Guinness is a type of dark stout that is common in Europe and other areas of the world.
It was popularized in Ireland, where it is still brewed today, as well as in Caribbean communities, both native and immigrants in England.
It is widely acknowledged that the best Guinness is in Ireland itself, as the product has many variables that can affect the quality, namely, that it doesn’t travel well.
The drink is loved for its dark and rich flavor, which also has sweet and creamy notes.
Beer and other fermented beverages such as Guinness have been used in baking and cooking for a long time, so you can imagine it was a pleasant surprise once someone tried baking with Guinness.
Guinness can actually really amplify other common flavors in baking with its dark flavor as well as how it operates within a batter itself.
Chocolate is a common ingredient used in these recipes as the Guiness makes the cake really moist and adds that extra dark element that really brings out chocolate.
Yet, there are many different variations of Guinness cake that can use different ingredients, experiment more widely in Irish alcoholic beverages, while also experimenting with some baking recipes themselves.
Who knows what you may learn about baking from these recipes, but we can guarantee that you will enjoy using the Guinness in the recipe.
Keep reading to learn more.
This is arguably the main recipe here, and one that gained a huge amount of popularity when it originally came out, from the British cooking and baking Queen herself, Nigella Lawson.
The recipe has over 4300 full star reviews on NYT’s cooking page.
The recipe outlines the basics of what any of the other recipes will follow. The combination of Guinness and sour cream creates something very moist with ease.
Part of the draw of Guiness cake in general is that the drink can really make cakes moist, like sour cream, with little effort on your half, while also reaping all the benefits of the flavor.
The cream cheese icing on top has just the right bite you want in a dessert like this, a creamy but cleansing icing that is ideal to compliment the dark and rich cake.
This is a recipe that uses a few baking tricks and ingredients to make the humble cake into a show stopping dessert, ideal for the center of any table during any occasion, but best in winter!
One thing this cake uses is Baileys, another Irish treat.
In the US you may have heard of this called Irish Cream or something similar, but is essentially an alcoholic liqueur that is quite cream heavy.
In Europe it is usually drunk around Christmas, and most commonly by old ladies. However, this can be the ideal ingredient to use in the icing of a Guinness cake.
The sweet and light cream cuts through the darker elements of the cake perfectly, and the shot of alcohol really works a treat in terms of cutting through the richness, while still keeping a boozy and sweet taste in the cream.
The recipe as offers the opportunity to make ganache frosting around the side of the cake, which can really take this into the fancier territory for a fancy occasion.
This is another recipe that includes some variations for different occasions. One particular variation in this recipe, while being very similar to the others, is the icing.
This recipe uses Baileys cream in the icing too, however the recipe creator has chosen to take amore American twist on the Irish frosting.
The recipe suggests using two tins to create a layered cake and too use the Irish buttercream in between the layers themselves, this creates that classic American frosting look that many will recognize.
This then creates a whole host of other opportunities to decorate the cake as you see fit.
Okay, this is one for the chocolate lovers out there. The use of Guinness in the cake batter does an interesting job on the chocolate in the cake itself.
While it compliments it, the bitter and alcohol flavors of the Guinness can do well to suppress some of the chocolate sweetness into something more nuanced and complex.
With this cake, the potential loss of that classic chocolate flavor is replaced through added chocolate icing!
The ‘chocolate glaze’ as described in the recipe even uses honey to bring back some of that amber sweetness you get in a chocolate cake, but is paired with the unique flavors that cake batter gains from being enhanced with Guinness.
The vegans don’t miss out on Guinness, which was made to have no animal ingredients not too long ago, so why should they miss out on Guinness chocolate cake?
One benefit of using Guinness in the vegan chocolate cake recipe is that the flavors are already quite mellow, without the milky element of chocolate.
In combination with the cocoa and dark chocolate, the addition of Guinness creates something really complex and unique, ideal for those who like dark chocolate and not-so-sweet cakes.
Moreover, the addition of Guinness in the batter can solve an issue that is often found in vegan cakes, dryness.
The initial reason Guinness was popularly used in baking is that it can create a moist cake with ease. This is really useful for the vegan bakers out there.
This recipe also interestingly uses whiskey in the icing which is a cool take on the recipe from the vegan bakers!
As you can see, there are quite a few variations of this recipe, within the confines of the recipe itself.
Due to the nuanced flavors of teh recipes that make Chocolate Guinness Cake so unique and special you can’t go changing the recipe too much.
Guinness on its own can be a bit strange in a cake, and often works best in tandem with chocolate, other flavors can detract from this unique flavor.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t many variations of the cake that include different alcohols, different approaches to the icing, as well as unique vegan variations.
Even if you don’t drink alcohol, or maybe just want the other benefits of Guinness without a risk of alcohol, you could gladly swap out the alcoholic Guinness in this recipe for a non-alcoholic Guinness, which are now pretty common.
An interesting way to vary these recipes yourself, or if you live in a place where Guinness isn’t so widely available, you could actually look for other dark stouts like Guinness that will work with similar effect to the original brand.
Equally, you could also go for Guinness Foreign Extra for something a little different. This is a Guinness style that often comes bottled rather than in a can and was made popular in the Caribbean.
It has more alcohol than normal which was an experiment by the Guinness Manufacturers to deal with the interesting issues of exporting the temperamental brew.
This Foreign Extra recipe is a little different and can bring some interesting taste differences in comparison to the original version we see in most places.
Try any of these recipes for an ideal St. Patrick’s Day celebration cake, or just on a rainy sunday, or any occasion you deem fit!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Guinness Cake Contain Alcohol?
Yes, if you use a classic Guinness can, the alcoholic one, then your cake will contain some level of alcohol.
Most recipes call for around a cup of Guinness which is around half a can, so the alcoholic content of your cake will be pretty low, almost negligible.
You can actually taste the alcohol somewhat, and the alcoholic content will increase variably with the other alcohols you may include in the cake such as Whiskey or Baileys.
Yet, even in these cases, it will still remain really low.
If it’s the taste you are afraid of, perhaps for those who are tee-total, this could be a concern and non-alcoholic Guinness could be a good option.
But this cake isn’t going to make your kid drunk, or make you unable to get behind the wheel – the alcoholic content remains low.
What Is Guinness?
As we mentioned in the introduction, Guinness is largely a European drink, as well as being popular in the Caribbean, it’s actually drunk most per capita in Nigeria as the Foreign Extra style was really pushed in Africa.
Guinness on draught is the way the drink should be enjoyed, but exporting issues mean that most people outside of Britain and Northern Ireland may struggle to get an authentic experience of Guinness from the draught tap, creamy, nuanced, and unique.
In any case Guinness is like any other dark stout, it gains its darkness, both in terms of flavor and color, from the combination of both malted and unmalted barley.
It remains around 4.1% in ABV or 6-7.5% ABV with Foreign Extra.
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