Vegan Chocolate Guinness Cake topped with tangy, sweet vegan cream cheese frosting. It's perfectly moist, rich, and dark, with malty, deep, complex richness. Perfect for St Patrick's Day or Father's Day!
Hello. Hi. Grab your baking essentials and a can of Guinness because we are making a Vegan Chocolate Guinness Cake! Maybe you didn't know that you needed Guinness in a cake, but I'm here to tell you that you do.
We're talking depth and richness like you wouldn't believe! Inspired by Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake, this vegan cake is deeply dark, perfectly moist and soft, and sweet, but not too sweet.
Guinness, like coffee, intensifies chocolate’s natural flavor. The stout flavor isn't obvious but it adds malty, deep, complex richness. It also introduces a little bitterness which cuts through the chocolate cake sweetness, balancing things out perfectly.
Here are the ingredients you will be needing to make Vegan Chocolate Guinness Cake:
And a couple of important ingredient notes:
- Guinness - Or any other vegan, very dark stout. Sorry if you're alcohol-free, but there are no substitutions for the Guinness beer/stout in this recipe. Its carbonation and acidity is needed for the recipe to work correctly.
- Cocoa powder - It is really important that this is unsweetened natural cocoa powder NOT Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Hershey's Cocoa Powder and Everland Cocoa Powder are common brands that are natural. Like the Guinness, the acidity of the natural cocoa powder is needed for this recipe to work correctly.
- Flour - This should be all purpose flour, or plain flour if you are in the UK.
- Baking powder & baking soda - The combination of these is important in this recipe. Don't use one and not the other.
I also love to have a bar of dark chocolate on hand so I can decorate my Guinness Chocolate Cake with chocolate curls.
And for the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
I used my vegan cream cheese frosting recipe. If you want to make things extra easy though, Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting is accidentally vegan. You could also just make a simple glaze with powdered sugar and the little bit of Guinness that will be left in the can after making the cake.
Expert tip - Vegan cream cheese frosting can be finicky due to the water content in vegan butter and vegan cream cheese. That's why there is arrowroot in this frosting recipe. It absorbs some of the moisture and makes for a better texture. I've tried many vegan cream cheese brands in frosting, and Tofutti works best and is most stable. I do not recommend using Violife cream cheese. It splits very easily and makes the frosting grainy.
How To Make Vegan Chocolate Guinness Cake
This vegan Guinness cake is really easy to make. Here's how:
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix them together.
- Add all of the wet ingredients to another bowl and stir them together.
- Combine the two to form a rich, chocolaty batter.
- Spoon into the cake tin and bake.
- Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack. Keeping it in the pan traps moisture, making the cake extra moist.
- Whip up the cream cheese frosting.
- Slather it all over the cake.
Decorating Tip - If you want to decorate with chocolate curls, simply get a bar of dark dairy-free chocolate. Make sure it's at room temperature then use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of chocolate onto a plate. Pop the plate in the freezer to keep them nice and firm until you're ready to scatter them on the top of the cake.
This is a beautifully moist cake so is a great one for making ahead. I recommend baking it, and letting it cool in the pan as per the instructions. Then wrap it up well while still in the pan. It will be fine for a couple of days stored at room temperature. Or wrap very well and freeze for up to 3 months.
The cream cheese frosting can also be made a few days ahead and stored covered well in the fridge. Give it a quick whip up before using.
Store the cake in an airtight cake storage tin, or covered on a plate. If you have a mixing bowl large enough, they make a great cover for cakes when upturned.
If unfrosted the cake can be stored at room temperature. Once the cream cheese frosting has been added though it needs to be kept in the fridge. It will keep well for about 5 days. The flavor actually develops and gets better with time.
Yes, Guinness has been 100% vegan since 2018. You can see it confirmed on their website in the FAQs here.
You can use any other dark stout but there is no other alternative. The stout's carbonation, richness, and acidity is essential for the recipe to work properly.
Yes. Double the cake recipe to make 2 x 9-inch sponge cakes. There should be just enough frosting to sandwich it together and cover the top with a thinnish layer, without increasing it.
Pretty much all sugar is vegan in Canada. The 2 major producers Redpath and Rogers do not use bone char. Sugar in the UK and Europe is also vegan. In the USA a lot of sugar brands are not vegan. However, all organic sugar there is vegan, as are popular brands such as Wholesome Sweeteners, Florida Crystals, Billingtons, Now Foods, Sugar In The Raw, Kirkland Organic Sugar, Trader Joe's Organic Sugar, Rapunzel, Imperial, and Diamond Crystal.
St Paddy's Day Faves
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Chocolate Guinness CakeAuthor:
For the cake
- 1¾ cup (218 grams) all purpose flour , (plain flour in the UK)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (100 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder , this MUST be natural & NOT Dutch processed cocoa
- 1¼ teaspoon baking soda , (bicarb in the UK)
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⅓ cup (267 grams) white or cane sugar
- 1¼ cup (300 ml) Guinness , or other very dark stout.
- ¾ cup (180 ml) liquid oil , such as canola, vegetable or sunflower
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 1 bar dark chocolate , to make chocolate curls garnish
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare a 9 inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (or a 9 inch springform pan or a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan). Grease the bottom and sides well, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper too. If using a loaf pan use a long rectangular strip to cover the bottom.
- To a mixing bowl add the flour, sift in the cocoa, then add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk them together to combine.
- Measure the Guinness in a clear measuring jug like a Pyrex so that you can see where the stout ends and the foam begins. Don't scrape the foam off, it gets used, but it should not be part of the 1¼ cup (300 ml) measurement. Let it settle for a minute after pouring so you can see where the brown Guinness line comes up to on the measure.
- Add the Guinness to another bowl along with the oil and the vanilla. Give it a quick mix together.
- Make sure your cake pan is ready and the oven is at temperature before combining the liquid and dry ingredients because once you do you need to work quickly. Pour the wet into the dry and fold (don't beat) them gently but quickly together. Be sure to scrape right into the bottom of the bowl. A few small lumps are ok.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap once or twice on the counter to level it, then bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. All ovens vary so keep an eye on it towards the end. If you are using a black cake pan it will probably be ready 3 to 4 minutes earlier.
- Transfer to a cooling rack but leave the cake in the pan. This traps the steam, making the cake moister. Let it cool completely.
For the frosting
- Add the vegan butter to a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on a medium high speed until soft and fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese and beat again until just combined and smooth. Don't over-beat.
- Now add the arrowroot powder, salt, vanilla and the powdered sugar. Beat on the lowest speed until the powdered sugar has stopped flying around and mostly combined, then turn the speed up to medium high and beat until smooth and creamy, scraping down the edges with a spatula as needed to get any dry powdered sugar off the sides and into the mix.
- Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place on a cake stand or plate.
- Swoosh the cream cheese frosting all over the top.
- If making chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler to shave the sides of a bar of dark chocolate onto a cold plate. Once you have enough pop the plate in the freezer for a couple of minutes so the curls harden. Then scatter them over the frosting.