracey on March 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    What a gorgeous cake Michelle! And so perfect for St Patty’s Day 🙂 I have been slacking on the St Patty’s day-appropriate food this year, but you’ve definitely inspired me to get going!


  32. Kacey on March 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Michelle

    A couple of things:
    1- I submitted your blog as my #1 favorite on Saveur Magazines “Vote for your favorite food blog” competition they have going on.

    2- I have a wonderful chocolate mousse recipe that turns out each time I make it, and I usually have to make twice as much simply because I eat most of it as I’m making it. Let me know if you would like it, and I’ll share it with you.

    Thanks for always making desserts and entree’s that I actually WANT to try and that actually turn out when made. 🙂


    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Kacey,

      Thank you so much for submitting my site as a favorite over at Saveur! I am flattered! I would love the chocolate mousse recipe – I never turn down a new recipe! 🙂 Thank you!


      • Kacey on March 15th, 2012 at 12:48 am

        Michelle, I will look through my baking portfolio after work tomorrow and get that posted for you. I will say this- stock up on some of your favorite dark chocolate pieces/chips/discs/peves, etc. This mousse changes each time you use a different brand of chocolate. My favorites so far are the semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate wafers by E. Guittard. 🙂 I also use gelatin in my mousse. I prefer it this way, it makes it hold its shape better, and I can use it in layered chocolate desserts. 🙂


        • Kacey on March 17th, 2012 at 11:28 pm

          As promised, here is my chocolate mousse recipe. I hope you like it. I usually end up sticking the opening of the piping bag right into my mouth and needing a bit of privacy. 🙂

          I use ounces and grams when I bake, so I hope that you have a scale.

          Chocolate Mousse- by KaceyCooks

          125 grams Whole milk
          125 grams heavy cream
          20 grams granulated sugar
          80 grams egg yolks
          23 grams granulated sugar
          6 grams gelatin (approx 3 sheets) (I have used sheets of gelatin, or about 3/4 of a single packet of powdered gelatin. I don’t have a preference)
          120 grams quality chocolate (I like Guittard bittersweet or semi sweet)
          300 grams heavy cream

          1- Soften gelatin in cold water
          2- Whip the LAST AMOUNT (300g) of heavy cream to a medium peak and reserve in the fridge
          3- In a sauce pan, bring the milk, the 1st amount of cream and the 1st amount of sugar to a scald
          4- When the milk mixture is hot, whisk together the yolks and the 2nd amount of sugar
          5- Temper the yolk mixture with the scalded milk
          6- Return to the sauce pan and using a spoon, slowly cook to 185 degrees F, or until it coats the back of a spoon. Careful not to go over 185 degrees or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs, which I’m sure you know. 😉
          7- Remove from the stove and add chocolate
          8- Add the softened gelatin and stir
          9- Using a whisk, mix until all the chocolate and gelatin are incorporated
          10- Cool in an ice back until the chocolate Creme Anglaise base starts to thicken
          11- Fold the reserved whipped cream into the cooled chocolate Creme Anglaise base and try not to eat it all. 🙂

          This mousse works great as layers in between rich chocolate cake with a ganache “frosting”, or just as a simple dessert garnished with chocolate shavings and raspberries, or as a fruit dip for strawberries, or like I mentioned above…for those moments when dignity doesn’t matter and you just want to be alone with pastry bag…or skip that and just grab a spoon. 🙂


          • Michelle on March 19th, 2012 at 9:23 pm

            Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try it!


            • Kacey on March 20th, 2012 at 12:27 am

              You are welcome- there is also a chocolate butter sponge cake recipe that can go with this mouse to make a 5 layer chocolate mousse cake covered in ganache. I could share that recipe too. 🙂 Just let me know.

  33. Ally on March 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I am quite convinced you could not have done a better job on this cake! Wow, it looks so dang good. Well done, as always!


  34. Tracy on March 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    This cake sounds amazing! With such rave reviews, I will certainly have to give it a try!


  35. Jessica on March 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I love st. patty’s day! thanks so much for posting all these wonderful holiday treats! trying the irish soda bread recipe tonight for work tomorrow, then a few others for a get together on st. pattys day night! thanks again!


