Irish Potato Candy Cake (Coconut cake with Cinnamon buttercream)

This Irish Potato Candy Cake is neither Irish nor potato… discuss.

If you ask someone outside of Philadelphia about Irish Potatoes, they will give you a confused look and think you are talking about potatoes grown in Ireland… WRONG! “Irish Potatoes” mean something completely different to Philadelphians. They are coconut candies rolled in cinnamon to resemble potatoes. They are sold around St. Patrick’s Day so there is only a limited window when you can find them. You may walk inside your local Acme or other grocery store in early March and you’ll see little boxes of Irish Potatoes as soon as you walk in. So you grab a box or two and then head to the meat for your corned beef.

Like I said, there is only a short window of time when you can find these delicacies. Often you’ll see a sign outside a shop that sells them that says “We have Irish potatoes!…while supplies last”.

The most common maker of Irish potato candy that I usually see would have to be Oh Ryans. But they aren’t the only ones in the game. Plenty of local bakeries make them!

I decided to make an Irish Potato Candy Cake using the flavors of the candy. It is a coconut cake with cinnamon buttercream on the inside and regular buttercream on the outside covered in coconut.

It was important to me that this recipe be easy and made with ingredients that aren’t hard to find. I also didn’t want this cake to require you to buy a bunch of specialty things that you’ll never use again. I got everything I needed for this cake at Target… a CITY Target which means it’s very small and doesn’t have nearly as much as a regular Target.

The only ingredient that might be hard to find is the cream of coconut, but that’s because it’s usually located with the cocktail mixers at the store. Look for this section!

So give it a try! Have a slice with some Irish Coffee! 😉

Recipe Card

Irish Potato Candy Cake (coconut cake with cinnamon butter cream filling)


A St. Patrick's Day cake inspired by the coconut and cinnamon candies.


Cake Ingredients

Icing Ingredients


For the Cake:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix cake mix, sour cream, coconut oil, eggs in a large bowl.

  3. Divide cake batter into evenly between 2 9” prepared pans (I like to spray with Baker's Joy, but you can also grease and flour).

  4. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

  5. Cool completely.

For Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing

  1. Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy, about 30 seconds.

  2. With the mixer on low, slowly add sugar.

  3. Add vanilla and increase mixer speed to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy, about 1 minute.

  4. Take out ⅔ of the icing and set aside in a bowl. This will be approximately 2.5 cups if you don't want to eyeball it.

  5. Add cinnamon to remaining icing and mix to incorporate (this will be approximately 1 cup).

To Assemble

  1. Place 1 9 inch round cake on a cake board or stand.

  2. Frost the top of the layer with the cinnamon buttercream.

  3. Layer the second cake on top and frost the top of that round  with the plain buttercream.

  4. Frost the sides of the cake.

  5. Press coconut onto the top and sides of the cake.

  6. Optional- lay down a shamrock stencil and shake cinnamon on top leaving a cinnamon shamrock design in the middle of the top of the cake.

  7. Optional- Decorate the top of the cake with irish potato candy in a circle around the edges of the top of the cake.


If you don’t already have coconut oil and you don’t want to buy it, you can use vegetable oil and it will still come out great! The coconut oil only adds a subtle taste of coconut.

The way I did the shamrock stencil was by googling the image of a shamrock and then printing it out, and cutting out the outline. 

If you can’t find the Irish Potato Candies to decorate the top, it’s OK! There are other recipes online for how to make them yourself, but the cake is ambitious enough for me.

Keywords: buttercream, cake, cinnamon, coconut, irish potato candy

If you make this cake, please let me know in the comments! Also, if you share on social media, please tag #thephillykitchen so I can see your creations!!!


  1. You really should change the name of this cake, it’s as far from being an Irish Potato Cake as you can get. Irish Grannies are rolling over in their graves reading this recipe. 😔

    1. Hi Linda, this recipe is not meant to be an “irish potato cake” it’s called an “irish potato CANDY cake”. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with irish potato candy. It’s something that’s local to Philadelphia and I wrote about it in the post. But thanks for your comment.

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