Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake – Take a night out with friends sharing Guinness and munching on pretzels, and turn it into a cake. Add caramel. Enjoy responsibly. 😉
I posted a picture on Instagram a while back of me decorating this cake and I dubbed it the “Ultimate Man Cake” in jest. I mean, it has beer and pretzels, chocolate and caramel, cream cheese frosting… who wouldn’t love this cake? It’s like “bar” bar meets dessert bar. But it really is pretty fancy in terms of beer cake, and I love how the sweet and salty play together to make a really incredible flavor profile.
I’ve been making Guinness cupcakes for a long time – I started when we were first married as something fun to take to the office on Saint Patrick’s Day, and found out my reputation for this yearly tradition preceded me to California and the Godfather’s next office. I just never put the recipe on the blog because there are already about a thousand Guinness cupcake recipes out there. Buuuuuutttttt, when I was poking around Hillary’s website, I came across these mini cakes and the second I saw the pretzels, I saw It. I saw this cake, and caramel, and layers, and SALT! Sweet and salty Guinness chocolate cake I can get behind posting. So much so that I think it’s appropriate to share before the annual influx of beer recipes since you should probably make this for a football party dessert or something. It’s worth breaking out the forks – disposable if you have a crowd over, of course.
Since Hillary’s blog was my inspiration, I decided to sort of follow her recipe, but since I’ve been making Guinness cake in my way for ages, I had to change a few things. After converting the measurements, I adjusted a few things there, and I opted not to mix the batter in a saucepan. In my experience, you really don’t want to “cook” the cake batter because it can result in sunken, gummy cake. I did cook the beer a few minutes though and then wait for it to cool before proceeding with my batter making, and I will say that it did result in a richer beer flavor, which turned out beautifully. But trust me on this and have a little patience to make sure everything is at “optimum cake temperature” before mixing your batter. There is no need to pre-cook your cake. 😉
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did! It might just need to make a re-appearance around Saint Patrick’s Day, but you’ll want to practice now. Also, if you’re looking for a unique assortment of recipes ranging from Korean to twists on classic comfort food, stop by Hillary’s website and check it out!
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 bottle Guinness beer
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- lb ½ unsalted butter softened (225 g)
- 1 lb cream cheese softened (450 g)
- 5-6 cups confectioner's sugar powdered, 600-720 g
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup caramel sauce homemade or store bought
- 2 cups chopped pretzels
- 1-2 tbsp fleur du sel or very coarse sea salt for finishing
Pour the bottle of beer into a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Allow to cook 3-4 minutes and then remove from the heat and bring to room temperature. To help speed up the process, you can drop the butter into the warm beer to melt it. If you end up with large pieces of unmelted butter, remove and melt separately in the microwave.
Preheat your oven to 350 F, butter and line 2-3 8" round cake pans (see notes)
Place the room temperature beer and melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl, this is an easy cake to mix by hand too), and add the sugar, sour cream and vanilla extract. Stir in the eggs one at a time.
Sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking soda and stir into the batter until just combined. Divide the batter between your cake pans (A kitchen scale helps tremendously here! A standard tilt head KitchenAid mixer bowl weighs 29 ounces, deduct that from total batter weight)
If your cake is 3 layers, bake the layers fro 20-24 minutes. If you are making a 2 layer cake, bake for 27-33 minutes. The center of the cake will spring back lightly when touched, and a tester will come out clean.
Allow the cakes to set in the pan 10 minutes before carefully turning out to a cooling rack to cool completely. You may also wrap the cakes in plastic wrap while still slightly warm and refrigerate to chill and make decorating easier. This also helps if you plan to bake one day and decorate the next.
Make the frosting by creaming together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup (120 g) at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Once the desired consistency is reached, add the vanilla extract. Depending on the number of layers in your cake and how you choose to decorate, you may have a little extra.
Level your cake layers. Place the first layer on your platter or a cake board, add a layer of frosting, sprinkle on a sparse layer of chopped pretzels, top with caramel, add the next layer of cake. Repeat for a 3 layer cake.
Frost the outside of the cake as desired - I opted for a thin layer and the minimalist look. Top with caramel, pretzels, and a sprinkling of sea salt.