  36. Brenda @ SweetSimpleStuff on March 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I just bought a new bottle of Bailey’s yesterday … this recipe makes me happy!


  37. colleen on March 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Sounds amazing! Stout and chocolate are always an awesome pair.


  38. Sally on March 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Oh, geez! This is positively killing me – it looks over the top delicious!


  39. Shumaila on March 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    oh my god! that looks incredibly delicious! I need this cake in me right now!


  40. Barbara | Creative Culinary on March 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I am not much of a beer drinker but I have long appreciated what it can do to elevate foods when used in cooking them. I recently was invited to a beer tasting at a local Irish pub and I’ve gained a new appreciation for Guinness in the glass and used it recently when preparing some shepherd’s pie too so know how it elevates the flavor profile of foods without making them taste like beer. I’ll bet this is divine! My favorite Irish dessert is a cake made with Irish Whiskey and coffee but you might have convinced me to try something new!


  41. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite on March 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I am all about these flavors this week! I made stout mini cakes with Irish cream frosting earlier in the week and I also think it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made! Yum!


  42. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I bet this is as amazing as it looks!


  43. Paula on March 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I love that you made this for your Mom’s group! My oldest sister has been getting together once a month with a group of her friends for 25 years now and I think it is wonderful how they all make the time and never miss a luncheon.
    This cake looks wonderful, it really does and while the frosting may have been a bit soft, I can only imagine how delicious it was. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I may just make some cupcakes with it 🙂


  44. Maria on March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I want a big fat slice of this cake:)


  45. kelly on March 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I think I just found what I am making for Saturday! The cake sounds wonderful.


  46. Mireia on March 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I will be baking this on st patricks, no doubt!


  47. spike on March 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Top 3! Wow. Sounds great


  48. Amanda on March 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Any chance you think this would be good with a sub of decaf espresso instead of baileys? Pregnancy won’t let me have the alcohol! 🙂


    • Michelle on March 15th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Amanda, I think that would work. Also, someone on the BEB Facebook page mentioned that they make a non-alcoholic Baileys-flavored coffee creamer that could be a good substitute!


  49. on March 15, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Michelle, I used almost exactly the same wording as you did when I posted my almost identical recipe (your ingredients are 50% more except for the sour cream) with regard to this cake being in the top 3 of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. I used a chocolate ganache to top mine–I’m saving the Bailey’s icing for your Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes! 🙂


  50. Jackie on March 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Can this be done in cupcakes?


    • Michelle on March 15th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Jackie, I have not tried it, but you could give it a go! This recipe would probably yield 18-24 cupcakes.


  51. Barbara Hall on March 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    This sounds except, I really don’t like cake. How about a brownie version?


    • Michelle on March 15th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Barbara, I actually have Guinness brownies on my list! Stay tuned!


  52. kristy lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty on March 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    This excites me for 2 reasons:

    A. I’ve been looking for an excuse to get myself some baileys. Apparently social alcoholism isn’t enough.

    B. I have a block of cream cheese in the fridge just begging to be eaten.


  53. dj on March 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Ok, baked the cake today in honor of my Irish heritage…and wow…. it is an amazingly rich and sinful cake. Put soooo proud of it, thank you for sharing!


  54. melissa on March 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    baking this right now so we can enjoy it tomorrow! looks so yummy!


  55. Erin on March 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Best. Frosting. Ever. I can not stop sneaking tastes of it!


  56. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal on March 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Like cupcakes I made but in cake form. Deliciousness. I already know how my cupcakes tasted so I’m sure this must have been just as good, if not better!


