Guinness Gingerbread (or Guinness Chocolate Cake)

guinnesscakepYesterday I started to feel there was something important missing in all my pre-Christmas baking and cooking frenzy. Gingerbread, of course! When I say “gingerbread” I instantly think “Guinness Gingerbread”. It is soft, fluffy, slightly moist and has a subtle taste, far from the typical overwhelming gingerbread flavours. In short, this is the ultimate gingerbread. The Guinness’s presence is of course undetectable, but adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi.  I don’t know if I ought to mention it, but since the beer is boiled, then baked and all the alcohol evaporates, this cake is suitable for children and for the non-drinkers. This cake is partifularly simple and quick to prepare. If you are not a Guinness fan, the only difficult part is finding someone to finish the can or the bottle content. It would be such a pity to waste the leftovers of this extraordinary beer.

This delightful cake can be made the day you intend to serve it, but it greatly improves in the fridge, so as soon as it cools down, refrigerate it for at least several hours. (If you manage to leave it overnight, it will be ten times better) and preferably serve it cold. The chocolate frosting should be put as soon as the cake has cooled down. If you prefer a thinner layer, use only 50 g chocolate and 25 g butter. My recipe comes from this blog (some recipes, like this one, have also English versions) and has been slightly modified.

TIPS: Of course any dark beer (stout) similar to Guinness can be used, but do not use a light one.

The recipe calls for black treacle. Unless you have already baked with black treacle and like it, use it here, but if you have never baked with it, you might not like the bitter slight taste it leaves (I do like it a lot, but wouldn’t make it for guests for example). This is why I advise either light treacle/molasses or half-light and half-black treacle. Of course if you use black treacle the cake will be very dark (like the one above).

Preparation: 1 hour

Ingredients (20 cm x 20 cm baking tin):

160 ml Guinness stout

160 ml treacle (see the TIPS above); if you cannot get treacle/molasses, you can use agave syrup too (I once used half-agave syrup and half treacle and it was delicious)

260g  flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2 flat teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

120 g sugar (if you use white sugar, the cake will be lighter)

180 ml oil

a pinch of salt

Chocolate frosting (it is very thin, about 2 mm, but can be easily doubled if you prefer a thicker layer):

50-100 g dark chocolate

25-60 g butter

Heat the oven to 175°C.

Bring Guinness to a boil in a small pan. Put aside.

Mix the flour, the cocoa, the salt, the baking soda and the spices in a bowl.

In a second bowl mix (with a spoon) the eggs with the sugar, add the treacle, the oil and stir until the mixture is homogenous.

Add gradually the dry ingredients and at the end pour the beer, stirring quickly until the cake mixture is smooth.

Line a baking dish with baking paper.

Pour the cake mixture.

Bake 40 – 50 minutes until a wooden pick put inside comes out almost dry.

Let it cool down.

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a pan. When it cools down to the room temperature, spread it over the cake.

Put the cake into the fridge. (I kept it in the fridge for three days and its taste improved every day).

46 Replies to “Guinness Gingerbread (or Guinness Chocolate Cake)”

  1. This sounds amazing Sissi!!!!

    I must apologize for being so quiet lately, I haven’t had any time to catch up on my blog reading!!! But WOW I am glad I am finally getting to it, this really sounds divine. And the addition of Guinness sound downright heavenly!

    this is definitely going on my “to make” list!

  2. Gingerbread, I could go for that anytime but I’ll pass at the Guinness bit.
    I’d tried it in a cake once during St Patrick’s day and it really wasn’t my cup of, uh, beer. The slight bitterness I don’t mind. Perhaps I overdid the Guinness or perhaps it’s the flavor of the hops that I didn’t like … or something. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Or maybe I’m just not into beer 🙁
    This looks deliciously moist tho.

    1. Hi Ping! I think you must have had a weird recipe/cake because everyone who tastes this one adores it (and most people hate Guinness). This is not bitter at all maybe because the Guinness amount is ridiculous (160ml) or maybe it’s boiled before… For me it adds a malty, elegant taste, but definitely not bitterness. (Charles also adores Guinness cakes, so maybe it’s a question of recipe or amounts?).

