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Irish Coffee Cupcakes for a Sweet St. Patrick's Day

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As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some gold recipes from our community. Today, meet an Irish coffee cupcake that’s perfect for St. Paddy’s Day...or any day.

The first time I sipped a Guinness, I nearly choked. I was 18, spending the summer in Ireland with a college program, and our supervisor decided the best welcome to the Emerald Isle would be a pint at a pub. Nothing against Ireland’s best-selling beverage, but I struggle sipping blond ale, to say nothing of a dark stout. Seeing my distress, the bartender started chatting with me, eventually handing me a warm glass mug filled with what looked like coffee. “You’ll like this better,” he said, as I took a sip of my first Irish coffee. He wasn’t wrong.

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Bitter coffee and smooth Irish whiskey sweetened with cream (and a little sugar) became my go-to order for the rest of the summer. And these coffee-flavored cupcakes topped with buttercream, from Alice Crone (a.k.a. someonewhobakes), perfectly capture those same warm flavors. These treats aren’t for the faint of heart—the frosting contains a healthy dose of Irish cream, while the cakes are brushed with whiskey after baking to keep them moist.

Photo by James Ransom

To get a distinct whiskey flavor, Crone suggests brushing the tops of the baked cakes twice.

“Be patient with the whiskey drizzle,” she says. “If you want to be able to really taste it, you might need to let a little soak in, and then go back with a little more. One quick brush isn’t going to make a big difference.”

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

someonewhobakes someonewhobakes
Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (rounded) instant espresso or coffee
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons whiskey


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
Go to Recipe

Are you an Irish coffee fan? Or do you prefer Guinness?

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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Coffee, Whiskey/Whisky, Dessert, St. Patrick's Day, Bake