Irish Chocolate Cake

This surprising cake is made with Guinness and cocoa powder for a moist, rich flavour that contrasts with the icing and wafer-thin chocolate curls.


  • 150g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g Cocoa Powder, plus 1 tbsp for dusting
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 200ml Guinness
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 175g Butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 200g White Chocolate Curls


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Butter and dust a 20cm  springform tin with the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a medium bowl.
  4. In a second, larger bowl, cream the remaining butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Alternately mix in spoonfuls of egg and the flour mixture until all the eggs and flour have been added.
  6. Gradually mix in the Guinness until smooth then pour the cake mixture into the lined tin.
  7. Smooth the surface and bake for 50–60 minutes until well risen, the top has slightly cracked and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then loosen the edge, turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the lining paper.
  9. Using a hand-held electric whisk, and in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites and icing sugar for about 5 minutes until very thick and glossy.
  10. Take the bowl off the heat and whisk for a few more minutes until cool.
  11. Gradually whisk in the butter, little by little (don't try to hurry this stage), until all the butter has been added and the frosting is smooth and glossy.
  12. Mix in the vanilla essence. If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill for 30 minutes.
  13. Cut the cake into three layers horizontally then sandwich back together with half of the frosting.
  14. Spoon a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to stick the crumbs in lace, then spread the remainder over the cake.
  15. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate with the chocolate curls.
  16. Store in a cool place until ready to serve.


If the icing begins to split when you add the butter, add 1 tablespoon of hot water and whisk well before adding any extra butter.

This recipe is from Chocolate Success published by Simon & Schuster printed in 2011.