  57. Janelle on March 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I halved the recipe for cupcakes and the result was 18 delicious treats.
    Love your site, but in order to keep reading it – I will have to exercise A LOT more. 🙂


  58. Dora on March 18, 2012 at 2:08 am

    this cake recipe is quite delicious. i made it into cupcakes for easier sharing…as a whole cake, i would most likely not share. i did not use the bailey’s as i was too lazy to look for it and to make it more kid friendly. everyone loved them…even my facebook friends who only got to see them 🙂


  59. Jennifer on March 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I’m in complete agreeance with the best frosting ever comments… and the cake is quite delicious as well…


  60. heather on March 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    made this yesterday… and I was very worried about it being really stouty. But, it was perfect. It was moist and delicious. My husband who usually hates frosting was eating it by the spoonful. A fun new St Patty’s tradition.


  61. Windy on March 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I made this for my grandmother’s 80th birthday, only since she’s a chocoholic, I substituted Chocolate Bailey’s Buttercream for the icing (used Joy the Baker’s chocolate buttercream as a base and switched out the milk and vanilla with Bailey’s and added enough powdered sugar to compensate for the extra fluid). It was a big hit. I was a little worried when the batter was really liquidy, but it turned out marvelous.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!!


  62. Jean on March 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I sent this to my friend as soon as I saw it (she was going to make Bailey’s brownies for the weekly ladies group we’re in). She changed her mind and made this cake instead. We all sat at the table and savored every single bite. It was one of the most amazing cakes I have ever tasted. Fluffy, yet dense. 10 toes and fingers up to this one. Thank you for sharing!


  63. Cat on March 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Michelle, can you tell me how the results of this recipe are different (better? Moister? etc…) than the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes? After I made those, it would be hard to believe anything could taste better than those did. I think I commented, telling you that after close to 50 years of baking chocolate cakes, several years as a pastry chef, I thought I knew all there was to know about them. This sent that concept reeling, and turned it over on its ear! I do believe those were the best chocolate cake I ever tasted. Dare I think that this recipe is even better?? Because now it would take a lot to make me try another recipe for Guinness chocolate cake. If you could contrast the two, it would be really helpful. Also, everyone (myself included, who had to use restraint not to just get a soup spoon and go for it) went fruit-loops-nutzoid over the first Bailey’s frosting (the one with the cupcake recipe.) I notice this one uses cream cheese, which the cupcake one does not. Does it make a big difference to your palate? Which do you like better and why?


    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Cat, I like them both for different reasons, and find that they are a little different. The cupcakes are great, perfect for carrying a ganache filling, and the frosting is nice and high. This cake is fabulous – thick, moist and fluffy. The frosting is a little softer than the cupcake one. I would try it and see if you like it better/the same/worse, etc.


      • Cat on June 6th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

        Thanks for the advice, Michelle! I’m going to give it a whirl tomorrow for my daughter’s best friend who had the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes that I made for my baby’s wedding shower. She made me promise on the spot when she bit into one to make it as a cake for her birthday. What better excuse to give this one a try?! Although I’m wondering how any frosting could possibly exceed that butter/powdered sugar/Bailey’s ambrosia recipe on the cupcakes, it would be my guess that cream cheese could only make it even yummier. You evil temptress, you!!! I’ll post after the party this weekend.


        • Cat on June 10th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

          Well, I’m delighted to be able to say this cake is every bit as outstanding as the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes! The frosting was out of this world. However, the recipe made 2 very high, 9″ layers, plus 12 cupcakes!! After I filled the layer pans 2/3 full, I still had a lot of batter left over, so I set up a 12-cupcake pan with papers, and started to fill, planning to just take out any unused papers before baking. The leftover batter filled them all! Don’t know how I ended up making so much. The frosting was, as Michelle stated, just the right amount for filling and frosting the 2 layers, plus a little left over for borders. So I made a small recipe of chocolate butter frosting for the cupcakes. BTW, we all agreed that we liked the frosting for the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes just the teensiest bit better than the cream cheese one, but the difference was pretty insignificant. We’d all take either, in a pinch. Yum. Thank you for a fabulous recipe, Michelle!!


  64. Sri on March 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Hi there,

    I love every recipes you have and enjoy them. I tried to make this for a friend’s birthday last week. The cake somehow turned very dense, and not fluffy like your picture. What went wrong? Was the oven temp too high? (mine is not a fan forced) Or, not enough liquid? Should I change the flour to cake flour then?
    Helppp.. thanks very much for all the yumminess you have been sharing with us.



