Chocolate Guinness and Whiskey Layer Cake {with Salted Whiskey Caramel}

 Chocolate Guinness and Whiskey Cake with Salted Whiskey Caramel

A deep, dark layer cake, flavoured with chocolate and Guinness, and spiked with whiskey. Finished with a smooth, creamy icing, and a pouring of salted whiskey caramel. Boozy, sticky and delicious. 

On Tuesday we celebrated Andy’s birthday.

This day, the 6th of January, is always an important day in my year. Andy doesn’t really enjoy birthdays, he isn’t keen on a fuss, and would hate any elaborate celebrations. I, on the other hand, think this day should really be more of a big deal than he’ll ever let me make it. It may be soppy of me, but  I feel so incredibly blessed to have this man in my life. We’ve shared so many adventures together, and this past year in particular has been so incredibly special. There’s no one I’d rather by my side, I can’t imagine life without him. Anyway, who else would always give me the window seat on the 17 hour bus rides, or tolerate me in my hangry moods?! So, whilst there were no big celebrations on Tuesday, we compromised with beers, the most ridiculously over ordered Indian take away, and this cake.

Chocolate Guinness and Whiskey Cake

If you were to ask Andy which of my bakes is his favourite, he’ll always say my Guinness Cupcakes. I made them almost two years ago, but he still talks about them. He doesn’t really like sweet rich things (although you’d never guess this from the way he can devour an entire bag of wine gums in minutes!) so the deep tang of the Guinness cake suits him perfectly. There was, therefore, only one choice for his birthday this year. To make it a little more special, and a little more birthdayish, I added whiskey, one of the birthday boy’s favourite tipples.

Guinness layer cake with salted caramel sauce

 The recipe itself is a mishmash, inspired by several different recipes. The cake layers themselves are adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake. The salted whiskey caramel comes from Top With Cinnamon.

Guinness cake is a deliciously dark, black cake with a deep tang. Although I’ve called it a Chocolate Guinness cake, chocolate isn’t the main flavour here. The cocoa powder adds a depth of flavour, much like adding cocoa to chilli. You know its there, but its not an overpowering taste.

Guinness and Whiskey Layer Cake

The icing is light, complimenting that black moist cake beautifully.  It’s made with butter, cream cheese, and double cream. The result is fresh; Its not rich, and its not sickly. Its the perfect accompaniment to the dark, damp stickiness of the cake itself. I’ve added whiskey to the buttercream that sandwiches the cake together. Feel free to remove the whiskey, or add it to all of the buttercream for an extra whiskey hit! The layers of cake are soaked in a whiskey syrup making the cake extra boozy, extra sticky, and extra delicious.

The cake is finished off with a salted whiskey caramel sauce. I love the way the it runs down the edge of the cake, creating rich caramel rivers that pool on the cake stand.

Chocolate Guinness cake with salted whiskey caramel

So, my wonderful man, this ones for you. Happy, happy birthday. Here’s to another beautiful year of adventure.




– As the cakes are very damp and fragile to handle, it is best to cover your wire rack with a clean tea towel before placing the cakes onto them. This will stop the cake from sinking into the wires and becoming lined, or sticking to the rack.

– If want to reduce the amount of icing, you can half the recipe, then leave it at the crumb coating layer for a naked cake effect.  This looks really pretty too, I almost left it like this, but got too tempted by the extra icing! 

Chocolate Guinness and Whiskey Layer Cake {with Salted Whiskey Caramel}



(makes 1 large layer cake, feeds 12 – 15)

for the cake 

250ml Guinness

250g unsalted butter, cut into slices

75g cocoa powder

400g white caster sugar

142ml sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

275g plain flour

2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda


for the whiskey syrup 

50ml water

50ml caster sugar

25ml whiskey


for the icing 

500g full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature

100g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

300g icing sugar

300ml double cream

20ml whiskey


for the caramel sauce

250g caster sugar

300ml double cream

50g unsalted butter

3 teaspoons whiskey

1 teaspoon flakey sea salt



Begin by making the caramel sauce.

Heat the sugar in a large, heavy based pan. Swirl the sugar around in the pan to help it melt evenly. Don’t stir the sugar. In a separate pan, melt together the cream and butter.

Once the sugar is completely liquid, and turning a deep amber colour, carefully pour the melted cream and butter mixture into the sugar. Whisk to combine. Finally, whisk in the salt and whiskey. Sieve to remove any solid lumps of sugar, then set aside to cool. Once cooled, put into the fridge to set up a little.

Next, make the cakes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160 fan / 350F.

Grease and line 3 x 20cm round tins.

In a jug, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a large pan, gently heat the guinness and butter together until the butter has completely melted.

Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.

Next, pour in the sour cream and egg mixture. Whisk to combine.

Finally, whisk in the flour and baking powder.

Pour the mixture into your lined tins.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes are firm on top, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. The cakes will still look quite wet, take care not to over bake.

Leave to cool completely in the tins, then turn out onto a wire rack covered in a clean tea towel. The cakes are delicate, handle them very carefully.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the whiskey syrup. Heat the sugar and water in the pan until the water is boiling, and the sugar has dissolved. Add in the whiskey, and allow to bubble up for a few more minutes. Once the cakes are completely cooled, pour the whiskey syrup evenly over the layers, allowing the syrup to soak into the cakes.

To make the buttercream, cream the butter and cream cheese until pale and smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and beat to combine. Add the double cream, and whip the mixture until it becomes light and thick. When it is ready it will reach a spreadable consistency. Divide the icing in half, and stir the whiskey into one half of the icing.

Now, assemble the cake.

Take the first layer of the cake, and turn it upside down onto a plate or cake stand. Cover with a generous spoonful of the whiskey icing. Add the second layer of cake the right way up, and top with more icing. Top with the final layer of cake, putting it upside down. Cover with the remaining whiskey icing, spreading it all around the cake in a thin layer. This is the crumb coat. Put the cake into the fridge for at least half and hour to allow this crumb coat to firm up.

Frost the cake with the remaining half of the icing.

Take the caramel sauce and pour over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Store in the fridge to prevent the caramel sauce and creamy icing from melting.

Slice and enjoy!

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  1. 1. This sounds delicious. 2. Your photos are stunning for this! That is all 🙂 x

  2. This is SO beautiful – what stunning pictures. I’ve just returned from Dublin and feel like this cake is all I should be eating.

  3. this cake looks so gorgeous! I will definitely have to make this! Thank you for the lovely recipe.

  4. O.O This just looks amazing!…I can’t even,lol

  5. Peggy Munday says:

    Fantastic, I can’t wait to see what amazing things you do when planning your wedding cake!

  6. Oh good grief. A boozy cake. Yes, yes, yes!! Love it!

  7. Love the first two photos x

  8. Seriously, I think I found this years birthday cake for my husband, his usual request is a salted caramel & dark chocholate but I am quite sure this fellow countryman of yours will love a Malt Whisky cake. All the best, Nicole.


  1. […] think this cake is one of the ones I’m most happy with. It’s a Chocolate Guinness and Whiskey Cake topped with Salted Caramel. It was so deliciously moist, not too sweet, and nice and boozy! The […]

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