St. Patrick's Day & Irish Whiskey Cake Newsletter

Celebrate an Irish tradition with a true Irish Whiskey Cake,

Although recipes vary the typical Irish Whiskey Cake is a moist, rich cake studded with raisins and walnuts and spiked with Irish whiskey. When glazed with an Irish whiskey icing or served with an Irish whiskey sauce the Irish Whiskey Cake can be a boozy concoction indeed! Like most Irish cakes the Irish Whiskey Cake stems from the tradition of baking cakes for special events such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, harvest festivals and holidays. Irish Whiskey cakes continue to play a role in Irish wedding traditions, which dictate that the top tier of the wedding cake is an Irish Whiskey Cake that is saved for the christening of the first baby.

Downey's Irish Whiskey Cake is the signature dessert of Downey's Restaurant, Philadelphia PA, and perhaps the most famous Irish Whiskey Cake in the United States. It is a moist, rich walnut cake made from Mrs. Downey's family recipe and steeped with a generous portion of Bushmills Irish Whiskey Glaze. Heat the cake just enough to melt the sugar in the liquor - perhaps 30 seconds in the microwave - and serve it plain or Downey's style with an Irish whiskey sauce or perhaps an Irish Coffee.

Irish Whiskey sauce: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk, cup sugar, 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey. Melt butter over medium heat in a quart saucepan. Add flour and cook, whisking until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in milk, sugar and whiskey. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened 5 - 7 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 1 cups.

Irish Whiskey Cream sauce: 1 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons Irish Whiskey. In a deep bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Dissolve the honey in the whiskey and fold into the whipped cream.

Joe Sheridan's Original Irish Coffee:Irish coffee was invented in the late 1940s by Joe Sheridan, chef at the flying-boat base at Foynes, County Clare, near the present site of Shannon Airport. The few transatlantic passengers that there were arrived tired and cold and Sheridan invented this drink to warm and welcome them. This is Joe's original recipe:

1 measure Irish whiskey, 1 measure strong black coffee, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons fresh whipping cream. Heat the glass with boiling water so that it is good and hot. Add the whiskey, sugar and the hot coffee. Float the cream on top of the coffee. Do this by pouring the cream into a spoon rested just on the surface of the coffee. Let the cream flow into the bowl of the spoon and overflow onto the coffee. Lift the spoon as the cream builds up, so that a layer of cream builds up on top of the coffee. Since it is the sugar that allows the cream to float successfully do not try this in coffee without sugar. Do not stir. Irish coffee is best enjoyed by sipping the coffee through the cream.

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Allen, Darina, The Complete Book of Irish Country Cooking (New York, Penguin Studio, 1996)
Haggerty, Bridget, The Traditional Irish Wedding (
Johnson, Margaret M. Irish Heritage Cookbook (San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1998)