‘Irish Coffee’ Dessert Cake

The ‘Irish Coffee’ Dessert Cake with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream is the perfect dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Coffee Cake Dessert Slice on White Plate

St Patrick’s Day will be here soon and I’ve got enough Irish in me to start thinking about a celebration. This Irish Coffee Dessert Cake is perfect for a celebration.

This isn’t your standard coffee cake; meant for breakfast but not necessarily containing any coffee. This one is a dessert made with the flavors of Irish Coffee and that means there is some Irish Whiskey too!

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My Dad’s parents were German and Swiss; my Mom’s English and Irish. I tend to identify more with my German lineage but I’m happy to go Irish and eat their foods…I love them!

I’m republishing this post from several years ago. The first time around I shared it with friends in a group called Progressive Eats where everyone would make a dish according to a theme.

My buddy Liz from the blog That Skinny Chick Can Bake thought March would be a great opportunity to share some fantastic Irish dishes then. These are great for an Irish celebration but such delicious food it should be something on your plates all year round!

Over the years I’ve often made corned beef to celebrate the holiday (even if I used it for these Reuben Sandwiches) but discovered a few years ago that our idea of Irish food for St. Paddy’s day and the Irish idea of food for that day are diametrically opposite.

Corned beef is not their standard fare at all; take a peek at the dishes in our list below for a more delicious and authentic experience. For me, this Irish Colcannon with Bacon with Irish Whiskey Steak is unique and amazing and far more traditional in Ireland than corned beef and cabbage.

Finishing a meal with this cake would be perfect; it’s your dessert, coffee, and after dinner drink all wrapped up into this sweet ending.

Irish Coffee Cake Dessert on Tiffany Cake Platter

Irish Coffee itself, in its original form, is quite wonderful and can be served as a dessert libation however I certainly understand the need someone first had to incorporate that deliciousness into wonderful desserts of all kinds.

This ‘Irish Coffee’ Dessert Cake first started turning up in Irish cookbooks in the 1960’s and ’70’s. A cake rich with coffee is cooled and liberally soaked in an Irish Coffee syrup that permeates every morsel.

Topping this decadence with whipped cream that has been flavored with a touch more whiskey makes for a seriously divine ending to an Irish celebration.

No wait. To ANY celebration! I’ve made it several times and no one has ever told me they won’t eat it because I made it in a month other than March. ๐Ÿ™‚

Irish Coffee Cake Dessert on Plate with Bite on Forl

The cake itself is simple: a delicate one-layer sponge with an intense coffee flavor. But the real kick in this cake comes with the syrup that saturates it — more coffee, naturally with whiskey in it — and then it’s topped with whipping cream flavored with…yes, more whiskey!

To finish it all off, it’s sprinkled with that best-loved of Irish native nuts, the hazelnut. I toasted the hazelnuts and can’t imagine them any other way.

Be forewarned, this cake is amazing; dense, super saturated with coffee flavor and well, the whiskey…really what is there NOT to love?

Progressive Eats
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we’re sharing Irish or Green recipes in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. Youโ€™ll certainly find a delicious recipe to add to your repertoire! Our event is hosted by Liz who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake.  We have a full menu of dishes including appetizers, sides, an entree and desserts. Youโ€™ll certainly find a delicious recipe to add to your holiday table!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

St. Patrickโ€™s Day Recipes



Main Course

Veggies/Side Dish


PIN IT! Irish Coffee Dessert Cake with Whipped Cream and Hazelnuts’

Sliced of Irish Coffee Dessert Cake on a White Plate
'Irish Coffee' Cake with Irish Whiskey on a Tiffany Cake Platter

Irish Coffee Dessert Cake

A rich cake made with traditional Irish Coffee ingredients including Coffee, Irish Whiskey and Whipped Cream.
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Irish
Servings 8 Slices
Calories 501.79 kcal


For the Cake

  • โ…” cup butter
  • ยพ cup granulated sugar
  • ยพ cup all purpose flour
  • ยพ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 large eggs beaten

For the Coffee Syrup

  • ยพ cup espresso or strong coffee I made mine with instant espresso
  • ยพ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • ยผ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Irish Whiskey
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp hazelnuts, chopped and toasted for garnish


