Irish Coffee Coffee Cake

Behold: a nightcap coffee cake. Buzzing with espresso, topped with a sprinkling of espresso sugar, and packed with two layers of crumbly whiskey spiked streusel, this Irish Coffee Coffee Cake is a tender delicacy you’ll enjoy to the last crumb. Find more ways to bake with coffee in our January/February 2019 issue.

Irish Coffee Coffee Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons (6.25 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) whole buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) Irish whiskey
  • 3 tablespoons (18 grams) espresso powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) coffee extract
  • Irish Whiskey Streusel (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: Espresso Sugar (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a liquid-measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, whiskey, 2 tablespoons (12 grams) espresso powder, and extracts until espresso is dissolved. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
  4. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan, spreading with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with half of Irish Whiskey Streusel and remaining 1 tablespoon (6 grams) espresso powder. Top with remaining batter, spreading gently with an offset spatula, being careful that streusel doesn't blend with batter too much. Crumble remaining Irish Whiskey Streusel over batter, squeezing to form larger clumps.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Dust with Espresso Sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Irish Whiskey Streusel
Makes 3 cups
  • 1¾ cups (219 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (220 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) espresso powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons (2.5 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (141 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) Irish whiskey
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, brown sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt; pulse until combined. Add cold butter and whiskey, and pulse until pea-sized clumps of streusel form, about 10 times. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Espresso Sugar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) espresso powder
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place sugar and espresso powder. Process until combined and uniform in color.


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  1. I made this and it’s good but had trouble with the amounts of espresso powder. 3 TBS of espresso powder is no where near 18 grams…more like 10 or 12 grams. So, that was confusing as if I went by weight, the tablespoons would have doubled. I opted for measurement rather than weight. I used Williams & Sonoma espresso powder so, a bona fide brand. Is there an error?

    • Hi Antonia,

      Thank you for reaching out! According to our records- we had 1 tablespoon of espresso powder being 6 grams- so 3 being 18 grams. We will double check this but do suggest just using the measurement rather than the weight. Happy baking!

  2. Two questions. 1) Would you freeze after glazing, or add it when you thaw? 2) Since the bread tastes better the second day, would you wait and freeze on day two, or freeze on day one?

    • Hi Wendy! You should definitely glaze your coffee cake once it’s thawed. We do not recommend freezing it glazed. As for deciding when to freeze it, you can freeze it whenever you would like, you don’t have to wait for it to develop flavor overnight.

    • Hi Connie,

      If you do not have coffee extract, you can leave it out of the recipe and it will be somewhat less coffee-forward. The instant espresso and the Irish cream liqueur will have some coffee notes however. Happy baking!


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