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”

Comment Pages 1 2
  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.


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