Cakes, Food, Recipes

Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

My favourite chocolate cake ever is my Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake that has been going bonkers on the internet lately (last count it’s been shared over 177,000 times on Facebook alone!)

As it’s St Patrick’s Day this week, I wanted to rework my beloved Guinness Cake into something better. Is it possible? Why yes, I think it is.

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

Imagine a layer of dark and moist Guinness chocolate cake, followed by a layer of dark chocolate whiskey ganache, topped with Baileys cream cheese icing. Then repeat that step another 3 times.

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

This cake is oh so rich and delicious. I usually try and exercise some kind of restraint with my baked goods, but I must have eaten at least 4 generous servings of this beauty. #dietstartsnextweek ;)

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

I was worried using 3 different types of alcohol in the same cake would be overpowering, but I was restrained with the amounts I used and the flavours complement each other well.

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

And to make your cake even more festive, I have a free shamrock bunting printable for you!

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

Follow the steps at the bottom of this post here on how to create the bunting yourself. I had run out of stripey straws so I ended up using disposable chopsticks to hold the flags up. Works a treat.

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

St Patrick's Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing

4.67 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Swah


Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake

  • 250 ml Guinness beer (1 cup)
  • 250 g butter (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 100 g cup cocoa powder (2/3 cup)
  • 400 g caster/superfine sugar (1¾ cups)
  • 140 ml sour cream (2/3 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g plain flour (2 cups)
  • tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

Irish Whiskey Ganache

  • 225 g dark chocolate (8oz)
  • 140 ml heavy cream (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp Irish whiskey

Baileys Cream Cheese Icing

  • 500-600 g sifted icing sugar/powdered sugar (4-5 cups)
  • 100 g butter at room temperature (1/2 cup)
  • 250 g cream cheese at room temperature (8oz)
  • 4-6 tbsps Baileys Irish Cream to taste


Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake

  • Preheat oven 180°C/350°F and butter and line 2 x 23cm (9") springform tins.
  • Melt the butter into the Guinness in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Whisk in the cocoa and sugar and take the saucepan off the heat.
  • Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined, than add to the beer mixture.
  • Whisk in the flour and bicarb until combined.
  • Divide the cake batter between the two tins and bake for 35-45 minutes. The middle of the cake may still be slightly wet when you take the cake out, but it will firm up as it cools down.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin as it is quite a damp cake and could collapse.
  • Since these cakes need to be sliced horizontally, I wrap both cakes in cling wrap and store in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. It makes slicing the cakes easier.

Irish Whiskey Ganache

  • Heat cream up into the microwave until warm (not boiling) and then add finely chopped chocolate, stirring until melted and combined.
  • Add in the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick and spreadable.

Baileys Cream Cheese Icing

  • Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
  • Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated.
  • Add in Baileys. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.

To assemble

  • Slice both cakes horizontally using a serrated knife so you have 4 layers of cake.
  • Place your first layer on the cake stand and spread around 2 tablespoons worth of ganache over the top of the cake.
  • Dollop on a generous portion of Baileys icing and spread out evenly with an offset spatula.
  • Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat this process. Remember to take the ganache and icing right to the edges so it peaks out the sides of the cake when assembled.
  • Top the final layer of cake with the ganache and Baileys icing and voila!

What are you baking for St Patrick’s Day?


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  • Reply Lisa Bowen March 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    omg I love this cake and have never had a recipe. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • Reply Swah March 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Give it a try and enjoy Lisa!

  • Reply Hannah A. March 16, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Hi! I would LOVE to make this cake for my husbands birthday in April. The problem- he doesn’t like chocolate. At all. I was thinking maybe I could make it peanut butter and substitute the cocoa powder for defatted peanut flour. Do you think that would taste ok? Or any other suggestions? Maybe just no cocoa powder so a plain vanilla plus all the alcohol?
    Thanks so much!

    • Reply Swah March 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I would perhaps try and bake a vanilla cake and then add the whiskey ganache and Baileys icing. A peanut butter cake sounds delicious too! Just remember, when substituting the cocoa powder you need to replace it with a dry ingredient of equal weight. Please let me know how you go :)

      • Reply Kathy Gunn February 20, 2017 at 11:29 am

        to cut the cake in half, wrap with thread at the middle and pull the ends of the thread together so they cross. easy!

  • Reply Hayley March 18, 2015 at 4:23 am

    This cake is wonderful. In the states, we have a special cocktail called an “Irish Car Bomb,” and this cake typifies it perfectly by incorporating Guinness, Bailey’s, and Jameson. Before I discovered this ganache version, I made your Guinness chocolate cake into a poke-cake (drizzling it with a reduced syrup of 1/2C Jameson, 1/2C sugar, 1/4C butter, and 1 packet of gelatine) before frosting it. Just one more variation on your divine creation– but I can’t wait to try yours next time. =) Thanks for sharing your inspiration and passion for cooking!

    • Reply Swah March 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Oh wow your version sounds divine Hayley!! I like the “Poke-cake” idea very much :) Thank you for your kind words too!

  • Reply Nicole- Champagne and Chips March 18, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Gosh that looks amazing. What a flavour combination! And that shamrock bunting is the cutest.