Prepare the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350ยฐ F. Butter an 8 or 9-inch cake pan, cut a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottom and butter the paper too.
  • Cream the butter and sugar well until light and fluffy: then add the eggs one at a time and continue beating after each until the whole mixture becomes very light.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; at low speed with the mixer fold two thirds of the dry mixture into the creamed butter, sugar and eggs.
  • Dissolve the instant coffee in the water and add it to the batter; then fold in the remaining 1/3 of the flour.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan, and smooth the top of the batter, leveling it out.
  • Bake for 25-40 minutes depending on the size of your cake pan, until the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the pan out onto a rack; remove the paper from the bottom and allow to cool. Wash the cake pan and dry carefully; it will be used again.

For the syrup

  • Heat the strong coffee and sugar together gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Irish whiskey.
  • Return the cooled cake to the pan and pour the syrup over it; leave it to soak for 2-3 hours.

For the topping

  • Whip the heavy cream til soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue beating until peaks are stiff.
  • Add the Irish whiskey and gently combine.
  • Turn the cooled cake out onto a serving plate, decorate with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the chopped/toasted hazelnuts. Chill well before serving.


PLEASE NOTE: All recipes on this site are made to work at sea level; if baking like I do at high altitude, you will have to modify your ingredients slightly per your altitude for good results.


Nutrition Facts
Irish Coffee Dessert Cake
Serving Size
1 Slice
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Irish coffee, whiskey, cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    1. This cake is SO good…I wondered if I should make it this year without having a party and then thought…oh shoot, I would have to eat the whole thing myself? YAY! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I made this for St. Paddys Day dessert to follow the Irish lamb stew we are having for dinner. I was disappointed to see the cake had fallen half way through the bake time (sad). I live at 7400 ft in Colorado and thought the recipe as written had been adjusted for high altitude based on changes I usually make myself. However, if the taste of the batter is any indication of what the final product will be there’s no worries! I only used half the syrup concoction to soak the cake and it seemed like plenty. The sunken spot in the middle of the cake will be easily disguised by piling the whipped topping on. Nothing wrong with lots of that! Our 2 grocery stores didnt have hazelnuts so I toasted sliced almonds instead. I have no doubt this dessert will knock everyones socks off tonight! Thank you for this amazing recipe and I plan on investigating your site more fully for other tasty goodness.

    1. Oh shoot Pam I apologize if I wasn’t clear and I’ll make sure I mention this…but I don’t post recipes that I’ve revised for high altitude. My audience is primarily the US, so I post them expecting them to work at sea level and then I have to fiddle on my own hoping I’ll have enough success here at 6200′ in Castle Rock. I’ve got some high altitude info included on the site for those having to revise but next time sounds like your fixes should be put into play. I actually had a bit of an issue myself having moving from Greenwood Village to Castle Rock; I had NO idea it was so much higher. Denver is really no biggie…but here? Yeah; I’m starting over. I know the syrup seems like a LOT and I even wondered if I had taken a misstep but I did it all and didn’t regret it but thinking I might try less next time; thanks for that tip.

      I am chuckling though because I never consider a fallen center a failure; I have posted several things in my history here that have a strategically placed glob of whipped cream or maybe a big spoonful of berries. For other those might be suggestions for garnishing; but hidden below you and I know it’s a sinkhole that needed disguising. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. That’s exactly what I did, piled the whipped cream thicker in the middle. The cake was a total success, everyone raved and devoured with gusto! This is such an impressive cake from taste to appearance, it’s just plain impressive! Forgot to mention I used the convection bake feature of my oven to allow for the most uniform baking. Next time I’ll dink with the sugar and flour or maybe add an extra egg to get better structure throughout. We all thank you for this marvelous dessert!

        1. You’re even higher than me Pam so you will have to do a bit of trial and we hope no more error. Whatever you might typically do when making a cake would work here…a bit more flour; a bit less sugar and leavening and a bit more liquid. You know, I’ve thought I should keep those notes and include them in a note on the recipe; others might like the high altitude changes I make too; at least as a starter. Still, delighted you loved it. I share a lot of the food I make with friends and neighbors. Don’t tell but I might have squirreled most of this away for ME!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Barb, I can’t imagine how you persist at high altitude baking – the challenges would stymie me. But I’m so glad that you do. This cake looks amazing and your description is making me wish I could heat up the oven and start to bake it right now!