      1. Long time ago I made beer bread using regular lager. It was really horrible. Not only did I use the wrong beer, with bread there are no other flavours to mask the beer flavour. Maybe the recipe ping used didn’t have cocoa, ginger and other strong flavours?

        1. I think it’s the regular lager. As a Guinness fan who doesn’t mind the slight bitterness, I would describe it (compared to lager) as a very smooth, silky beer with deep taste. Lager is violent (even the bubbles are violent) so I would never even try substituting it here and I suppose it would require much more spices to hide its violent flavours. Of course the amount counts a lot!

          1. Sorry, my writing caused confusion. Instead of wrong beer, I should have said bad beer. I like lager but this beer wasn’t pleasant to drink and stupid me thought making bread would make bread taste good.

            1. Oh, I understand now! It must be like with wine: if one wants to use it for cooking it should be also at least drinkable, otherwise it will spoil the dish.
              Guinness is always excellent, but the other day when I advised a friend using a similar “porter” type beer I was worried she would choose the cheapest and bad one which could spoil the cake. Luckily she took Guinness 🙂

              1. I can’t remember which or where I’d got the recipe from but if I remember correctly, it was a chocolate guinness cake. I have since thrown the recipe away 😛 I did use Guinness,… wait, hang on, I really don’t know my beers and lagers. It’s the black, vile liquid thingy, right? Not the light colored ones? Oh ya, it says ‘Stout’ too. Did I just used the wrong beer?

                1. Hi Ping, if it was Guinness, then maybe there was too much of it… I imagine that if I had put twice as much in this cake, I would probably fee the Guinness taste and even as a big Guinness fan I’m not sure if I would like it 😉 Guinness is dark bown and not transparent (but not vile! it’s smooth and silky and delicious 🙂 ) so you have used the good beer, but maybe too much? Or maybe you drank it while having the cake and since you hate Guinness… the taste was altered 😉 (Just joking!)

  3. Oooh, this right here! Looks so incredible Sissi – moist and spicy and fabulous. My mother makes a chocolate cake with stout or guinness in sometimes and the flavour is incredible. Rounded, strong without being annoying just fab, and she also makes a really great gingerbread without stout or guinness so I can imagine that the addition of the guinness would be amazing here!

    I’m so jealous – I wish I had some of this, although I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate recently – I’d be tempted to put a toffee or caramel sauce on top! 😀

    1. Thank you, Charles. I must say I still remember how charmed and surprised I was the first time I bit into this cake. I was afraid it would have a beer taste (I love Guinness, but couldn’t imagine it would taste good in a cake…) and would be dry/stuffy, like some sponge cakes. It is definitely in my top 5 of cakes and at certain periods (like in the Winter) it’s my number one (this photo model didn”t have a long life…). I am on your side: toffee on top would be delightful (maybe juste under the chocolate frosting?).
      I must try one day a chocolate cake with Guinness too… Sounds amazing.

  4. This is a genius gingerbread:) I really really want this but have so many other priorities. Maybe I will find a way. I have never baked with Guinness but I did have a pint of good Guinness last weekend.

    Question: you say that it tastes ten times better if you leave it overnight. How many times better did it taste after 3 days? This will be good to know so we can decide whether to save it for another two days:)

    BTW, small technical detail. Quite a bit of alcohol remains even after an hour of cooking. Beer does not have too much alcohol to start with so the amount remaining is not much. You can tell kids and some adults that it has alcohol and they won’t eat it, more for you:)
    See and also the refs to USDA charts

