Irish Coffee Cake with Irish Whiskey and Espresso

I first published this post a couple of years ago and thinks it’s worth sharing again. Yes, this is now something that hits closer to home but it also hits family’s everywhere and I’ve long had such great respect for what St. Baldrick’s does in the fight against cancer; I did a fundraiser for them then, now I’m asking that everyone give a little (or a lot!).

St Patrick’s Day will be here soon and I’ve got enough Irish in me to start thinking about a celebration. Not a big party but an opportunity to pay homage to a part of my ancestry (My Dad’s parents were German and Swiss; my Mom’s English and Irish). I’ll usually make corned beef for dinner, have an Irish dessert and occasionally meet some friends for a pint of Guinness but the last few years I’ve made an annual effort to spend my time and money in support of a local event and it’s all for a worthy cause.

Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant in Denver (1735 19th St. downtown) celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a full week of festivities. In addition to the annual celebration on the day of the Denver Parade and on St. Patrick’s Day, Fadó’s hosts an annual charity event organized by St. Baldrick’s Foundation; this year being held on March 15, 2013.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds to cure kids’ cancer by supporting cancer research and fellowships. Those getting their heads shaved will be enthusiastically cheered on by crowds of friends, family, doctors, nurses, children and others who have been touched by cancer in hopes to further awareness that pediatric cancer, the number one disease killer of children, is terribly under-funded.

So I’m calling on you to get involved. Either shave your head, volunteer, eat or donate, but give hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers. Visit St. Baldrick’s website to learn how to be a shavee, support a team or donate in general. If you’re not local and want to help, find a local event or donate online; kids deserve the very best from us to kick this deadly disease!

I admit, I am not getting my head shaved but I can help to spread the word and you can too. My hope is that everyone will read this article, feel compelled as well and go make a donation! Help give kids a chance to live a cancer free life at the very least.

And so that you can celebrate in style…here’s my recipe for Irish Coffee Cake. To be certain of what you’re getting into, this is not Irish ‘Coffee Cake’ – nope it’s ‘Irish Coffee’ Cake. A cake made with coffee and Irish Whiskey and Irish Whiskey whipped cream on top to mimic an Irish Coffee!

Irish Coffee itself, in its original form, is quite wonderful. But I understand the need to incorporate something so wonderful into desserts of all kinds. One of the most successful of these is Irish Coffee Cake, which first started turning up in Irish cookbooks in the 1960′s and ’70′s.

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 the cake — more coffee, naturally with whiskey in it — and then topped with whipping cream flavored with…yes, more whiskey! To finish sprinkle with that best-loved of Irish native nuts, the hazelnut. I toasted the hazelnuts and can’t imagine it without…and be forewarned; this cake is amazing.

‘Irish Coffee’ Cake and a Great Cause for Children – St. Baldrick’s Foundation

A rich cake made with traditional Irish Coffee ingredients including Coffee, Irish Whiskey and Whipped Cream.


For the Cake:

2/3 cup butter - I used Kerrygold Irish Butter of course! 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup all purpose flour 3/4 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt 3 teaspoons instant espresso 2 Tbsp hot water 2 large eggs, beaten

For the Coffee Syrup:

2 Tbsp hot water 3/4 cup strong coffee (I made mine with instant espresso) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey

For the Whipped Topping:

4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey 1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped 4 Tbsp chopped, toasted hazelnuts for garnish


Prepare the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, cut a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottom and butter the paper. 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; then at low speed with the mixer, or by hand if you prefer, 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 35-40 minutes, until the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the cake pan. Carefully turn the pan out onto a rack; remove the paper from the bottom and allow to cool. While it's out, wash the cake pan or springform pan and dry carefully. You'll need it again shortly.

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.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 8-10