    1. I really struggled when I first moved here but the truth is you just sort of get used to it or stop baking. Obviously I didn’t stop and now that I’m aware of being higher than I thought I’ll have a fix in place that should work the majority of the time. One way I can stand it? The low humidity summers honestly make up for it; no sticky, sweaty days…good trade! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh dear – coffee, whiskey, and chocolate topped with hazelnuts. There goes my carb-reducing diet plan! I would definitely make this and it’s the kind of cake that I would savor just a small slice of (twice a day :-))

    1. Thanks Liz…luckily I was a quick study on this one but it’s always a challenge. Some days I get a perfect round dome and other days…not so much. But it’s always delicious; that’s what matters, right?

  4. This is the first mention of St Baldrick’s that I’ve ever seen online. My son learned about it from a grad school friend whose nephew has a rare cancer and has been in and out of remission. Lots of barbers in NYC donate their time, and my son makes the 1-1/2 trip from southern NJ to get “scalped”, and has lots of sponsors, so that raises a bit. I’ve been wearing my Kelly green bracelet for years, and take every opportunity to let others know about the good work that this cause does. Maybe you could mention St Baldricks every few months or so. I’ll be happy to mail you a soapbox :).

  5. What a wonderful tradition and excellent cause. I admire you!

    Now about this irish coffee cake – It looks wonderful and I’m going to make this in your honor and now I’m off to click on those links!

    1. I love baking with a bit of booze; never enough to taste strong and overpowering but whiskey, sugar and butter are my mira pois. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great cause, fun – and timely! – recipe. Love the idea of this cake. Maybe because I just finished sampling the liquid Irish Coffee a couple of days ago? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good stuff – thanks.

  7. Thank you for sharing about this terrific cause and opportunity to join in, Barb! And I’m drooling over this cake… Thinking of you. xx

  8. Pinning! Love this recipe!

    I had to shave my head for brain surgery and alas even my husband refused to shave his in solidarity. So you are not alone in that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for bringing attention to a great cause.

  9. What a worthy cause, Barb! I hope they raise tons and tons of money to provide research to stop all types of cancer. I’d love to support this effort though I can’t say I’d shave my head, either.

    Love this ‘Irish Coffee’ Cake. How can you go wrong soaking something in Irish whiskey?

  10. You can’t go wrong with Kerrygold butter and Irish whiskey. I would love this cake! What a great cause to support, thanks for raising awareness.

  11. I want to thank everyone who participated and helped me realize a goal. This post didn’t just raise money for this wonderful organization but has increased awareness of the job they do to serve our greatest national treasure…our children.

    I know that people felt moved enough to donate, I’ll be donating $115 dollars to St. Baldrick’s Foundation today and I feel blessed that Sharon Miro (@nickelmoon on Twitter) generously offered to match my contribution so I know that my overall goal of $250 was exceeded with all of this support. Thanks to all of you!

  12. Barb,

    Absolutely love this post!!! What a wonderful organization and what a wonderful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s day! It’s because of people like you that so much progress has been made in the fight against childhood cancer.

    This cake sounds divine and just the kind of cake that I love. Have bookmarked the recipe for our “belated” St. Patrick’s day feast – I will be, of course, on the la Crosse field – LOL!!!

  13. Wonderful cause, and the cake looks great. Might have to try it, with some gluten-free flour of course. Best wishes to you.

  14. Very well written post, Barb. You should get into fundraising. You’d clean up!

    And if I had the patience for baking, I would certainly make this cake. I’m a sucker for coffee cake and lattes.

  15. What a wonderful thing you are doing here Barb. I would have left a comment regardless (your coffee cake looks amazing) but the fact that you’ll donate $1 because I’m doing so is even sweeter than your cake. I really think you should get your head shaved too, but I guess this will have to do ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. That’s such a noble cause and what great day and way to spread the awareness! I’m 100% behind you on this one Barb! U are doing a wonderful job! Will help u spread the word and plz let me know if I can help in some way, ‘cos I’d love to!
    BTW, that cake is as gorgeous as you and your heart ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I’ve been thinking a lot about coffee, dessert and booze, and BAM! you answer my thoughts. This is scary in a good good way. Love to you on St Patrick’s Day and love you for support such a great cause.

