Baking with Whisky: Irish-Coffee Cake

The Irish Coffee has been a beloved cocktail for ages, and for good reason. Combining Irish whiskey, coffee, sugar, and cream is a surefire way to guarantee a delicious drink. But what if this luxurious libation was transformed into a cake? In their cookbook “Whiskey in the Kitchen,” Emanuel and Madeline Greenberg did just that with this scrumptious recipe for an Irish-Coffee cake. 

Not to be mistaken with traditional American coffee cake, which typically has a cinnamon crumble and is best served with a cup of coffee, this cake is based on the aforementioned cocktail. With instant coffee powder, Irish whiskey, heavy cream, chocolate bits, and even chocolate-covered coffee or espresso beans, this recipe captures every delicious flavor of the Irish Coffee. Plus, while you can make your own sponge cake for the recipe, it can be made easier by purchasing one ahead of time—you can go for a standard sponge cake, a bundt cake, or even double down on the mocha flavors by using a chocolate sponge cake.

Whether you’re looking for a delectable St. Patrick’s Day dessert or you’re craving Irish Coffee flavors, this recipe is sure to please. For extra indulgence, whip up an Irish Coffee to drink alongside a slice!

Recipe: Irish-Coffee Cake

Yield: 6 to 8 slices

  • ¾ cup water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder
  • ⅓ cup Irish whiskey
  • 8-inch sponge cake
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. semisweet chocolate bits, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. chocolate-covered coffee or
    espresso beans
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted blanched almond slivers

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Stir in instant coffee powder and Irish whiskey. Remove from heat and cool. Set cake on a large piece of aluminum foil. Slowly drizzle syrup on top.

Wrap cake in foil and let stand for about three hours until syrup is absorbed. Unwrap and place cake on a serving plate.

Whip heavy cream until stiff and stir in melted chocolate. Spread over top and sides of cake. Garnish with coffee-bean candies and toasted almonds and serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Whisky Selector

When picking your whiskey you want to stay on theme. Reach for something Irish and you’ll be on your way.


Jameson Cold Brew90 points, 30% ABV, $25
This cold brew-infused flavored whiskey has notes of cacao, praline, and dark toffee.



Tyrconnell 16 year old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask-Finished92 points, 46% ABV, $100
With honey, lemon sherbet, and caramel notes, this dram is surprisingly sweet.



Redbreast 12 year old96 points, 40% ABV, $60
Baking notes abound here, including toasted marshmallow, nougat, toffee, maple syrup, and banana bread.

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