Glory Be To Guinness, A Baker's Best Friend

When it comes time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, soda bread, bacon and cabbage, and Guinness probably rise to the top of the holiday menu. And why not? These iconic dishes are among the most popular for the Irish worldwide, and one more recipe, like this oatmeal and stout cake, is never one-too-many! Its origin is mysterious at best. It goes by a variety of names, but the ingredients are generally the same whether it’s called Scots-Irish, Guinness-Oatmeal, or Brown Sugar-Oatmeal Cake. Some cooks like to serve it with vanilla or brown bread ice cream, but since the topping is quite sweet, I prefer to serve it more simply with fresh strawberries. Hope you enjoy it for your holiday meal. Happy St. Patrick’s Day / Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig! You’ll find recipes like this in my newest cookbook “Favorite Flavors of Ireland.” Order signed copies at



For the cake

1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) Irish oatmeal

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup Guinness

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

For the topping

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Fresh strawberries, for serving (optional)


  1. Make cake. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, water, and Guinness; let stand for 20 minutes. In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in flour mixture, and then stir in oatmeal mixture.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack.
  5. Make topping. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and cream. Bring slowly to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in pecans and coconut until blended and then spread over top of cake.
  6. Preheat broiler. Put cake on a rack 4 inches from heat source and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until topping is browned and bubbling. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 to 2 hours, or until topping is set. To serve, release sides of pan and cut cake into slices. Serve with strawberries, if desired.

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Tags: Guinness, Irish kitchen, cooking, cuisine, desserts, recipes, stout


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