Super Bowl Recipe Challenge: Chocolate Stout Cake vs. Guinness Gingerbread

Guinness cakeWe're getting ready for the showdown between the New England Patriots and New York Giants by cooking up some crowd pleasing football party foods in our Super Bowl Recipe Challenge. Each day we'll be pitting two delicious recipes against each other and declaring one a winner. Join us today as we make Guinness cake.

We've already tested recipes for onion dip, spinach dip, quesadillas, guacamole, chili, and burgers and saved the best for last: dessert. Here's a question: Is there any better combination for Super Bowl Sunday than Guinness beer and cake? Answer: Not a chance.

In search of the best Guinness cake to serve on Sunday, I test-drove two recipes: Nigella Lawson's Guinness Gingerbread and Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Stout Cake. Any guesses as to which one turned out better?


My roommates and coworkers tasted the stout cake and gingerbread, and the result was ... dead even! Those who preferred chocolate loved the stout cake, while those who liked fluffier, more spicy desserts couldn't get enough of the gingerbread. It really came down to personal taste, so you can't lose if you choose either one.

The deciding factor for me was how easy it was to make the gingerbread (as you can see from the photos below). All you needed was a pot and a whisk. No need to get out your mixer or double-broiler for this one. So if you want an easy, tasty, Guinness-y dessert, I say go for Nigella's Gingerbread! Check it out:


  • 1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
  • 1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's) -- I was able to find this at Whole Foods, and it's available in the UK section of international markets
  • 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 rectangular aluminium foil pan or cake pan, approximately 13 by 9 by 2-inches


1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

2. Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon, and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat.

3. Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

4. Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

5. Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it's ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

6. Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

Guinness gingerbread

I'll fully admit -- this butter, syrup, sugar, beer, ginger, cinnamon, and ground clove mixture smelled absolutely amazing. It reminded me of winter and Christmas and football and fireplaces and afghans all at the same time.

Guinness gingerbread

This recipe is really so simple. All you have to do is put all the ingredients in a pot over low heat and whisk the crap out of it. Though pouring it into the pan had me worried since it was soooo liquidy.

Guinness gingerbread

Here's the gingerbread fresh out of the oven. Due to the watery consistency of the batter, I thought it'd come out a sloppy mess, but it rose and looked perfect!

Guinness gingerbread

Here's the final product with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Of course, the Chocolate Stout Cake was pretty heavenly, too. To make the cake, I did have to use a pot, mixer, and makeshift broiler (putting a bowl on a pot halfway filled with water) for the ganache, so it was a little time-consuming but delicious and well worth it!

Also be sure to grease the Bundt pan as much as you can -- all those nooks and crannies can be tough to coat, and you don't want any pieces of the cake sticking to the pan (but don't worry if it's not perfect, you can cover it up with ganache later).

Here's the final product!

Guinness cake


I should let you in on the fact that both recipes only require 1 cup of Guinness, so the beer taste doesn't come out all that much. If you really want to taste the bitter flavors of the beer, go for a stronger-tasting stout.

And if you don't want to go on the hunt for Lyle's syrup (which was pretty delicious, by the way), you can substitute 3/4 cup molasses and 1/4 cup corn syrup instead!

More from The Stir:

In Our Salsa Face-Off, Only One Is Good Enough for the Super Bowl

This Tortilla Chip Scored the Big Win in Our Taste Test

4 Best Chicken Wings Chains That Deliver for the Super Bowl

Happy baking! Which are you making for dessert?


Images via Jill Baughman

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