Serving Guinness the right way

The Irish were clever enough to invent a meal in liquid form — Guinness.

It is often joked "The Black Stuff" is served in the wrong way; rather than in a pint glass, it should be served with a knife and fork. "It is the only drink you have to chew" is a comment often made about "Irish champagne".

Well, this recipe takes that quip or critique, and assumes it to be a suggestion — take Guinness and turn it into an actual food.

The hardest bit about this recipe is actually going to be finding some Guinness to use. It turns out Lion Breweries have the rights to brew the ebony nectar, but only into kegs. If you search for a bottle or can, you will be hard pressed to find one. If you have a friendly pub, they might let you take a pint of the "black custard" home to cook with. If you cannot find Guinness specifically, this recipe will work just as well with any stout or dark beer.

 - Kevin Gilbert is co-owner of Gilbert’s Fine Food in Dunedin. He is a trained chef and baker who also runs cooking classes. If you have a question, email him at


For the cake:

400g butter

130g cocoa

200g dark beer

330g flour

8g (3tsp) baking soda

500g sugar

200g (approx. 4) eggs

200g sour cream


1. Melt the butter then whisk in the cocoa powder and beer and put to one side.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and sugar.

3. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until combined, then add the butter mixture and stir or whisk until smooth.

4. Divide evenly into 2 greased, 20cm cake tins.

5. Bake at 180degC for at least 45 minutes. If possible, do not use the fan forced setting — otherwise, drop the temperature to 170degC.

6. They are ready when a knife can be poked into the centre of the cake and come out clean.

Now, you can leave it there if you like. You will have a moist, chocolatey cake with a sort of crisp and chewy crust.

However, if you want to go to the next level you can put a little extra on top. Sort of like the head on a "pint of gat", a wee creamy cap on the cake can take it from great to outstanding.

White chocolate and cream cheese icing

200g white chocolate

125g butter, softened

225g cream cheese

200g icing sugar


1. Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.

2. While it’s melting, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.

3. Add in the cream cheese and continue beating.

4. Finally, add the melted chocolate and — you guessed it — continue beating.

5. Keep beating until everything is combined, there are no lumps and the mix is light and creamy.

Stack the two cakes on top of each other, using some Nutella or chocolate ganache to glue them together.

Spread the icing over the top in whatever fashion you see fit. Trust me, the contrast of the dark chocolate cake and the light icing will look amazing, no matter what.

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