  18. What a beautiful cake! I have been on a bake and share spree so this will be a great cake to bake and share. Of course even better with this post it supports a good cause!

  19. What a beautiful cake/I will make mine for St. Paddy’s but it won’t be as pretty, but just as delicious. Good luck with this great cause!

  20. This looks so good. And St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner. What a way to spend the day. And such a good cause too.

  21. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! What a wonderful way to celebrate! And that Irish Coffee Cake looks like the perfect addition to the day. Thanks for sharing such a good cause w/ us.

  22. I didn’t see this until Ash Wednesday. Drat! But if you’re still counting comments, here’s another. So generous of you.

  23. That cake sounds scrumptious. Definitely think I’m going to have to try making it. And on top of it, what an awesome way to tie it into charity. Nice one Barb!

  24. Thank you for sharing and donating! It is a truly great cause. It’s all bad, but when kids have to suffer, it is just desvastating. God Bless you.

  25. Cheers to a great looking cake recipe!
    However, I’d like to raise my glass highest to your cause!
    A toast to those children who deserve our very best!

    I’m considering shaving my head.
    If I don’t get up the guts to do it, I’ll definitely be making a donation.

    Thanks for sharing this, Barbara!


  26. I’ve shaved my head- for surgery- and I must confess I’m never going back if I can avoid it. ๐Ÿ™‚ But leaving a comment is a no brainer. You are super generous to be doing this- and the photos you shared of the kids are gorgeous.

    Love the cake, love Irish coffee.

  27. Saw your twitter. Was curious. Came to site. Glad I did. Great idea and charity and the cake looks like I will give it a go. (I live near Dublin, GA so I am always looking for St.Pat’s recipes. Hope this helps you get to $250:)

  28. The cake looks wonderful and sounds like it would taste wonderful, too. My family usually meets at my brother’s Irish-themed restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day, where I almost always have the Guinness Irish stew.

    This is a great cause and you’re running a very generous fundraiser.

  29. Anything that involves coffee, I’ll eat. And anything that involves donating to a good cause, I’ll help spread the word.

    Your kindness, generosity, and sweet spirit make me proud to know you and call you a friend. Great work, Barb!

  30. Very generous gesture on your part. Such a kind way to celebrate the spirit of St Patrick’s Day. The Irish Coffee Cake looks dreamy~

  31. I love everything about your cake – if I decide to indulge in sweets, this would be the dessert of choice: coffee, chocolate, and booze:)
    I get to experience the Irish only through about 1/8th of my husband’s ancestry, but we’ll probably do something to mark the day.
    I admire you so much for doing this and I hope that you reach 250 comments, and the foundation reaches their goal:)
    Those kids are precious (our youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 6, and I consider us lucky, even though we have to battle her disease every single day).

  32. What a lovely post and tribute to all those fighting, surviving, lost and contributing!
    And since my name is *Patti* I do believe I know a good St. Patty’s Day post when I read one! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for contributing to the fight against cancer.

  33. My husband shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s last year. It’s a great cause! (Your cake looks yummy too, btw… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  34. Congratulations on working for such a great cause. I’m happy to comment here to help out. I love your Irish Coffee Cake and you’re right, how could you not use Kerry Gold Irish Butter;-)

  35. I am printing this off now and will try it this weekend! Great cause, thanks for bringing attention to it!

  36. Sounds like a fun way to raise money for a great cause. When I worked for Make A Wish I was always amazed at the strength of these kids and their families. Good luck!

  37. You are so wonderful to do this. What a great write-up of a fantastic cause not to mention a delicious recipe. Hope you reach your $250 goal for all the kids’ and their family’s sake.

  38. Ummm yes… you have to finish it today!!! Wonderful post – am forwarding along to my sister who lives in Denver… That cake looks delish!!!

