Whiskey Caramel-Glazed Coffee Cake Recipe

There are coffee cakes and there are coffee cakes, but developer Jessica Morone says of this whiskey caramel-glazed one, "This is one of the best coffee cakes I've ever had." She describes the cake itself as "fluffy and tender" and says that the streusel topping and sweet yet slightly boozy caramel just add to the goodness.

One thing that makes the cake so special is a secret ingredient in the cake batter itself. As Morone tells us, "Most of the time the words 'coffee cake' refers to a cake that you serve with coffee. Obviously this cake will be good served with coffee, but it also has coffee in the cake as well." And while Monroe says the coffee in the batter "makes [the cake] extra moist and gives it a more complex flavor," she also notes "the coffee is still subtle enough that it isn't overwhelming." The batter additionally includes a touch of whiskey, though much of the whiskey flavor comes from the caramel glaze.

Collect the ingredients to make whiskey caramel-glazed coffee cake

For the cake batter you're going to need flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, sour cream (Morone says to use the full-fat kind), whiskey, and coffee. For the topping, you'll also need cinnamon and brown sugar (either light or dark will do), while the caramel requires heavy cream and powdered sugar, as well.

Step 1: Turn on the oven

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Prepare the baking pan

Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Step 3: Put the topping ingredients into a food processor

Make the crumb topping: Add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter to the bowl of a food processor.

Step 4: Process the ingredients to a crumb-like consistency

Pulse until the mixture becomes pea-sized crumbs (If you don't have a food processor you can use two forks or a pastry cutter to cut the mixture together.) Set aside.

Step 5: Combine the dry ingredients for the cake batter

Make the cake: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.

Step 6: Mix the sugar and melted butter

Use a handheld or stand mixer to beat together the melted butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.

Step 7: Stir in the remaining wet ingredients

Add in the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, whiskey, and coffee and beat until combined.

Step 8: Combine the wet and dry ingredients

Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients and beat until just combined.

Step 9: Pour half the batter into the pan

Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan

Step 10: Top the batter with half of the streusel

Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the batter.

Step 11: Add the rest of the batter to the pan

Gently spread the remaining batter on top of the topping layer.

Step 12: Top the cake with the remaining streusel

Sprinkle the remaining topping evenly over the batter.

Step 13: Bake the cake

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpaste inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.

Step 14: Put the granulated sugar into a pan

Make the whiskey caramel: Add the sugar to a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Step 15: Melt the sugar

Heat on medium heat, stirring about every 20 seconds, until the sugar has melted completely and becomes an amber color. Remove from heat.

Step 16: Stir in the butter

Add the butter to the saucepan and whisk until combined.

Step 17: Add the heavy cream, whiskey, and salt

Whisk in the heavy cream, whiskey, and salt until combined. Pour the caramel into a separate bowl.

Step 18: Stir in the powdered sugar

Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Step 19: Pour the caramel sauce over the cake

Drizzle the caramel sauce over the baked coffee cake. Save any remaining caramel in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Step 20: Cut the cake

Cut the cake into squares and serve.

When and how should I serve this whiskey caramel-glazed coffee cake?

This whiskey caramel-glazed coffee cake makes a tasty accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee or tea. If you're wondering about the whiskey in the recipe, Morone notes, "The alcohol in the cake and caramel mostly burns off during cooking so you don't get a strong alcohol flavor that would be off-putting for a breakfast." (And whiskey will cook out of a dish more rapidly than other types of alcohol.) The cake would also make a great centerpiece for brunch, at which time the boozy notes note might not be amiss.

A slice of cake would also be a nice mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up. While neither elevenses nor afternoon tea are traditional here in the U.S., the British are onto a good thing with their notion of stopping for a hot beverage accompanied by a sweet snack. Additionally, Monroe suggests, "This [cake] would also make a great dessert, especially if you serve it along with some ice cream." Vanilla ice cream would work, since it goes with nearly everything, but coffee ice cream would highlight the hint of coffee in the batter while dulce de leche would complement the caramel.

What should I do with leftover whiskey caramel-glazed coffee cake?

If you have leftover coffee cake, Morone says you can keep it covered at room temperature (without the caramel sauce finish) for 3 days before it starts to dry out or taste stale. You can also refrigerate the cake and extend its life to a full week or freeze it to keep for a few months. "If you wanted to use the leftovers in something else," Monroe says, "you could turn them into a really delicious bread pudding."

As for the whiskey caramel sauce, Morone tells us that this does need to be refrigerated. It should be good for 3 weeks or so if kept in a lidded jar or other airtight container. Before you can use refrigerated caramel, though, you'll need to let it warm up a bit. Try putting it in the microwave, without the lid, for few seconds, then stir to revive its smooth consistency. Though the caramel is made with powdered sugar to help it set when drizzled on the cake, Monroe tells us, "If you want a more gooey, drippy caramel on your cake, you can leave out the powdered sugar." She also suggests spooning the whiskey caramel over ice cream or brownies, and you can even use it as a dip for fresh fruit.

Whiskey Caramel-Glazed Coffee Cake Recipe
4.9 from 15 ratings
Your coffee cake a little ho-hum? Perhaps what it's missing is a whiskey-caramel glaze. Sour cream and two layers of streusel boost the flavor even further.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
9
Pieces
coffee cake squares on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the crumb topping
  • ⅔ cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • For the cake
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup full-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • ¼ cup hot coffee
  • For the whiskey caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Make the crumb topping: Add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter to the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Pulse until the mixture becomes pea-sized crumbs (If you don't have a food processor you can use two forks or a pastry cutter to cut the mixture together.) Set aside.
  5. Make the cake: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
  6. Use a handheld or stand mixer to beat together the melted butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
  7. Add in the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, whiskey, and coffee and beat until combined.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
  9. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan
  10. Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the batter.
  11. Gently spread the remaining batter on top of the topping layer.
  12. Sprinkle the remaining topping evenly over the batter.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpaste inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.
  14. Make the whiskey caramel: Add the sugar to a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  15. Heat on medium heat, stirring about every 20 seconds, until the sugar has melted completely and becomes an amber color. Remove from heat.
  16. Add the butter to the saucepan and whisk until combined.
  17. Whisk in the heavy cream, whiskey, and salt until combined. Pour the caramel into a separate bowl.
  18. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.
  19. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the baked coffee cake. Save any remaining caramel in an airtight jar in the fridge.
  20. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 321
Total Fat 15.4 g
Saturated Fat 9.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 59.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 30.0 g
Sodium 135.4 mg
Protein 2.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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