Black Velvet cake: A wonderful marriage of chocolate and Guinness

Whether you like or loathe stout, I guarantee you’ll be partial to a slice of this dessert

Stout is a beautiful ingredient that lends itself well to desserts, as its bitterness pairs perfectly with so many flavours. Chocolate and Guinness is a wonderful marriage and I have used it as a combination in various forms over the last number of years. The patriotic side of me had to include Guinness in some form coming up to St Patrick’s Day, and like it or loathe it, I guarantee you’ll be partial to a slice of this cake.

Black Velvet is a cocktail comprised of half stout and half champagne; the stout providing silky, velvety, and bitter notes, coupled with dry bubbly champagne it makes for an interesting and distinctive beverage.

While purists may claim diluting either of these beverages to be sacrilege, turning them into cake form is a different kettle of fish altogether; it works.

This is a four-layered chocolate Guinness cake sandwiched together with a lightly spiked champagne buttercream. The result? A rich and luscious chocolate sponge cake tinged with a sparkly frosting. Use whatever stout or sparkling wine you like.


This Guinness sponge is a favourite of mine; it is deeply rich and chocolatey, with bitter undertones from the stout, and a slight tang and wonderful moistness from the sour cream. You can half the recipe to make a two-layered cake if you prefer, and substitute yoghurt for sour cream if that is what you have to hand.

The buttercream brings a level of luxury to the cake; it is silky and creamy with lovely dry notes. To really inject a deep champagne flavour without adding lots of liquid which would loosen the buttercream, I make a champagne reduction by simmering in a saucepan for about five minutes, until it reduces and is almost syrupy.

This really concentrates the flavour, and when added to a classic butter and icing sugar buttercream, adds flavour while keeping the buttercream beautifully fluffy and thick. Bear in mind, your champagne reduction needs to be added to the buttercream once cool or at room temperature. If it is added hot, you’ll end up with a soupy, buttery mess.

Both recipes here for the chocolate Guinness sponge and champagne buttercream are solid recipes in their own right; change it up by serving your sponge cake with Baileys, chocolate or cream cheese frosting, and use the champagne buttercream to top lemon, vanilla or raspberry cupcakes for a decadent treat or for a special occasion.

This Black Velvet cake will keep well for up to a few days, it freezes well too; just slice it up into individual portions to freeze.

Recipe: Black Velvet cake