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Honey-Kissed Irish Whiskey Cake

You are meant to taste the whiskey in this cake! It’s not just an accent flavor, it’s the star of the show. The glaze on this cake is not shy with the liquor. You get honey-kissed, whiskey flavor in every bite.

irish whiskey cake

If you enjoy the slightly boozy flavor of a delicious rum cake, you’ll love this Honey-Kissed Irish Whiskey Cake.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, alcohol amplifies and accentuates flavors. Often I use just a hint of alcohol in a recipe to bring out flavors that are alcohol soluble. You can read more about how alcohol enhances flavor in my post, Simple Syrup, Complex Taste.

For this recipe, the alcohol in the cake is not just a supporting player, it’s the star of the show.

The starting point for this recipe is the Rum Cake recipe from my book, Easy Baking From Scratch. I could’ve just switched out the rum with whiskey and the cake would’ve been delish. But, since I’m always looking to enhance flavor, I added a few ingredients to specifically compliment the Irish Whiskey. (By the way, I use Jameson Whiskey.)

First I added a little lemon zest to the batter. If you’ve ever had a hot toddy to treat a cold you know that lemon goes well with whiskey. I also reduced the sugar in both the cake and the glaze and added a touch of honey. I love what the honey does for the flavor of the cake and, especially, the glaze.

irish whiskey cake
Glaze the cake while it’s still warm so it absorbs all the deliciousness

That’s glaze though! Of course I needed to taste the glaze before I put it on the cake. In my head I was pretty sure the flavors would work but, OH MY that’s good stuff.

I will not confirm or deny that I may have downed a few spoonfuls of the glaze before it ever got near the cake. The butter, the honey, the whiskey….it’s like the best hot toddy ever.

Irish Whiskey Cake
Irish Whiskey Cake
Irish Whiskey Cake

To be perfectly honest, if I make this cake again I might even nudge the whisky up to 3/4 of a cup, but it’s really great as it is.

Of course this Irish Whiskey Cake would be the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert, but I would eat this cake any day of the week.

irish whiskey cake

Honey-Kissed Irish Whiskey Cake

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes
"Aging" Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour

You will taste the whiskey in this cake! It's not just an accent flavor, it's the star of the show. The glaze on this cake is not shy with the liquor, so you get honey-kissed, whiskey flavor in every bite.

Ingredients

For the Cake Batter

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • 1/4 cup (1.5 oz, 40g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated fine
  • 1/3 cup (4oz, 112g) honey
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 250ml) buttermilk, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (11.25 oz, 315g) cake flour
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) granulated sugar
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz, 170g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1" chunks

For the Whiskey Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 110g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (6oz, 168g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) Irish Whiskey (I use Jameson, see note)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, honey and 1/2 of the buttermilk, set aside. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Toss the chunks of butter into the flour mixture and add the remaining buttermilk. Mix on medium high for 2-3 minutes to aerate the batter. Scrape the bowl and the beater. With the mixer running, add the egg mix in 3 batches, scraping the bowl between each addition.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  5. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Put the butter, water, sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the whiskey.
  6. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven and while it's still in the pan, generously brush the cake with some of the glaze. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes to allow the glaze to absorb and for the cake to set. Turn the cake out onto a clean baking sheet.
  7.  Brush the entire top and sides of the cake with glaze, allow the glaze to absorb and repeat brushing until all the glaze is used up. Any glaze that drips onto the pan can be picked up with the brush and brushed back onto the cake.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 1 day to allow the flavors to develop.

Notes

You can use as little as 1/4 cup of whiskey for a lighter flavor, or as much as 3/4 cup for a stronger flavor.

You can serve the cake the day it is baked, but the flavor and texture improve after a day or two of aging. The cake will keep at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Did you make this recipe?

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You are meant to taste the whiskey in this cake! It's not just an accent flavor, it's the star of the show. The glaze on this cake is not shy with the liquor, so you get honey-kissed, whiskey flavor in every bite. #st patricks #easy #best #homemade #scratch #recipe #jameson #glazed #boozy #stpatty

Johannes

Friday 9th of April 2021

Hello! My Oma used to make something similar and I am excited to try your recipe. But the rest of my house is two kids under 6 and a pregnant wife. How much alkeehol do you think is retained in the glaze?

Eileen Gray

Saturday 10th of April 2021

I would assume all of the alcohol is retained. You don't cook out the whiskey since it's added off-heat.

Deepa

Friday 18th of September 2020

Hi! I want to bake this cake for my husband’s birthday next week. Can this be done eggless?

Eileen Gray

Friday 18th of September 2020

Hi Deepa. The eggs are important to the structure and texture for this cake. I couldn't say off the top of my head how to make it without eggs. It would take a great deal of testing to work that out.

Beck

Sunday 15th of March 2020

Thankyou! Made this for hubby’s birthday and he and EVERYONE loved it. Not a traditional-looking birthday cake, but a perfect finish after a huge roast lunch. First time using my Bundt tin and had a bit of a batter volcano happening whilst baking, but a quick trim took us back to level. Took 50 mins in my oven when normally I have to go 5-10 mins less than what a recipe says. Will definitely bake again (and again and again).

Eileen Gray

Sunday 15th of March 2020

So glad you liked it. It's one of my favorites.

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