Coffee cake is delicious, but sometimes you just need a light, fluffy sponge cake loaded up with coffee, Irish whiskey, and Bailey's. This Irish Coffee Cake with Bailey's Whipped Cream recipe is so quick and easy to make, and is perfect for your St. Patrick's Day celebrations or even a fun brunch treat!
Why this recipe works
Traditional coffee cake is usually a two-layer, round, coffee-flavored sponge cake with icing between the layers and on top, but what we generally know as coffee cake here in the U.S. often doesn't even have coffee in it! This Irish Coffee Cake is more similar to the traditional version, but with an Irish Coffee twist! This ultimate St. Patrick's Day dessert is a two-layered light and airy brown sugar sponge cake flavored with coffee and Irish whiskey, and frosted with Bailey's whipped cream between the layers and on top.
Ingredients and notes
Coffee - This coffee cake is the best because it actually has coffee in it. The coffee needs to be brewed, but you can use any kind of coffee you'd like! Instant coffee, caffeinated or decaf, cold brew or iced coffee (just take out the ice), whatever you have works - it just needs to be in liquid form (not coffee beans or coffee grounds or espresso powder - if you have one of these, it will need to be brewed first).
Irish Whiskey - A classic Irish coffee uses Irish whiskey, such as Jameson, but any whiskey should still taste great in this simple homemade cake recipe! Even a bourbon or rum could be delicious in place of the whiskey.
Bailey's Irish Cream - The Bailey's is optional, but I highly recommend it! The beauty of making the topping from scratch is that you can choose to make it without Bailey's and this easy cake will still be amazing!
How to make this recipe
Combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder, and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl or container, combine the whiskey and coffee.
Alternate adding the flour and the coffee mixture to the butter mixture until the ingredients are combined.
Add eggs one at a time beating each one until combined.
Pour half the batter into each of two greased round cake pans and bake.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Filling and Topping
Beat heavy cream, sugar, and Bailey's until stiff peaks form.
Spread on top of one of the cake layers, then place the other cake on top and spread more on top of the second layer.
Irish Coffee is a coffee cocktail made with Irish whiskey, hot coffee, and sugar, topped with whipped cream. It is intended to be drunk through the topping. For this cake recipe, I added Bailey's to the whipped cream for a little extra St. Patrick's Day fun.
I've only used Irish whiskey for this recipe. Jameson and Teeling are the two I'm most familiar with, but any whiskey will be delicious in this cake. As long as you use ingredients you think are the best, it will be the best when you make the recipe at home.
There is coffee in the recipe, so if you use caffeinated coffee there will be some caffeine in it, but there is only half a cup of coffee in the entire cake so you would likely have to eat a lot of this delicious cake to feel the effects!
Tips & Tricks
- This recipe is for a naked cake, meaning the Bailey's whipped cream serves in place of a frosting and is spread in between the layers and on the top of the cake, but is not covering the sides of the cake. If you want to cover the whole cake, you can double the topping and filling recipe to cover the full cake.
- To make this cake non-alcoholic (is a virgin Irish coffee cake just a coffee cake?!), you can make it without Jameson, and instead replace it with 2 more tablespoons of brewed coffee. You want to replace the whiskey in this recipe with another liquid to keep the cake moist. However, you can simply make the topping without the Irish cream liqueur. You don't need to replace the Bailey's, but you can add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract to replace it if you want. It will be delicious with just the heavy cream and sugar.
- If you don't have round cake pans, you can easily make this recipe in two square 8x8 pans instead!
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Irish Coffee Cake with Bailey's Whipped Cream
- 2 9" round cake pan
- stand or hand mixer
Irish Coffee Cake
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt Diamond Crystal
- 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- ½ cup coffee
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 3 eggs
Bailey's Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
Irish Coffee Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 round cake pans.
- Beat butter, sugars, salt, and baking powder till well blended.
- Add the whiskey to the coffee.
- Alternate adding flour and coffee/whiskey until all is incorporated.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating till combined.
- Pour half the batter into each greased cake pan (it will not be very deep in the pan).
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Bailey's Whipped Cream
- While the cake is cooling, put all whipped cream ingredients in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
- When cake has fully cooled, spread approximately half the whipped topping on the top of one of the layers of cake. Place the other layer on top of the whipped cream. Spread the remaining half of the Bailey's topping on top of the second layer.
- Sprinkle with green sprinkles, because it is St. Patrick's Day after all!
This recipe was originally posted on March 17, 2017, but was republished with new photos, additional information about the recipe, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and tips and tricks in March of 2022.
I went to a Louisville game a few weeks ago here in Cuse. Great basketball team 🙂 I love the sound of this cake. So simple with great flavors.
How fun! They are a lot of fun to watch. I was in Syracuse for a few hours a couple weeks ago. I'll have to take you out for coffee next time I'm there!
I was working on this cake when I read your Whiskey Caramel Cake post and you inspired me to keep going till I got this one right!
heather (delicious not gorgeous) says
yeah, i definitely don't see as many irish coffee flavored things out there, so it sounds like you made a good decision (: and i love swiss meringue buttercream, but sometimes whipped cream just works best!
Thanks! I was trying to go with a flavor I don't see too much. And whipped cream is definitely the way to go here, but I do love a good buttercream!