When speaking of the Irish, we usually associate them with shamrocks, St. Patrick’s Day, goblins, and such. But besides clovers and myths, their rich culture promises the best desserts you could ever have.
Thus, I’ve compiled recipes for the most amazing traditional Irish desserts. Through them, you get to taste the best of Ireland and see they offer some of the best delicacies in the world.
These desserts offer a wide array of flavors and experiences, courtesy of the unique Irish ingredients. They’re simple and easy to follow so that you can experience it all in your kitchen.
1. Irish Guinness Cake
We’ll start with a most decadent dessert: Guinness chocolate cake. It’s a bold combination of chocolate and alcohol, usually Guinness (an Irish dry stout), with the two drawing out each others’ flavors.
If you can’t or don’t like Guinness or alcohol, you can substitute it with root beer, black coffee, black tea, or chocolate milk. You can further elevate the taste profile by swapping the heavy cream in the frosting for Bailey’s Irish cream.
This Irish cake seems simple. But every slice of this packs flavor and punch, bearing a unique personality and taste other chocolate cakes cannot match.
2. Irish Apple Cake
Another delicious dessert the Irish blessed us with is their rendition of the apple cake. This baked treat’s flavors boast sweet flavors, tartness from Granny Smith apples, and interesting textures from the streusel topping.
Although looking humble, this apple cake combines the best features of coffee cake and apple pie. This lovely warm dessert is one of the best to pair with a hot cup of Irish coffee.
Besides the apple flavors, there are hints of cinnamon and vanilla throughout the cake. Dust with powdered sugar when serving for added sweetness that compliments the cake’s profile.
3. Irish Apple Tart
If you’re in the mood for a tart rather than a cake, the Irish still got you. This apple tart is like a pie, especially since this is a two-crust tart recipe.
Unlike the Irish apple cake, there are no hints of other flavorings or hearty spices here, whether cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, or cloves. The filling is all granny smith apples with granulated sugar, leading to a trademark sweetness and tartness combined.
Like the recipe’s author, you can go creative with your top crust’s designs. This tart goes best with various sides, like vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and custard.
4. Irish Tea Cake
As you scroll through all these delicious recipes, you’ll notice that the Irish love their cakes. These tea cakes are just one of several varieties, and you’ll meet more of them later in this post.
This Irish tea cake is a simple-looking dessert, but it has great flavors and versatility. You can serve it with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and your favorite fresh berries during tea, coffee, dinner, or dessert.
Despite its simple appearance, it looks elegant. Such elegance, along with outstanding, creamy flavors, makes this cake a staple during St. Patrick’s Day (and everyday dinner).
5. Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars
We all love a sweet toffee bar, but the Irish take these lovely desserts to the next level. For one, it’s a perfect harmony of three great flavors: chocolate, caramel, and butter.
These Irish shortbread toffee bars are also called millionaire bars but don’t worry; you don’t need a million bucks to make them. Ingredients are familiar, like chocolate chips, salted butter, maple syrup, flour, sugar, and more.
These toffee bars have three layers: the buttery shortbread crust, caramel or toffee filling, and chocolate finishing. Each layer is from scratch, and the assembly creates a gorgeous dessert.
6. Irish Porter Cake
As I’ve said, the Irish love their cakes but also as much as they love their alcohol. Thus, besides the Guinness chocolate cake, we also have another dessert with a kick – the Irish porter cake.
This cake comprises porter beer, dried fruit, and spices, such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and coriander. Meanwhile, the dried fruit is a mix of golden raisins, currants, and cherries.
Because of the addition of alcohol or porter beer, you get an unusually moist fruitcake. The beer does give it a subtle, bitter taste that goes best with hot coffee.
7. Irish Soda Bread Pudding
It might not be your first thought, but traditional Irish bread makes a good dessert. How so? Make the best bread and butter pudding with it!
This Irish Soda Bread Pudding recipe reflects Irish culture from soda bread base to the Baileys creme anglaise sauce. It’s got a soft consistency without being too soggy and complex flavors from nutmeg, raisins, milk, and creamy sauce.
