This cake is really for my mom. When she wants to treat herself, kick up her heels and imbibe, this is her drink of choice. I can see why- this is one heck of a great way to dress up a cuppa joe, and it’s a local specialty. Yep, the Irish coffee was perfected at the Buena Vista in San Francisco, and they have been serving up an average of 2000 (!) a week ever since.

Today I’m observing the holiday with a thick wedge of cake- an Irish Coffee Bundt to be exact, made in the style of a well-soaked rum cake. This scratch cake is every bit as tender and moist as the boxed versions popularly used, but is so much more delicious, due in part to the addition of strong, good-quality instant coffee added to the mix.

Not one to adhere the ritual of making a traditional version, Mom often defaults to a jigger of Bailey’s to make her coffee. Is it a true Irish Coffee? Perhaps not, but it opens the door to making a damn fine cake. Enjoy your Irish coffee whatever form it takes, and don’t forget to call your mother.

Irish Coffee Bundt Cake

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp instant coffee (I like to use Starbucks Columbian Blend)
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a Bundt cake pan by brushing the inside with softened (but NOT melted) butter. Coat the inside with extra-fine dry breadcrumbs or cake crumbs. Sift the first five ingredients and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, white, and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until nearly mixed in. Add half of the buttermilk and continue to mix just until combined. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk, then the last of the flour. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the cake pan (it will be pretty thick), and smooth the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Bailey’s soaking syrup
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
1 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. Bailey’s Irish Cream

Heat the instant coffee, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve thoroughly. Once the mixture comes up to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in the Bailey’s.

Cool the cake for up to 10 minutes before applying the syrup.

Poke several holes in the cake (about 1/2 inch apart). Spoon the syrup over the entire surface of the cake, distributing evenly. Use all of the syrup, even though it may not look like it will all soak in (it will).

As soon as the cake pan cools enough to be handled with bare hands, place a large cake plate over the top and carefully flip the cake pan onto the plate. Allow the cake to drop out. Cover loosely and allow to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

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