Irish coffee cake

While working at the Uplands student nation I had the chance to go to Beer and Whiskey Festival and the experience was amazing! It was there where I realized that there are whiskeys that I like and it was also there where I tried a proper Irish Coffee for the first time. It was made by an Irish bartender and served the way it’s supposed to, without a straw.

Preparing the coffee is almost like a ritual. Several small steps and attention to the details are combined to create the ultimate coffee based cocktail. The bartender was kind enough to explain to us each step of the process without holding any secrets.

A few months later I started thinking about turning an Irish coffee into a cake. Weirdly enough I couldn’t find many similar cakes online, so I got very curious. There are a lot of recipes for coffee flavored cakes and even more for cakes using whiskey mixed into chocolate, but I wanted to taste the combination of both.

Chocolate ganache

So I started coming up with a recipe using the same ingredients as the Irish coffee drink: Whiskey, filtered coffee, brown sugar and cream. There were, however, challenges that I had to overcome:

  • Filtered Coffee: Most of the recipes use instant coffee or instant espresso powder and not an actual cup of coffee, which is the base of the Irish coffee. As my mother always says, in pastries you should never break the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. So I had to reduce the amount of eggs and milk in the basic sponge cake recipe, in order to create space for the liquid coffee.

  • Accent the coffee flavor: The coffee flavor usually gets lost in a cake. So I added some spices to make the coffee flavor stronger: Cocoa powder complements and brings out the coffee flavor, while also acting as a link between the coffee sponge cake and the chocolate ganache. A bit of salt blends and elevates all the flavors together. Finally, cinnamon gives a nice aroma that matches the coffee.

  • Brown suggar: The recipe for Irish coffee calls for brown sugar. However, white sugar is needed for creating a fluffy sponge cake. Thus whisking a bit of granulated sugar with eggs to stiff peaks and adding brown sugar at the end will create the base for an airy sponge cake with the flavor of the brown sugar.




Sponge cake
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Melted butter
  • 1 cup Coffee
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • ~1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
Chocolate ganache
  • 250gr Dark Chocolate
  • 250ml Heavy cream
  • 12cl Irish whiskey
Whipped cream
  • 200ml Heavy cream
  • 1dl Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract


Chocolate ganache
  1. Finely chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl.
  2. Warm the cream until barely simmering.
  3. Pour the cream on top of the chocolate and let it rest for 3-5 mins.
  4. Add the whiskey.
  5. Whisk until everything is fully mixed.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the ganache.
  7. Let it cool in room temperature until it thickens up. (Approx 4-5 hours)
Sponge cake
  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  2. In a bowl, add the eggs and the granulated sugar and whisk to stiff peaks.
  3. Mix in the brown sugar.
  4. Add the melted butter, the coffee, and the yogurt and mix until everything is incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl add the flour, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  7. Finally mix the vanilla extract in the mixture.
  8. Butter and dust with flour a 22cm round baking form.
  9. Pour the mixture in the form.
  10. Bake for ~30mins.
  11. Let it cool down at room temperature.
Whipped cream
  1. In a bowl add the heavy cream, the sugar and the vanilla, and whisk to stiff peaks.
  2. Be careful not to over-beat the cream because it will be more difficult to spread on the cake.
  1. Cut the sponge cake in half forming two equal disks.
  2. Spread the ganache on top of one half of the cake.
  3. Cover with the other half.
  4. Spread the whipped cream evenly around and on top of the cake.


  • For a more glossy chocolate cream you can whisk in 50gr of butter at the end.
  • If you don’t like dark chocolate, replace part of it with milk chocolate, but you should reduce the heavy cream relative to the amound of milk chocolate.
  • If you prefer a thicker chocolate ganache, cool the ganache in the fridge. The result will be similar to a chocolate spread.
  • On the contrast, if you prefer a fluffier ganache, whisk the ganache until fluffy, and keep it at room temperature.
  • You can check if the cake is ready using a toothpick: Insert the toothpick into the cake, and if it comes out clean the cake is ready. However, avoid opening the oven door often while it’s being baked, as it may cause your cake to fall.

Irish coffee (Bonus)


  • 3/4 cup Filtered coffee (hot)
  • 5cl Irish whiskey
  • 1/2dl Heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Brown sugar


  1. Fill a glass with warm water to preheat the glass.
  2. Whisk the heavy cream until thick. Not whipped, nor to stiff peaks. You are looking for a runny thick consistency.
  3. Empty the warm water.
  4. Add the coffee, the whiskey, and the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Place the spoon upside down in the glass so the tip touches the coffee, and pour the cream on the back of the spoon to form a layer of cream on top of the coffee.
  6. Drink while hot directly from the glass, and enjoy the hot coffee and the cold cream in the same sip.
  7. Do NOT use a straw to drink the Irish coffee.

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