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Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: 10 to 12

This recipe reimagines the classic whiskey-spiked Irish coffee as a decadent mocha layer cake filled with coffee-whiskey whipped cream and topped with white and dark chocolate shavings.


For the cake layers

  • Unsalted butter for the pans
  • 10-1/8 oz. (2-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2-5/8 oz. (3/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee

For the coffee-whiskey whipped cream

  • 1 Tbs. instant espresso granules
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey, such as Jameson
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar

To finish the cake

  • 1 4-oz. block semisweet chocolate (about 1-inch thick), at room temperature
  • 1 4-oz. block white chocolate (about 1-inch thick), at room temperature

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 610
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 330
  • Fat (g): 37
  • Saturated Fat (g): 17
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 120
  • Sodium (mg): 450
  • Carbohydrates (g): 66
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 7


Make the cake

  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 9×2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Butter the parchment.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand-held mixer), briefly blend the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is thick and creamy, like chocolate frosting, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the hot coffee, mixing at low speed just until combined. The batter will be quite thin. Divide the batter equally among the pans.
  • Bake, switching positions and rotating the pans halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it and the center feels firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on racks.

Make the coffee-whiskey whipped cream

  • Clean and chill the mixing bowl and whisk attachment. In a measuring cup, stir the instant espresso into the whiskey until completely dissolved. In the chilled bowl, whip the cream, brown sugar, and whiskey mixture on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Finish the cake

  • Run a thin knife around the inside edge of the cake pans and turn the cakes out onto a large cutting board; peel off the parchment.
  • Transfer one layer to a cake plate and spread a third of the whipped cream on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border; repeat with the second layer. Put the top layer in place and spread the remaining whipped cream out to the edge.
  • To make the chocolate shavings, put a piece of waxed paper or foil on a baking sheet. Microwave each block of chocolate on medium power for 20 to 30 seconds to soften slightly, then draw a vegetable peeler along the chocolate bar’s edge, letting the curls fall onto the waxed paper. Make enough curls of both colors to top the cake generously, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 oz. each. Refrigerate the shavings to make them easier to handle.
  • Arrange the shavings on top of the cake and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The baked cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for 1 day.

The assembled cake will hold for 2 hours in the refrigerator.


Rate or Review

Reviews (23 reviews)

  • cookingjudy | 03/21/2018

    I made this cake to take to a St. Patrick's Day party. Reading all the reviews was very helpful. I seperately wrapped and refrigerated the cake layers for several hours before assembly. I whipped the cream quite a bit more than the recipe called for as I wanted a dense, stable cream. I refrigerated the whipped cream for 30 minutes before continuing. The assembled cake was stunning. I made slivers of gourmet chocolate bars instead of the curls. I used three wooden skewers inserted in the top of the cake for transporting and had no problems. The cake was refrigerated until serving and I had no difficulty slicing it. I will absolutely make this cake again. The cake has a wonderful chocolate flavor and the cream is so much less sweet than frosting. The only thing I would change is to add more Irish Whiskey to the cream. As for the leftover cream, we put it in our coffee!

  • user-5016093 | 03/19/2018

    I made this as a test run for a dinner party that I need to take dessert to in a week. Reviews indicated that probably was not a good idea. But I was so impressed with the look of it and the reviews that I thought I'd bake it for a small group for a St. Patrick's Day dinner and see what happens. Well, they were right. It is very unwieldy. It is just too big and slippery. I stabilized it with several skewers, but when I got down to the last third, each layer just decided to go in different directions. No one wants huge pieces of cake anymore and it was so difficult to cut small. But even more importantly, although it is a good tasting chocolate cake, I have several much better tasting chocolate cakes in my repertoire. I love to bake and had fun doing it, and it was impressive looking, but I won't be repeating this one.

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