Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

Posted by on Mar 9, 2022 in alcohol, Blog, boozy, Bready or Not, breakfast, cake | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

Irish Coffee Coffee Cake! Yes, the word “Coffee” is intentionally in this recipe’s name twice. That’s because it’s a coffee cake that includes coffee, and also a nip of whiskey, because why not?

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

I can tell you why the whiskey should be there–because it adds a fresh zip of flavor to an already delicious cake.

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

This is a recipe that take some effort. It dirties a lot of dishes. However, it’s also a special cake that looks and tastes like it required that extra effort.

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

Really, this is a cake to make to impress guests or for a brunch or a birthday or holiday event. I’m posting it over a week in advance of St. Patrick’s Day so that some folks can perhaps throw it together this weekend! Note that this cake freezes very well, too.

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

When I do recipes that include alcohol, I inevitably get asked: what did you use? Also, I don’t drink, can I omit the alcohol? To the first question, I used Green Spot whiskey, which is my personal favorite. As to the second, I haven’t tried the recipe without whiskey, but I imagine it would be just fine, especially if you like a strong coffee flavor.

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

Baking the cake as described below, the result is a lofty, spongy cake with a zing of whiskey and a deep coffee flavor. The moist crumb is a lovely contrast to the crumble layers through the middle and on top.

Modified from Bake from Scratch Jan/Feb 2019 issue.

Bready or Not: Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

This is a luxurious coffee cake with espresso powder used throughout and a refreshing nip of whiskey in the mix as well! The cake is lofty, moist, and oh so good.
Servings: 9 pieces
Author: Beth Cato


  • 9-inch square pan
  • food processor
  • offset spatula


Irish Whiskey Streusel

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish whiskey

Coffee Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 cube, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup whole buttermilk or soured milk, see note
  • 1/3 cup Irish whiskey
  • 2 Tablespoons espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a food processor, pulse together the flour, brown sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Drop in the butter and whiskey, and pulse again until it forms pea-sized crumbs. Chill mix in fridge. Note that the streusel can be made a day ahead of the rest of the cake.
  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil to extend up all four sides. Apply nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
  • In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a different bowl, combine the buttermilk/soured milk, whiskey, espresso powder, and vanilla, stirring gently until the espresso powder is dissolved and not clumpy.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the butter and sugar, alternating back and forth, until everything is combined.
  • Spoon about half the batter into the prepared pan; batter will be thick, and an offset spatula will make it easier to even out. Sprinkle half the streusel mix over the batter. Dollop on the remaining batter and even out again. Crumble the rest of the streusel over the top.
  • Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, until the middle of the cake passes the toothpick test. Cool completely in pan. Use the foil to lift it onto a cutting board to slice.
  • Cake pieces keep well in sealed container at room temperature for at least 3 days. Pieces can also be wrapped up and frozen for later enjoyment.



    To make soured milk, place two teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, then add milk or half & half to reach the 2/3 line called for in this recipe. Let set for about 10 minutes so that it starts to curdle.