    • Reply Swah March 18, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks Nicole! It is officially my favourite cake right now :)

  • Reply Teresa March 21, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    I made this and it was a hit! Thanks so much for sharing it

    • Reply Swah March 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      You are very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages March 22, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Oh wow. Just wow. My great aunty would love this, I should pin it for her next birthday (which is the day after St patricks!!) #FFF

  • Reply Lucy @ Bake Play Smile March 22, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    AMAZING!! This just looks so decadent and incredible. I love the layers… nothing beats a layered cake!! Happy Fabulous Foodie Fridays xx

  • Reply Shiny April 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    The cake looks amazing! I noticed that you’re using quite a lot of sugar (both caster and icing). Is the cake quite sweet to eat? I’m planning to make this for my dad’s birthday but he doesn’t too much sweetness in his food. Can you please let me know if the cake is sweet or do you reckon I should minimise the quantity? Thanks :)

    • Reply Swah April 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      The actual cake isn’t too sweet as the Guinness and cocoa powder balance it out nicely. However, the icing is indeed VERY sweet. An option could be to just make a one layer cake, halve the icing and just put it on top?

  • Reply The Triple Threat Cupcake – A very Aussie, very boozy treat! June 8, 2015 at 11:01 am

    […] made was the Guinness Cake with Baileys Icing. I took it up a notch a few years later and made a Guinness layer cake with Irish whiskey ganache and Baileys icing. It was a cake version of the Irish Car bomb Cupcake (which was inspired by a cocktail of the same […]

  • Reply Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Cream Cheese Icing – Love Swah – A Sydney food, travel and design blog June 29, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    […] If you’re after a more decadent version of this cake, the recipe for my Guinness Layer Cake with Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Icing is now […]

  • Reply Shara July 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I made this cake actually as a test run before I make the final product. I did make some adjustments however because me and the birthday boy came up with an idea of his perfect birthday cake. Instead of slicing the two cakes in half I left them whole and put in a middle layer of coconut cheesecake! I did a test run to make sure it turned out ok and that the coconut cheesecake tasted alright with the rest of the cake and oh my….it is fantastic. I did feel the ganache was a little too rich though when all was said and done, so for his birthday I’m going to do everything except for the ganache, but with the addition of the coconut cheesecake! Thank you so much for this recipe it is absolutely delicious and I am thrilled with it!!!

    • Reply Swah August 3, 2015 at 11:31 am

      A middle layer of coconut cheesecake? You are a genius! That sounds divine. So glad you loved the recipe and thank you for sharing your spin on it! xx

  • Reply Emma September 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Hi! What size cake pan did you use for this? Thanks!

    • Reply Swah September 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Hi there, use 2 x 23cm (9″) springform tins :)

      • Reply Vivien l September 29, 2016 at 3:04 pm

        Can i use 3 x7″ spring pan instead for this recipe?

        • Reply Swah September 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm

          Hi Vivien, yes you definitely can!

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    • Reply Mary S March 9, 2021 at 12:29 am

      5 stars
      My family LOVES this recipe! I have made it as cupcakes and as a bundt cake. I have used Bailey’s coffee cream to thin out the alcohol amount in the frosting since we have kiddos. A HUGE hit everytime.

      • Reply Swah March 9, 2021 at 10:56 am

        So glad everyone enjoys it – it’s a fav in our house too!

  • Reply Marisol Riddell March 19, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I made this cake to the delight of my husband and in-laws. It was a little clumsy looking at first, as it was leaning quite a bit, but no one really cared. It tasted amazing. I don’t usually like cake because I’m not a fan of most frosting. I find it too sweet. But the cream cheese tempers the sweetness. I found for my personal tastes, I needed an extra 8 ounces of cream cheese, because it was still too sweet for me. Adding it meant I ended up with extra frosting for other things… poor us.

    This is the first time I posted to a food blog for a recipe I used. That is how good your cake is.

    • Reply Swah March 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I am honoured to receive your first blog comment and so happy you loved the cake! And extra frosting leftover is always a great problem to have ;)

  • Reply Danielle March 20, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I made this cake last year as written for a St. Patrick’s day party and it was an enormous hit. This year, my friend is having a St. Patrick’s themed cocktail party instead, so I decided I’d try and turn this into cupcakes for easier eating. It worked brilliantly! I got 29 cupcakes (filled each cup with ~1/4 cup batter) and baked them for 15 minutes. I cored them and filled them with the ganache and also spread a thin layer on top before I frosted them with a piping bag.

    • Reply Swah March 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Oh wow those cupcakes sound AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing Danielle!

  • Reply Goreti May 4, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Is there any way to make the icing less sweet? Can you give me the adjusted measurement?
    Does it still taste good if I don’t use the whiskey genace?

    • Reply Swah May 8, 2016 at 11:34 am

      This still tastes amazing without the whiskey ganache, the cake and icing alone are full of flavour. As for making the icing less sweet, use less sugar and see if you prefer the taste.

  • Reply Donna March 11, 2017 at 7:07 am

    made it this week and got RAVE reviews Wish I could share my pics! Thank you!

    • Reply Swah March 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      You are welcome Donna!!

  • Reply Barbara Feeney March 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Will definitely try this out. It sounds wonderful. Only, I’ll use shamrocks to decorate it instead if the 4 leaf clovers in the picture. I liked the suggestion of cupcakes too. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply Swah March 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      You are very welcome Barbara, happy baking!

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  • Reply Mahima September 27, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve been making this recipe for years now! It’s become the cake that I’m ‘known’ for among my friends! I go with a Baileys ermine buttercream instead because I find the icing too sweet otherwise, but the cake is beautiful!

    • Reply Swah March 8, 2021 at 10:58 am

      Oh nice one Mahima! I have never tried to make an ermine buttercream, but now I want to!

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