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. It tastes 300 times better when left three nights in the fridge (I once had the occasion to taste it because I had made two batches). I know, I know about the ridiculous alcohol remains, but frankly even the 160 ml Guinness divided into at least ten portions makes such a small amount o alcohol, even children can take it once a year, no? I know someone who is allergic to alcohol, but who says she cooks with alcohol and doesn’t have any reactions.
      I get goose pimples when I see parents trembling about a teaspoon of beer in a whole cake as if it would have any influence on a child. My mum would never make me drink alcohol when I was a child, but if there was a risk of me having 16g of beer or other alcohol in a cake, frankly she didn’t make problems. She wouldn’t make cakes less tasty just because children were having a slice. Especially since we didn’t have cakes with alcohol even twice a year!
      (Please don’t remind me USDA: they don’t approve of most of my preserving methods, practiced for years by my whole family, friends and for centuries in whole Europe, and completely safe!)
      This cake is extraordinary, so if one day you are ready to sacrifice 160 ml of your Guinness, do try it!

      1. I agree, the amount is so little, its OK for children as long as they don’t eat a whole cake or two, unlike adults for whom there are no limits:) I should be ashamed of quoting USDA. Once the alcohol industry hires lobbysts and finances research we will see another result!

        1. Haha! I suppose if a parent lets his child eat this whole cake it’s much more serious for the child’s health than having 160ml of beer alone 😉
          I really hate this institution even though luckily it doesn’t have any influence on what I eat or drink.

  5. This does sound like the “ultimate” ginger bread. I love gingerbread, but never had it with Guinness. I am sure the addition of Guinness makes the ordinary gingerbread extraordinary!

    1. Thank you so much, Hyosun. The taste is very unusual indeed, but subtle and doesn’t resemble Guinness taste really.

    1. Thank you so much, Nami! Let’s put it like this: you bring Guinness to boil, take a spoon and stir into it the remaining ingredients. Then you bake for 40 minutes. The chocolate frosting can be spread by your son (or maybe even your daughter!). That’s it. I hope you believe me now 😉

  6. Sissi… I’ve never made ginger cake with or without Guinness before, this looks delicious! (and the frosting… ooh la la… how wonderful!). Love the combination of cocoa and ginger in this moist bread and the fact that it improves in the fridge… that way, it doesn’t have to be made on the spot which is so practical (and you know how I like simple and quick ;)). We’ve got a couple things in the cooking queue today but I’m thinking it won’t be long before we make this bute! 🙂 What a great recipe Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Frankly, before making this one I wasn’t a big fan of gingerbread because it was usually very thick and heavyt. It was also too spicy for my taste (the typical gingerbread spice mixture is much stronger than the spices included here). Its subtle taste and softness have won me over.
      I think I will have to make soon another Guinness cake because this one is seriously damaged… (Every time I read my kind visitors’ comments they remind me it’s now in the fridge 😉 )

  7. Singer Bread Beer Cake, what could go wrong with this combination? I have yet to do any holiday baking, probably should work on something so my guests can have a take home bag on Christmas eve. Are you going to have any holiday get together Sissi?

  8. Wow, white pepper in this Guinness stout chocolate cake…would love to try a bite of this cake…looks delicious with all the spices in it.
    Sissi, Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones 🙂

    1. Thank you, Liz. I must start looking for other cakes recipes with Guinness, so thanks for the suggestion!

    1. Thank you a lot, Greg. I haven’t invented this recipe, so I can boast: it’s really exceptionally good.

  9. I have to admit that I am not a fan of gingerbread. My boyfriend (now husband) once sent me a tin of gingerbread (you know, those fancy ones in beautiful tins from Nürnberg), I fell in the love with the beautiful case but didn’t touch the rest of the gingerbread after just one bite ;). But after I moved to Germany I found a variation of gingerbread which I like, they’re small, heart-shaped and coated with dark chocolate :). Since your gingerbread is coated with chocolate, I am sure I’d love it too ;).

    1. I have also been indifferent to gingerbread for years. Either it was very dry or very heavy or both. And the spices were very overwhelming too. Here the spices’ presence is very delicate, Guinness is impossible to detect and the taste is really complex. The thing I also love about it is the soft,slightly moist texture and it’s not too sweet. (I don’t even mention the chocolate!).

  10. gosh that looks good! You know i’m not a fan of drinking alcohol, but I love it when alcohol’s used in cooking! and a boozey gingerbread sounds amazing!

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