Moist Single-Layer Chocolate Guinness Cake

This Moist-Single Layer Chocolate Guinness Cake is a moist, single-layer cake that comes together effortlessly. Topped with a creamy (and equally dreamy) 5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream this simple-to-throw-together cake is a dazzler.
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This Moist Single-Layer Chocolate Guinness Cake with Chocolate Malt Buttercream is the perfect combination of soft, light chocolate cake capped with a thick layer of lush malted buttercream. This cake has ALL THE THINGS.

I love special holiday treats (yes, this is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day) but honestly, this cake is so damn good (and with nary a drop of green food coloring in sight), you can serve this queen proudly year round.

I love shoving Guinness in cakes (see the section Why Bake With Beer below as to why) as I did with the Chocolate Stout Cake with Champagne Buttercream in The Cake Book and Chocolate Stout Cookies with Irish Buttercream in The Cookie Book.

I also futz around with these flavors in this Chocolate Malted Layer Cake and this Chocolate Rye Stout Cake.

Likewise, I absolutely love chocolate everything! Check out the Chocolate Malt Buttercream (that pairs perfectly with this or any cake), my favorite Chocolate Bundt Cake, this super simple Chocolate Brownie Cake and this dreamyyyy Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting!

BUT TODAY, let’s focus on this beautiful Chocolate Guinness Single-Layer Cake!

What Makes This Cake So Fabulous, You Ask?

  • The cake base is mixed + baked in 45 minutes (super easy)
  • You won’t need a mixer for the cake, just your svelte arms and a whisk
  • The crumb on the cake is light and chocolate-y, but not cloyingly sweet
  • This frosting comes together like a dream and is so smooth and creamy
  • The combination of this cocoa and beer-based cake is a match made in heaven
  • You won’t taste the beer! It enhances the cake’s flavor (similar to espresso)

Why Bake With Beer?

There are several really wonderful things chocolate beer-based cakes. First, the carbonation and acidity give your cake a little more lift off resulting in a lighter cake.

Additionally, it gives your cakes (or whatever you’re baking) a beautifully tender crumb.

Stout beers, such as Guinness, naturally have some nice malty flavors that pair perfectly with chocolate. You won’t taste them specifically in the cake. It’s more of a subtle flavor and texture enhancer.

A close up of a piece of chocolate guinness cake with a bite out of it.

The Baker’s Guide to Measuring Flour

One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes in baking is how we measure flour. If you find yourself without a scale, see my top tips on how to properly measure flour for the perfect amount every time!

Step-by-Step Instructions for 
Chocolate Guinness Cake with Chocolate Malt Buttercream

Below are step-by-step photos (with captions) to make your Chocolate Guinness Cake perfect every time! My biggest tips are:

  1. Have your ingredients at room temperature. The ingredients will incorporate better if they’re at room temperature. You can place the eggs in a bowl of warm water, likewise with the beer, to expedite.
  2. Weigh your ingredients. With so few ingredients, it’s crucial you get them perfect. With too much flour the cake could become dense.

This is a very fuss-free cake, I can’t emphasize it enough! Follow the instructions and you’ll get a gorgeous, delicious cake every time!

For the Chocolate Guinness Cake

STEP ONE: Gather your ingredients (Sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder,
baking soda, sea salt, all-purpose flour and Guinness (or other Stout beer)).
A glass bowl with cake ingredients.
STEP TWO: Add the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla to a large bowl and whisk until fully combined and thickened.
A glass bowl with yellow sunny cake ingredients.
STEP TWO: It will look like this!
Cocoa powder and leavening in a bowl of wet cake ingredients.
STEP THREE: Whisk in the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Whisked up chocolate cake batter.
STEP THREE: It will look thick, like this.
Guinness in the cake batter.
STEP FOUR: Alternate adding the flour and the Guinness in two batches, starting with the flour and ending with the Guinness.
The final chocolate cake batter.
STEP FOUR: That’s it! It will be a thin, not thick, cake batter.
The finished cake with no frosting on it.
STEP FIVE: Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

To Assemble Your Cake

Malted  buttercream piled high on cake.
STEP ONE: Invert your cake onto a serving platter and scoop all of the Chocolate Malt Buttercream over the top.
An offset spatula smearing buttercream on a single layer cake.
STEP TWO: Take your time making swoops and swirls. This is medicinal.
A knife cutting into the cake with a white background.

Recipe Q&A

Can I substitute the Guinness for something non-alcoholic?

Yes! I would recommend either fresh-brewed espresso or coffee or hot water. All will make an equally delicious cake.

A hand holding an offset spatula smearing buttercream on an upside down cake.

Baking Tools for This Cake Recipe

My absolute favorite tools for making this Guinness cake are:

My sturdy, 9-inch (23-cm) NordicWare cake round that I can’t live without.

My favorite whisk and heat-safe nesting glass bowls that I really need everyone to own.

This offset spatula makes me feel I’m living that bespoke life of dreams.

My trusty scale for precision.

I cannot recommend this round marble cheeseboard enough for serving cakes! I love that it sits low (not like a pedestal). It does stain, so place parchment underneath when serving.

For more fun shopping, check out my Shop (aka my favorite things!).

A slice of chocolate cake with a bite out of it.

More Treats for You!

