Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting


Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting |

Comparison is the thief of joy.

That quote has been playing over and over in my head lately. There was a discussion in one of my blogging groups about comparing yourself to others, how you always feel like you’re running behind the pack to keep up with the latest trends, the posting schedule, the social media, everything we bloggers do and more. And just when you think you’re doing everything you can to stay current, you start peeking at other bloggers and think, I’m not posting enough. My photographs aren’t good enough. My blog isn’t good enough. Then you start losing sight of why you’re really blogging in the first place. Comparison is the thief of joy. So today, I am putting my blinders on and sharing my first attempt at frosting this Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting because if I start comparing my, uh, impeccable decorating skills, then I’d never frost a cake again.

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting |

Last year, I made Nigella Lawson’s Guinness cake and loved every bite of it. I decided to mini-fy it into a layered cake. Except I had envisioned two layers and not three. Oops. Want to know how easy it is to bake the cake layers? I made it twice in one night. The first time, I overfilled my pans, so I cut the recipe down even more and still got three layers. Meanwhile, it’s 11 PM and managed to start over and be in bed by midnight. Except it was 1 AM because of the time change.

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting |

This Mini Layered Guinness Cake was my first attempt at frosting where presentation actually mattered (well, there is the ice cream cake I suppose). Most of the time, it’s just my parents and brother eating the cake, so as long as frosting made it on top, they really don’t care how it looked. I could probably serve a slice of cake in a bowl with a scoop of frosting (much like ice cream), and they’d still be happy. But to decorate a cake to show off to the world? Talk about (delicious) pressure.

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting

I envisioned my Guinness cake with a messy look, especially after pinning this How To Perfectly Frost A Messy Cake tutorial awhile back. It looked simple enough, and if I didn’t do a perfect job, well it is called a messy cake for a reason. I tried adding sprinkles to the top but didn’t like the look, so I scraped them off and refrosted. That’s one benefit of having a messy cake look. Also, it is much easier to decorate on the cake stand itself. Just put small pieces of wax or parchment paper underneath the edges of the cake. Once you are done, carefully remove the pieces.

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting |

The frosting is to DIE for. I first made it from Baked’s third book when I made my parent’s anniversary banana cake. This definitely deserved an “ermahgerd moment” and will be my go-to chocolate frosting to spread onto cakes. I added Bailey’s Irish Cream to complement the Guinness cake. The bad part is the frosting doesn’t do well in the fridge (it hardens because that is what ganache does when it is cold). However, if it is warm outside and you do need to refrigerate the cake, bring it to room temperature before serving.

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting |
The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

So maybe I’m not the best decorator in the world. And maybe I do fall behind on keeping up with comments, social media, posting multiple times a week, etc. but you know what? Comparison isn’t going to steal my joy (or my cake).

Yields 4-

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting
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1/4 cup Guinness beer
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Ganache Frosting
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
2 teaspoons Bailey's Irish Cream


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease three 4-inch springform pans and place onto a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the Guinness and butter until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in cocoa, sugar, sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Sift in flour and baking soda.
  3. Divide the batter among the three pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  4. For the frosting:
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped chocolate. Set aside.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  7. Once cool, gradually beat in the butter until the frosting is smooth and silky. Beat in Irish cream.
  8. To assemble:
  9. Run a knife around the inside rim of each springform pan then remove the cake from the pans. Cut just enough of each top off to create a flat top.
  10. On a cake stand or plate, place one cake layer. Place a few strips of parchment or wax paper underneath the edges of the cake (you will be pulling them out later). With an off-set spatula, add some of the frosting on top and spread evenly. Add another cake layer and more frosting on top. Add the final layer. Add enough frosting to thinly cover the top and outside of the cake (it is ok to still see the cake through the frosting. This seals the crumbs for clean frosting later). Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove from the refrigerator. Wipe off the spatula to remove crumbs. Finish frosting the rest of the cake (to get the messy look, use the back of a spoon to swirl). Serve at room temperature*.


*The frosting will harden when refrigerated, so leave the cake out at room temperature. If you must refrigerate, let it warm to room temperature before serving.

Sources: Adapted from Nigella Lawson and Baked Elements
If you enjoyed my Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting, then you may also like these recipes:

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Irish Cream CupcakesIrish Cream Swirl Brownies

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  1. Uhhhh…. I have to try it with Portuguese beer… %)

  2. I’ve been waiting to see what you’d come up with! And now I want this in my tummy. :D

  3. I love it. This type of “decorating” is my favorite because it looks the most yummy. And it makes me want to keep dipping my finger into it. ;)

  4. You do not need blinders, lady! This frosting is gorgeous-I love how cute this cake is!

  5. I sure don’t want to compare, but I sure do want to steal your cake.

    I haven’t had Bailey’s in forever and the flavor your writing evokes in my head is just delicious.

    Thanks, Carla!

  6. I love the look of a messy cake. This cake looks so appealing. I absolutely love guinness in chocolate cake and of course who doesn’t love Bailey’s?! I think your photographs are beautiful! :)

  7. I say, you’re making the wrong comparisons. Looking at my pathetic decorating attempts should bring you all kinds of joy!! This cake looks DELICIOUS. Any chance you could put an entire cake in the mail?

  8. There are so many things to comment on with this post, Carla. First of all – I love the quotes. They are too true. I’m always comparing myself to others, not only in blogging but in my life overall. Someone else is a better lawyer, someone else has a better body, other people are smarter, funnier, etc. And of COURSE I feel inferior in the blogging world, with my free, generic wordpress site, low stats, and beginner’s photography. But you’re right – comparing myself to others is a fruitless, negative exercise. Instead, we should concentrate on our strengths. Like your magical abilities in the kitchen to make stunning desserts like this cake. It looks fabulous. And you, lady, of all people, shouldn’t feel the need to compare yourself to anyone. I look up to you, I admire you, I think you kick ass. Now go have some more cake! And frosting. Definitely more frosting.

    • Oh everyone has a better body ;) And don’t feel inferior! We all started out with free generic sites, low stats, and beginner’s photography. Seriously, just look at my posts from the first four years or so haha I wish we could bake together.

  9. WOW! You know how to party!

  10. Your cake is fantastic,Carla. I appreciate your quote and the sentiments expressed. However, your le mini layered gateau is gorgeous. (And that is why I’m pinning it onto the Ninja Baker’s Great Gateaux and Cakes.)

  11. Thanks for the reminder – it definitely encourages me to focus on my post alone and ignore the rest. Well, you know what I mean, especially being a newbie. Let’s switch to this cake – how could I miss this one! I must say this looks sooooo awesome, can’t wait to try this and I’m sure the frosting is awesome!

  12. I would love to make this recipe! Is this particular recipe compatible with cupcake, instead of the mini cake?
    Thanks in Advance

    • Yes it is! I’ve made it in cupcake form once. If you make it as written, it’ll make roughly 6 cupcakes. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  13. I made this as mini bundt cakes for a New Years Eve adult desert. We loved it sooooo much, I wish I knew how to turn it into a big cake! Thanks for this recipe.

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