    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Sri, It’s hard to say what the problem could have been. I would not recommend changing the flour or adding liquid. This was actually one of the most moist cakes I’ve made. I would guess that you may have overmixed the batter, or baked it too long. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I would recommend picking one up (less than $10) to ensure your oven is registering the correct temperature.


      • Cat on March 31st, 2012 at 8:27 pm

        Michelle, can you please tell me what differences you notice in this recipe vs the Irish Car Bomb cupcake recipe, aside from one is for cupcakes and one for a whole cake? Did you notice any difference in texture/crumb/flavor? And which frosting do you like best, and why? Thank you.


    • Angie on April 4th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      My turned out dense as well. It was still moist. In fact it had almost a fudgy brownie consistency. I think I may have added the liquid ingredients too soon. It was still quite warm, but I was in a hurry to get it in the oven. I think maybe the heat of the beer/chocolate mixture caused the double acting baking powder to act too soon. The reason why they call it double acting is because the first chemical reaction happens when liquid is added and the second comes from the heat of the oven, but because the chocolate/beer mixture was still warm, it may have caused it to happen too soon, therefore nothing was left to leaven it during the baking process. But I could be completely wrong.


  65. Angie on April 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Michelle, It doesn’t say how deep the 9 inch cake pans should be, but it seems as though they need to be more than the typical 1 inch deep pans you buy at the grocery or Target. This batter fills them a good 3/4 of the way full.


  66. Cassie on April 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I’ve made this cake twice and both times the icing turned out very runny. The cake is absolutely delicious as is the icing, but I want to get the icing right. I used my kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment the first time and the whisk the second time. The result was the same both times. Any thoughts on what went wrong with my icing? Thanks!


  67. Erin on June 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Sorry to bother you — I’m a big fan of your recipes!
    I was just wondering which recipe you would recommend — this or the Hershey chocolate cake? I am making a layer cake for my Dad’s birthday with vanilla bean buttercream and am torn between the two cake recipes.

    Be well.



    • Michelle on June 25th, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Hi Erin, Sounds delicious! I think I’d go with the Hershey’s for a classic chocolate cake to go along with the vanilla buttercream.


  68. Sara on July 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    So I’m assuming you must keep this cake refrigerated at all times? Do you serve it cold or room temp? I was just wondering because I saw where the frosting needs to be room temp to frost. Thank you! Can’t wait to try it!- Sara


  69. Mary-Death on July 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I made this cake on the weekend for my brother (he is a lover of all things beer), and it was AMAZING!! Easily the best chocolate cake I have ever made. I made myself sick sneaking scoops of batter before the cakes went into the oven – I did the two layers, however found that they took longer to bake than the suggested 35 minutes. It was probably more like 50. The frosting was awesome as well, though I didn’t use as much icing sugar as the recipe said. All in all, a fantastic cake!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!


  70. Megan on July 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I made this cake last night and the icing was so runny I had to serve it away from the guests as it wasn’t presentable. I think it might need some tweaking. If in doubt go for the cupcakes.


  71. Li-Anne on July 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    How high do the cake tins need to be? I have a 9” pan that is roughly 3-4” high, and I was wondering if I could just pour all the batter in the one pan. Also, I was thinking of reducing some of the beer in the cake batter, what should I use to compensate for it? And same with the icing? I thought a mix of Baileys and salted caramel would be interesting, haha. Sorry for all the questions 😛


    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      The cake pans need to be at least 2 inches high. I do not think that all of the batter would fit in one cake pan; I would recommend using two.


  72. Li-Anne on July 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Oh, and is that green glitter on top or something else, and are those white chocolate shavings I see? 😀


    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Li-Anne, I topped the cake with green sparkling sugar and white chocolate shavings, yes 🙂


  73. Li-Anne on July 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

    How would you store this as a whole cake? In the fridge?


    • Michelle on July 30th, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Hi Li-Anne, If you are serving it the same day, I would leave it at room temperature. Refrigerating cake can cause it to get dry.


