Chocolate Guinness Caramel Cake

Woah--seems like lots of you enjoy your St. Paddy's Day dinners.  I received many requests for the other Sunday Dinner recipes.  I had not intended to blog about them this week, but I just couldn't say no.  I was going to save this recipe to share next year.  Why? I have many recipes other than Sunday Dinner ones that I want to share; breakfast, lunch, kid-friendly food, snacks, staples, and everyday sweets.  I suppose I will get to them all in due time.  Today, I give the people what they want.

I created this cake years ago for my husband, lover of all things chocolate, caramel, cream cheese, and beer.  Over time it has found its way to the table in many incarnations; double decker, completely frosted, and a version with alternate layers of frosting and caramel.  They all worked in their own way, but I always come back to this version; a simple, one layer chocolate cake filled with caramel and topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting.  I just love the way it looks, too--a simple chocolate cake oozing with caramel (not too much), topped by waves of caramel cream cheese frosting--it makes me want to dive right in.  It is sticky, gooey, and creamy all in one bite.

To create this cake, I make a basic chocolate snack cake, but use Guinness in lieu of the liquid.  I slice it in half and fill it with a homemade salted caramel.  Then I whip up a fool-proof cream cheese frosting that I flavor with a bit of the caramel to create a pillow of goodness on the top.  You will find yourself with more frosting than you need (I use only 1/2-2/3 of the recipe), but I think you can figure out what to do with the rest--frosting shots anyone??

*I received many requests for the Parslied Potatoes as well.  If you are interested, stay tuned--with some small Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh flat leaf parsley on hand. 

Printable Recipe

Chocolate Guinness Caramel Cake
serves 8

For the cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil, or other flavorless oil
1 cup Guinness Stout 

For the caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the frosting
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup reserved caramel
1/2 pound of confectioners' sugar, about 1 1/2-2 cups

Preheat the oven to 375ยบ F.  Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick baking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and soda.  Whisk in the salt, sugar, and espresso powder.  In another bowl, stir together the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and beer.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Bake until the sides have pulled away from the pan and the top springs back when gently pressed, about 35-40 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes.  Invert the cake, remove the parchment paper, and place it top side up on a rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Increase the heat to high, cover and boil for 2 minutes.  Uncover and gently swirl the saucepan until the mixture is a deep golden brown.  Use a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any crystallization on the edges of the pan.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly add the cream and butter.  Return the pan to a low heat and gently stir until smooth.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt; stir to combine.  Transfer the caramel to a bowl and set aside.  Allow the caramel to cool to room temperature before using, stirring occasionally.  Do not refrigerate or the mixture will become too hard. (Reserve 1/4 cup of the caramel for the frosting.) 

For the frosting 
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the marshmallow fluff and reserved 1/4 cup of caramel and blend on low.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the confectioners' sugar and beat just until blended.

To assemble
Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally.  Place the bottom half on a serving platter.  Pour the remaining room temperature caramel over the cake half.  Using an off-set spatula, spread the caramel evenly over the cake in one direction leaving a 1/4-inch border. (Do not use a back and forth motion.  That will cause the caramel to pull up the tender cake crumbs.)  Place the top half of the cake on top of the caramel.  Spoon dollops of the frosting on the cake and spread evenly with an off-set spatula.  Using the back of a spoon, gently press into the frosting and lift to create swirls.  Allow the frosting to set and serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!

If making the cake the day before, refrigerate loosely covered.  Bring to room temperature, about 1-2 hours before serving.  

Source: Cake adapted from my grandmother's friend, Caramel adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997, Frosting--The Galley Gourmet


  1. OMG I am drooooling over this! I am not a huge Guinness fan, but I do love it in baked goods.

  2. It just keeps getting better and better...your posts are killing me this week!

  3. Melissa-
    So pleased you are enjoying the posts. It has been a fun week for me:)

  4. This looks great!! and the Irish rarely frost the entire cake.

  5. Wozers- this looks fabulous! I'm going to need to try this baby out asap!!

  6. Chocolate, caramel, cream cheese, and beer? I seriously couldn't imagine anything more amazing!

  7. Mmm, this look sticky gooey and yummy!

  8. Oh yum, yum, yum! You had me just at the picture.

  9. this cake looks delicious and your photography is really fantastic!!

  10. I thought this cake looked gorgeous and so I made it today and it was just fabulous - so moist & delicious with the caramel - a total winner. Thanks so much! I may have impressed my mother-in-law for the first time in 10 years!!!


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