Baking · Cake · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge

Northern Ireland: Irish Coffee Cake

The Shamrock, a typical Irish clover.

As I am sure you are aware, this Sunday is St. Patrick’s day, and so this weekend is going for demonstrate the two cakes of Ireland. Today we are going to finish of the UK and introduce you to the cake for Northern Ireland.

English: A design proposal for a new Northern ...

As mentioned in the Nation Cake Challenge Page, one of the main problems with this project is how to differentiate between closely related countries, and the two nations of Ireland demonstrates this very clearly, as much of the classic Irish cuisine seems to be common between the two countries. In response to this, I decided to create two countries, each representing a different focus of Irish food. Northern Ireland led the way, represented by an Irish coffee cake.


This cake consists of a coffee sponge, soaked in a syrup of black coffee and Irish whisky. This is then layered with whipped cream liberally dosed with more whisky. The cake was then decorated by cocoa powder and flaked almonds.

Initially flaked almonds were used in the cake mix which gave a great crunchy texture to the sponge, however it did pose problems when leveling the cake -when the knife caught one of the almond flakes it would often rip out a chunk of cake mixture, resulting in a rather wobbly cake! As a result I replaced the flaked almonds with ground almonds, so as to keep the taste by ensure a neater finish.

Irish Coffee Cake



  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Coffee Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey


  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Irish whiskey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate.


Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line and grease a 8in baking tin and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Dissolve the instant coffee in the vanilla extract and a tablespoon of boiling water, and beat into the mixture. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds before combining with the batter. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes in the oven (or until a skewer comes out clean). Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the coffee syrup, put the coffee and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the  sugar. Boil for one minute before removing from the heat and stirring in the whiskey. Use a sharp knife to make small slits in the top of the cake and pour over the syrup. Let the cake cool until all the syrup is absorbed.

Add the whiskey and sugar to the cream, and whisk until holding soft peaks. Using a large knife, carefully slice the cake into two and sandwich with the cream. Decorate the cake with the rest of the cream and flaked almonds.

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