Irish soda bread is a no-yeast and no-knead bread, so it uses baking soda and buttermilk for the leavening. The buttermilk provides a unique tang or flavor to the bread, adding complexity to the pudding.
8. Shamrock Shakes
Shamrock shakes aren’t made by the Irish – a Chicago merchandising company created it, and McDonald’s popularized it. However, it’s associated with Ireland because the latter marketed it as a St. Patrick’s Day treat.
Nonetheless, shamrock shakes are one of the most creative sweet beverages. From looks to taste, it delivers with its bright green tones, creamy flavors, and coldness that’s perfect for a hot summer day.
A simple shamrock shake has four ingredients: vanilla ice cream, milk, peppermint extract, and green food coloring. Feel free to add alcohol or chocolate chips and serve with whipped cream and a cherry.
9. Irish Scones
Scones are famous pastries usually eaten with jams and whipped cream and served with tea. Varieties are present across the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Africa, Ireland, and many other countries.
These Irish scones are simple, made only with flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, egg, double cream, and milk. They also come with a creamy milk glaze.
Like other scones, you can fill them with jam, whipped cream, or both. Eating them the day they’re baked is best, but if you can’t finish them all, you can reheat them the next day.
10. Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Although we’ve already had one bread pudding recipe, I can’t resist but add this other delectable bread pudding. It’s different because it uses a French bread base and oozes sweet whiskey caramel sauce.
Like other bread puddings, it’s also very creamy and loaded with raisins, which you can swap for chocolate chips. Serve in individual ramekins or casserole dishes, depending on the need.
Meanwhile, the sweet caramel sauce has Irish whiskey, milk, cream cheese, butter, water, and sugar. You can make a lot of this sauce and use it for other dishes, like ice cream or pies.
11. Baileys Poke Cake
Most Irish dessert recipes feature Baileys products, either Irish cream liqueur or Irish whiskey. These alcohol products originated from Ireland and have since become a local’s favorite, incorporated into many sweet desserts.
This Baileys chocolate poke cake highlights bold and indulgent flavors from base to topping. There are three essential components: the chocolate cake, the sauce to pour into the holes, and the chocolate whipped topping.
A poke cake has holes and, in this recipe, the rich Baileys chocolate sauce will fill them. The sauce has melted chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and Baileys Irish cream.
12. Baileys Cheesecake
Want to try a cheesecake with a punch? This Baileys cheesecake is like the rich, creamy, and chocolatey desserts we love, but with an Irish, alcoholic twist.
Everything about this cheesecake stands out because there’s something unique from top to bottom. First, instead of the usual graham cracker crust, it has an Oreo cookie crust, further emphasizing the chocolate flavors.
Besides the usual cream cheese, eggs, and sugar, the filling contains Baileys Irish cream. The chocolate ganache topping also features Baileys by combining semi-sweet chocolate chips, heavy cream, and Irish cream.
13. Coffee & Baileys Cake
To wrap up our Irish-themed dessert posts, we’ll end with a sweet and another Baileys-infused dessert. It’s the perfect harmony of vanilla, dark chocolate, Baileys, and coffee in one gorgeous cake.
There are four elements to this Coffee & Baileys cake: Baileys-infused cake layers, simple coffee syrup, Baileys dark chocolate ganache, and a coffee and Baileys swiss meringue buttercream. From top to bottom, this cake exudes bold Baileys flavors.
Aside from the fantastic taste profile, this cake is just spectacular to look at. It’s all neat, and the layers shine through every cake slice, making this a show-stopper treat.
13 Traditional Irish Dessert Recipes
Treat yourself to some of the best and sweetest Irish desserts with these recipes!
Irish Guinness Cake
Irish Apple Cake
Irish Apple Tart
Irish Tea Cake
Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars
Irish Porter Cake
Irish Soda Bread Pudding
Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Baileys Poke Cake
Coffee & Baileys Cake
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep an Irish dessert in 30 minutes or less!