If this cake has piqued your interest, I think you’ll also be into Granny Pete’s Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting because it is bonkers delicious.

Also give the Chocolate Coconut Bundt and the Banana Espresso Cake with Espresso Buttercream a test drive.

Be sure to check out my Top Ten Favorite Cake Baking Tips (for better cakes right now!) and you’ll find all of my cake recipes here. Enjoy!

A close up of the corner of the chocolate cake.

A Note About Inspiration!

This chocolate Guinness cake base is adapted from the New Year’s Day Cake that’s on the cover of The Cake Book. This was the last cake I created for the book (and it landed the cover!) and it was created on, yes, New Year’s day.

The gist was that I wanted a cake that was effortless to throw together (in case you happened to have a New Year’s Day hangover ;)) but would also really wow people.

This cake is one of my favorites and I’m excited to share an adapted version of it here one the blog!

A slice of chocolate cake.

What This Chocolate Guinness Cake
with Chocolate Malt Buttercream Tastes Like!

She is the stuff of dreams! The cake has a nice, soft, tender crumb. It has a light, chocolate flavor rather than a dense chocolate bomb (if that makes sense).

Where the cake base is more restrained, the buttercream comes in with mega personality. The texture is soft and creamy, whilst the taste is rich chocolate malt (SO GOOD).

Take note that the chocolate malt buttercream (get full details here) is very soft. This isn’t a buttercream that you would use for a layer cake.

If you find it’s too loose you can either let it sit for 30 minutes and then whip on medium for about 1 minute before using or you can add in additional confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon (7 g) at a time.

I did not need to do either and I love the soft, lush texture. But if you’re unnerved, that’s how you can firm it up a bit.

One last buttercream note: this makes an ample amount. I love a big heap of frosting on top of cake!

Let’s make the most delicious Moist Single-Layer Chocolate Guinness Cake with Chocolate Malt Buttercream!

Rebecca Firth

Moist Single-Layer Guinness Cake

This Moist-Single Layer Chocolate Guinness Cake is a moist, single-layer cake that comes together effortlessly. Topped with a creamy (and equally dreamy) 5-Minute Chocolate Malt Buttercream this simple-to-throw-together cake is a dazzler.
5 from 4 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Chocolate, Guinness, Snacking, Cake, Single Layer, Malt, Buttercream, Dessert, St. Patrick’s Day
Servings: 8 Servings


For the Cake

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) sunflower or grapeseed oil ((or other neutral oil))
  • 2 large eggs, (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon (13 g) vanilla paste or real vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (43 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (144 g) all-purpose flour (how to measure flour)
  • ½ cup (112 g) Guinness or thick malt beer

For the Buttercream


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Alternate adding the flour and the beer in two batches, starting with the flour and ending with the beer. Blend each addition until just barely combined. The batter will be on the looser side.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap on the counter several times to settle the cake batter and release any trapped bubbles. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 37 minutes or until it bounces back when gently pressed in the center of the cake. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake cools, whip up the Chocolate Malt Buttercream.

To Assemble

  • Invert your cooled cake onto a serving plate (so the bottom side is now the top). Scoop the Chocolate Malt Buttercream over the top and then have fun making lots of swoops and swirls. Enjoy! xo


A Note About Cocoa Powder

A highly recommend unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder. I love the color and the flavor. A great store-bought brand is Hershey’s Special Dark and it’s what I tested this recipe with.

Storing Your Cake

You can store your cake, covered at room temperature, for several days. 

Freezing Your Cake

You can freeze the cake base, wrapped tightly, for up to several months. Defrost, still wrapped, in the fridge overnight.

Want more cake tips/ideas/recipes?! Check out my 10 Favorite Easy Tips for Perfect Cakes! xx

Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo


Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox

Recipe Rating


  • Laurie April 1, 2023 at 9:15 AM

    I made this cake yesterday using the Guinness. It was very good especially with the chocolate malt frosting! Definitely make again as I had to buy 6 bottles of Guinness.

    • Rebecca Firth April 1, 2023 at 9:37 AM

      I love hearing that! I have seriously been craving it lately. I’m thinking it would be so cute (and delish) with malted Easter eggs over the top!! xo

  • Samuel R March 18, 2023 at 4:15 PM

    WOW!!! Perfect!!! Amazing!!! Delicious!!! exquisitely balanced flavor. thank you!

    • Rebecca Firth March 18, 2023 at 8:18 PM

      Thank you so much Samuel!! I’m so happy you liked it!!! xx

  • Stacy March 18, 2023 at 3:53 AM

    This cake will be my new go to for any gathering. It was absolutely delicious. The flavor was subtle and deep, and it was perfectly light and moist. A bonus is that it’s easy to make.

    • Rebecca Firth March 18, 2023 at 11:18 AM

      Hi Stacey! I am so so happy you liked it!! xox

  • Mia March 16, 2023 at 3:58 PM

    5 stars
    This looks so yummy!!! I cant wait to make it ❤️

  • Irene March 15, 2023 at 5:59 PM

    Can I substitute with a dark German beer?

    • Rebecca Firth March 15, 2023 at 7:37 PM

      Hi Irene! Yes, a dark German beer would be fabulous!! xo

  • Lorie K March 15, 2023 at 2:18 PM

    5 stars
    Looks delicious. I love a good chocolate Guinness cake.