      • Li-Anne on July 30th, 2012 at 10:45 am

        So can I leave it at room temperature overnight?


        • Michelle on July 30th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

          Yes, I would not refrigerate it before serving; it will dry out. However, if your frosting is too soft you may want to keep it in the fridge until the next day and frost it before you serve it.


  74. Sam on September 12, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Just made this for a friends birthday, SO GOOD!! but instead of the frosting layer in the middle, I used the Jameson Ganache from the cupcake recipe.. Will definitely be making this again 🙂


  75. Annie on November 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Hi, so I was wondering if you ever tried baking a chocolate lava cake? Not the little one person serving size, but one of the big ones. It would be great if that was your next recipe! (:


    • Michelle on November 16th, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Hi Annie, I haven’t made a full-size one, but I will add that to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!


  76. Staci on December 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I love so many of your recipes & wanted to make this for my hubby’s Christmas work party. I just realized I’m out of parchment paper, will it be ok without it? I don’t want to ruin a cake for a group of firefighters! Lol


    • Michelle on December 19th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Staci, The parchment helps the cake not to stick to the pans. If you do a good job greasing (I always use shortening) and flouring the pans and you don’t normally have problems with cakes sticking, then I think you should be fine.


      • Staci on December 21st, 2012 at 10:29 am

        Thank you so much for your quick response Michelle! I made the cake last night & can understand the importance of the parchment paper but I was able to “glue” it together with the frosting! GREAT RECIPE!!!!!!


  77. George on February 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Hi Michelle-I will be making this cake today for company. It looks and sounds amazing! I was wondering about decreasing the amount of butter in cake- 3 sticks is alot of butter-? using 1 cup instead of 1-1/2. I would imagine it would still be quite rich. Any thoughts?


    • Michelle on February 19th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Hi George, I personally wouldn’t adjust the amount of butter. Butter does more than just add flavor or richness; the fat also contributes to the texture of the cake. You wouldn’t be able to reduce it by 1/3 and have the cake turn out the same way.


  78. Miriam on February 27, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Hi, it looks great and I would like to try and make it but in Spain I cannot find ‘sour cream’ in the supermarket. What would be the substitute for Sour Cream in this cake? Thanks, Miriam


    • Michelle on February 27th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Miriam, You can substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream.


  79. Cheryl Taylor on March 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I just found this while searching for something sweet to bring for a St Paddy’s Day party. It looks decadent and can’t wait ti try it. Thank you for posting it!


  80. Ashley on March 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Hi- Quick question: I am making this cake for a St. Patrick’s Day party but don’t have time to do it the day of. Is it ok to make the cake before hand, put it in tupperware over night and then do the frosting the next day? Didn’t want the cake to dry out over night.


    • Michelle on March 21st, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      You could definitely do that. As long as it’s an airtight container it shouldn’t dry out.


  81. Sarah on March 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Just made this, phenomenal!!! I did substitute yogurt for the sour cream, just because that’s what I had in my fridge, but it came out perfectly! Thank you!


  82. Isabella on March 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    this cake was a disaster. the recipe makes too much batter -mine overflowed in the oven and created quite a mess. the outer edges got quite done while the middle took awhile so Imturned the oven temp down a bit. the cake was was too moist getting it out of the pans and was almost like a thick pudding. On to to the icing which made way too much and was very runny. I added additional powdered sugar which helped some but not enough. There was so much icing that it broke off the edges of the cake. Absolute disaster!!!!!!!


  83. Shana on March 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Michelle
    Made this last night for St. Patty’s Day and it was a hit! Love your wonderful creativity with the ingredients and I’m excited to try with the ganache next time! I’m wondering, my cake came out very dense and not fluffy really at all. Do you think perhaps my baking powder needs to be replaced, was it over mixed or is it supposed to be on the dense side? Also, the frosting tasted amazing but was too soft to hold up the top layer without oozing out over the sides. How do I fix that? Fridge/more powdered sugar/less Bailey’s? Thanks for your help. This is my first exposure to your site and I’ll be coming back 😉


    • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Hi Shana, I’m so happy you enjoyed the cake! As for it being dense, if your baking powder is REALLY old, that might be, but more than likely it could have been due to some overmixing. As for the frosting, you could use more powdered sugar, as well as chilling it for a bit before using it to help it firm up some.


