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Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake

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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. 😉 

Quite possibly the ultimate "man cake" - this Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake is everything. * Recipe on

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.

Quite possibly the ultimate "man cake" - this Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake is everything. * Recipe on

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.

Quite possibly the ultimate "man cake" - this Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake is everything. * Recipe on

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. 😉

Quite possibly the ultimate "man cake" - this Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake is everything. * Recipe on

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!

Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 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

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F, butter and line 2-3 8" round cake pans (see notes)
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

When you are ready to decorate...

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


- I made this cake 3 layers by baking to in an 8"x3" deep pan and the third in my 8"x2" deep pan because I like tall cakes. You can absolutely make this as a 2 layer cake with two 8"x2" pans, or you may bake two layers first and then bake the third. It's not ideal, but it works. Do what makes you happy.

Did this recipe inspire you?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


Quite possibly the ultimate "man cake" - this Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Cake is everything. * Recipe on


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Francisca Rigaud

Friday 16th of July 2021

Hi, I am making this cake now but I am in doubt about how much is a Guinness bottle in the USA? I found online that it seems to be 11.2 oz but, although I am at the end of the baking the batter seems rather liquid.... I hope one day the USA will go on scales like Europe because 1g is 1g and 1ml is 1ml, moreover nowadays scales are so tiny and so cheap.... not more hassle with washing all the cups, all gets measured in the same container and it is precise!!!! I haven't even made the frosting yet because I am afraid the cake will be a flot! So if anyone can tell me the contents of a Guinness bottle in the USA I would appreciate.... here in the UK is 500ml, so I reduced it to 330ml to suit what I think is the size in the USA.

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 18th of July 2021

I hope the cake turned out for you! The batter for the cake is on the thinner side, but it should have baked up just fine. A bottle of Guinness here is 11.2 oz, which would be about 330 ml, so your adjustment was spot on.

I agree it would be wonderful if the whole world used the same measurements. Weighing ingredients is definitely easier and cleaner, but I think it will take time to change habits and common practices here. In the meantime, bakers like you and I convert between measurements and hope for the best! Thanks so much for trying my cake recipe and I hope you enjoyed it!


Friday 11th of June 2021

Hi, may I ask why you converted the measurements? It is so much easier to use scales and so much more accurate.... moreover you can weigh everything in the same bowl, put the scales back to 0 and go on. No washing of all kinds of cups, no guessing whether the cup is full enough, or rounded, or pressed.... 100g is 100g. Scales are cheap and tiny.... Just wondering why Americans and probably Australians and so don't use them. Moreover the conversions you find online are not accurate at all. Therefore I am looking for Hilary's website but I can't find it. Would it be possible to have the link???? That would be great, thanks! Great looking cake, by the way................... the cups do stop me from making it!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Friday 12th of November 2021

It absolutely is easier to use a scale, but since most of my readers are in the US, I use cups as many people don't own kitchen scales!

Unfortunately, it looks like Hilary has taken down her site and stopped blogging.


Sunday 28th of January 2018

Does the pretzel go super soggy inside? How far in advance would you make this?

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 28th of January 2018

That depends on the pretzel. I used a really hard sourdough and it was fine for 2-3 days. I probably wouldn't make this more than a day or day and a half in advance for the best texture.

ann marie whitten ( Murray)

Sunday 21st of January 2018

This recipe was fantastic! Just made it for a dinner get together with friends. If I wanted to make this I simply double the ingredients? If I want more of a pronounced Guinness flavor can I add more beer.

Thanks in advance!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 28th of January 2018

With cakes, it's usually better to go ahead and mix two separate batches (I know... more measuring!) because the leaveners don't scale directly. You could try adding a little more beer, but I don't know if the amount you could add without making the batter too wet would give you a very very pronounced flavor. What I would do is add some Guinness into your frosting. A little extra powdered sugar will compensate for the additional wet ingredient, and since you aren't combining with chocolate, the flavor of the beer will be a bit more pronounced. :)


Wednesday 15th of November 2017

Ive got these bad boys cooling right now! Fingers crossed it worked . I upped the sour cream to 1 c now i wait!!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 19th of November 2017

I hope you enjoy!!!

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