A white meringue dessert on a plate with a blue wall in the background.

Irish Coffee Meringue Cake

This show-stopping dessert from acclaimed Irish pastry chef JR Ryall is made modern with simple piped details.

Ballymaloe House, a luxury country house hotel and restaurant set on 300-acres of land in County Cork, Ireland, is heralded as the birthplace of modern Irish cuisine. There, visitors are treated to acclaimed pastry chef JR Ryall’s daily array of seasonally-inspired treats, wheeled through the dining room on a vintage dessert trolley. In his new cookbook Ballymaloe Desserts, Ryall presents 130 recipes for his award-winning confections, tested and perfected for the home baker. Like so many of Ryall’s desserts, this show-stopping Irish Coffee Meringue Gâteau is made modern with an edgy geometric presentation. – written with files from Phaidon

A white meringue dessert on a plate with a blue wall in the background.

Irish Coffee Meringue Gâteau

This elaborate-looking dessert by Irish pastry chef JR Ryall is so much simpler than it looks.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Irish
Servings 8



  • 3 tsp instant coffee powder not granules
  • 1⅔ cups + 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 3 large egg whites


  • 3 tbsp Irish whisky
  • cups whipped cream
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling



  • Preheat the oven to 130°C/265°F/Gas Mark 1.
  • Cover a large baking sheet with baking paper and use a pencil to draw three 18-cm/ 7-inch diameter circles on the paper. Flip the paper over so the pencil is on the underside.
  • Sift the instant coffee powder and 2 tsp of icing sugar together and set aside.
  • Place the egg whites and 170 g/6 oz (1⅔ cups) of icing sugar into the spotlessly clean bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin whisking at medium speed. After about 1 minute, increase the speed to full and whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks, about 10 minutes.
  • Gently fold the coffee and sugar mixture into the stiff meringue, let it sit for about 30 seconds and fold once more. In this time the coffee powder will begin to dissolve into the meringue.
  • Transfer some of the mixture to a piping (pastry) bag and pipe twelve small meringue kisses on the lined baking sheet. Evenly spread the remaining meringue in three thin disks, using the pencil circles as a guide. Bake for about 1 hour until crisp and set. When the meringue is cooked it will lift easily away from the baking paper. Allow to cool completely.


  • In a bowl, fold the whisky into the whipped cream. Put one of the meringue discs on a serving plate. Spread or pipe just less than half of the whisky cream over the meringue, taking care to keep the edges neat. Put the second circle of meringue on top and cover with a similar amount of cream as before. Place the third meringue circle on top and press down lightly. Decorate the top with the remaining whisky cream, the coffee meringue kisses and a light dusting of icing sugar and cocoa powder.

A yellow cookbook cover in a light frame.Recipe adapted from BALLYMALOE DESSERTS by JR Ryall (Phaidon, US $59.95, 2022)

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