  84. Alanna on March 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Great cake and frosting! Added mint chocolate chips to the outside of the cake. Thanks for sharing!


  85. Mrs. D on March 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday (on St. Paddy’s Day) but it was a disaster.
    First, the cake came out very hard and dry. It was almost like a brick. As for the frosting, man, I wish I didn’t dump all 7 tablespoons of Baileys at once. The frosting was so runny so I added extra 1 and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Well it didn’t do the trick. I frosted a crumb coat on the cake and put it in the fridge and hoped it will set. Nope, it didn’t. The filling in the middle oozed out and it was a disaster.
    In the end, I added about 2 cups of powdered sugar on the remaining frosting and the consistency was better. And of course, when my husband cut the cake, there was no cream cheese filling at all; it all oozed out.
    The whole thing was a disaster.


    • alicia on March 20th, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Same here! The batter was extremely dense and the frosting turned out syrupy. Bummer but i feel your pain Mrs D


    • Dawn on March 30th, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      I actually like the frosting thin. However, I choose not to make a layer cake. Instead I made a sheet cake and left it in the pan and poured the frosting on top. Was it super pretty? Nope but it got RAVES in the taste category. I had more than one comment about loving how the frosting ran down the sides of the cake. I do not have a picky taste testing audience, just one that wants awesome flavor. And this cake was the best tasting I have ever made.


  86. E on June 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    This looks fantastic! For the poor college student with limited time and funds, would it be possible to adapt this to be made with a boxed cake mix? And if so, do you have any recommendations?


    • Michelle on June 13th, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Sure, you could do that.


  87. Elanna on November 5, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Hi, I’m baking this cake now and it’s been in the oven for 35 minutes but the middle is undercooked and I’m worried if I keep cooking it the sides will burn. Any ideas on how to fix it


  88. Sarah on March 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Michelle, I’ve made the king arthur version of this cake many times and it is the most amazing cake ever. It looks like you’ve scaled their version down by a quarter. If I plan to make the full recipe do you think there would be enough of your cream cheese frosting to cover it? Does the frosting for the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes make a larger batch than the cream cheese version? If it does I’ll just try that one or if you don’t think either will be enough then I’ll be forced to make the ganache filling to stretch out the frosting 🙂


    • Michelle on March 4th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Hi Sarah, I think you’ll have enough frosting if you use the full version; it mostly makes for a taller cake, so that shouldn’t make too much of a difference when frosting. This recipes makes a bit more frosting than the cupcake version.


      • Sarah on March 16th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

        Thanks Michelle! I made the full size cake tonight and had plenty of frosting for a generous filling and to frost the outer cake. The recipe makes tons. It was a little soft so I added some more powdered sugar. I could have added more, but I was afraid to make it too sugary. It’s going to be refrigerated overnight anyway so I’m sure it will set up fine. I sampled generously while frosting the cake, it is decadent 🙂


  89. Dixie on May 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Do you think putting the ganache from the car bomb cupcakes between the two layers and then the above frosting for the outside of the cake would work well together?


    • Michelle on May 12th, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Yes, that sounds wonderful!


  90. carolina on June 13, 2014 at 5:10 am

    thank you is so good i love your recipes i wont to make all you are wonderful!!!!! than you thank you thank you


  91. Ariel on December 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve made this cake once for a Christmas party for a bunch of firemen. They have begged for this cake for every station party since! I’m making it again today for their Christmas party tomorrow. Thanks for the best cake to make a bunch of firemen happy and full!


  92. Brianna on March 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    When I made the frosting for this cake it was waaaaaayyyyyyy too soft. I ended up making a batch of the bailey’s buttercream that goes with the carbomb cupcakes and mixing them together which made the frosting stiff enough to stay on the cake but I was wondering what you did to get this frosting to be stiff enough? I followed your recipe but obviously it didn’t work for me.


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