A decorated cake on a cake stand

A rich chocolate cake infused with Guinness, paired with a Baileys dark chocolate ganache and a Baileys buttercream. This Baileys & Guinness Cake is the perfect grown-up treat.

Baileys & Guinness Cake on a wooden cake stand.

You know, for someone who doesn’t really drink, I have more than my fair share of boozy desserts.

I love a good, sweet cocktail, but you’ll never catch me with a glass of wine or a beer. My palette just prefers sweet drinks (surprised??) and I generally don’t like the taste of alcohol.

That being said, the flavour of many alcoholic beverages is delicious and lends itself so well to baked goods — especially with this Baileys & Guinness Cake!

Close up of the side of the cake

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Baileys flavoured desserts are not new to me. In fact, I think they are far too common on this blog (not that that’s a bad thing).

Guinness though — I think this might be the first time I’ve ever tried it. So what better way to try it than in cake form, right?? I actually took a sip of it after using what I needed in the cake…  I think I’ll stick with the boozy desserts.

This Baileys & Guinness Cake is a long time coming. I actually planned to make it last year for St. Paddy’s Day but never got around to it and made a Mint Chocolate Chip Cake instead. Better late than never though, right??

How to Make a Guinness Cake

To make this Guinness Cake, I took my favourite Chocolate Cake recipe and simply swapped out the hot water for hot Guinness. The result worked perfectly.

I also swapped out some of the Dutch-process cocoa powder for black cocoa to intensify the deep, dark color of the cake — trying to emulate the actual color of Guinness. If you don’t have black cocoa though, Dutch-processed or regular cocoa powder will work fine.

Chocolate Cake with Guinness and Baileys in the background.

Baileys Buttercream & Ganache

Most Guinness Cake recipes you’ll find online pair the cake with a Baileys cream cheese frosting. While that sounds like a perfectly delicious combo, I wanted to do something a little different, so I made a Baileys dark chocolate ganache and Baileys Swiss meringue to go with the cake.

If you don’t want to make both types of frosting, you can do either/or, but see my tips below if you decide to do only one or the other.

I like both in the cake both for a stunning color contrast and for flavour, but either one would be equally delicious on its own.

Close up of the rope border on top of the cake

Something I should note is that this is actually my second version of this cake, because I tried and failed to do a pretty ombre frosting with the ganache and buttercream.

I started with the ganache at the bottom and it totally solidified on the cold cake, which made it impossible to blend in a pretty way. I tried to do something more rustic to compensate, but it just didn’t work, so I redid the whole thing.

Flavour wise, the cake is delicious! Even for someone who doesn’t like beer, I’m a huge fan of this cake. You can taste the beer, but it’s almost more of an after-taste (to me anyhow) and it goes so well with the Baileys frostings.

If you’re a Baileys/Guinness fan or looking for something fun and unique for St. Paddy’s day, this cake is for you!

A piece of Chocolate Guinness cake on a plate

Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day Recipes??

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I convert this recipe?

  • The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
  • To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 18-24 cupcakes depending on size.
  • For other conversions go here.

Can I make it in advance?

  • The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
  • The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temperature and rewhip before using.
  • The ganache can be made a day or two in advance and kept at room temperature. Place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Do not refrigerate as it will get too firm.
  • The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Tips for making this Baileys & Guinness Cake

  • Use the best quality chocolate you can find for the ganache, it makes a huge difference! I use Callebaut.
  • If you like, you can skip the buttercream and just use the Baileys ganache between all the layers. The recipe makes enough for the whole cake.
  • If you’d like to use the Baileys buttercream instead of ganache, double the buttercream recipe.
  • Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
  • Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
  • To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
A decorated cake on a cake stand


Baileys & Guinness Cake

A rich chocolate cake infused with Guinness, paired with a Baileys dark chocolate ganache and a Baileys buttercream. This Baileys & Guinness Cake is the perfect grown-up treat.

Course Dessert

Cuisine Cake

Prep Time 2 hours

Cook Time 40 minutes

Ganache Setting Time 6 hours

Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes

Servings 12

Calories 999kcal


Baileys Chocolate Ganache Frosting: (make in advance)

Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Baileys Chocolate Ganache Frosting (make in advance):

  • Place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, Baileys, and butter. Cook over med heat, stirring often until it just barely starts to simmer.

  • Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit 5 minutes.

  • Stir gently with a spatula until completely smooth. If needed, place over a double boiler and stir until all chocolate has melted.

  • Place plastic wrap directly on top of chocolate ganache. Allow to thicken and set overnight.*

Chocolate Guinness Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F, grease three 6″ round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.

  • Place flour, sugars, cocoas, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.

  • Place Guinness into a small saucepan and heat until just simmering.

  • In a medium bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Temper this mixture with the heated Guinness — pour hot Guinness into the bowl very slowly while whisking egg mixture quickly.

  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.

  • Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.

  • Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. A total of 30-35mins.

  • Cool 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.**

  • Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot (160F) and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).

  • Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)). 

  • Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.

  • Add Baileys and vanilla and whip until smooth.***


  • Cut each layer of cake in half horizontally.

  • Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving dish. Top with about 1/2 cup buttercream, spread evenly. Repeat with remaining layers alternating buttercream with ganache. Frost and smooth the outside with a thin crumb coat. Chill for at least 20mins until firm and set.****

  • Frost the chilled cake with the remaining ganache. It will start to set quicjkly against the cold cake.

  • To smooth the top and sides of the cake, use a metal bench scraper and offset spatula that have been run under hot water (wipe them off before use). Keep heating the scraper/spatula and repeat the process until the sides and top are smooth.
  • Using the remainder of the buttercream, do a rope border on the top using a Wilton 6B piping tip.
  • Decorate bottom with chocolate flakes if desired.


* You can speed up the thickening of the ganache by placing the it in the fridge, but you need to stir it often.
** Ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won’t stiffen.
*** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
**** If the ganache is too thin or soft and the cake layers start to slide around a bit during assembly, you can place 3-4 bamboo skewers into the top of the cake as support. You’ll need to trim the skewers to the proper height of the cake.

Calories: 999kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 10gFat: 63gSaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 385mgPotassium: 584mgFiber: 7gSugar: 66gVitamin A: 1095IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 7.7mg

The nutritional information and metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or metric conversion tool.

Originally published Mar 4, 2018

Baileys & Guinness Cake Collage

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By Olivia

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