  39. Barb, this is such a fantastic idea, and for a wonderful cause. I’m involved in a similar charitable fund-raising event. I may have to “borrow” your idea! Cheers to you. Will RT this. xo

  40. Thank you for posting up a link for donations so those of us who are not local can help too. Hope you make your comment quota. That cake looks AMAZING! Can’t wait to make it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Nope, not gonna shave my head either but hope you make your comment quota. Myself – I’m gonna make the cake! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. While I’m not an Irish Coffee fan because there’s usually too much whiskey in it, I can get behind any dessert with alcohol in it. And Whiskey Whipped Cream? I’m in. This is a wonderful cause and I’m so happy to help you donate to it.

  43. you, my dear sweet friend, are a total rock star!! i hope you make your goal of 250 comments – i’m not going to shave my head either but i AM going to be cheering you on AND i’ll be tweeting the hell out of this post! big, BIG hugs, Barb! xo

  44. That is way better than my idea of knocking back the whiskey and licking a cake. And your kindness is heartwarming. Will share as soon as I stop wishing I were eating that NOW. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. This is wonderful, Barb. I love it when bloggers use their powers for good. I’m bookmarking the recipe, too. Love Irish coffee, and in a cake it must be lovely!

  46. That looks absolutely yummy. Although I am not a fan of commercially flavored Irish Coffee per se, I love to try new recipes and like to use coffee in cooking as it adds a real depth to the flavor of things. This is a fantastic cause and such a great idea to do this!!

  47. How could I pass up a great cause like this? What a wonderful thing to do, Barbara! I’ll continue to RT, too. The cake? Icing on the cake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. I always thought you were a special lady…this just confirms how cool you are. Such a sweet and generous idea. You know my thoughts on cancer. God bless those children and I pray they all get better:)

  49. Wow! That looks so good – I can’t wait to try it this year. Love coffee and love the extra “adult” drink added to it – who wouldn’t love it?! It’s wonderful that you are making this post a way to make donations to St. Baldrick’s. Good luck reaching 250 comments!

  50. My company is having a huge event around St. Baldrick’s on this Friday.

    I’m going to make this for my team on Friday morning and sell slices with proceeds going to St. Baldrick’s!

    Thanks for posting this.


  51. Years ago–so long I hesitate to say–I would go, at least 3 times a week to the in Cliff House San Francsico to watch the seals and drink Irish Coffee. I miss that time, and the Irish Coffee, so I loved the idea of this cake…and I love the fact that you have associated this delectable cake with such a worthy cause. Thanks for the alert!

  52. Good for you! I’m more than happy to comment for such a fantastic cause. If you’d be ok with it, I’d also love to feature that stunning Irish Coffee Cake as party of St. Patrick’s Day round-up I’m hosting (more info here: http://www.thedailyspud.com/2011/02/27/crisp-sandwich-st-patricks-day/). It’d be great to have even more people read about St. Baldrick’s and maybe get involved in some way (not to mention having them enjoy your fabulous cake).

  53. What a great looking cake you have there, Missy! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’re a lot of fund raisers for St. Baldrick’s around here–lots of radio stations sponsor places where you can go in a get a “quick shave.” I will def. share this post–hope you get tons of comments!

  54. This cake looks amazing, and I’d have told you so anyway, but…as it is I have never been happier to leave a comment. What a wonderful and generous idea!

  55. Barb, are you sure you don’t want to shave your hair off? That would be something. No, I understand and wouldn’t do it either. Baking a cake sounds also more like me. Or, eating, I would love to try this cake. Is it only for an evening dessert with all the whiskey in it?
    I will check out their website right now. Thanks for spreading the word, Barb.

  56. What a wonderful thing you’re doing Barb! I won’t shave my head, as to scare off the natives wouldn’t be good, but I will support you and your cause! I’m sure we can make a donation and I can certainly tweet this up to get more people here!

    Let’s hope for 250 comments!

  57. What a great cause, great cake and great idea. I just checked the St. Baldrick’s website and they have now raised just over $95,000 and have 258 “shavees” signed up for Friday’s event.

    I am going to make this cake in honor of you, Barbara Kiebel, and your generosity and pure class.

    Thank you,

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