The perfect pairing of coffee & Baileys in this delicious layer cake. A vanilla Baileys cake layered with dark chocolate ganache and a coffee Baileys swiss meringue buttercream.
Coffee & Baileys is one of my favorite flavor combinations. While we’re not big drinkers around here, you can bet we always have a bottle of Baileys in the fridge. We don’t drink it on its own, but it often gets added to hot chocolate, or coffee, or a variety of baked goods.
Coffee & Baileys Cake
This delicious Coffee & Baileys Cake consists of:
- Baileys infused cake layers
- Coffee simple syrup soak
- Baileys dark chocolate ganache
- Espresso & Baileys Swiss meringue buttercream
I opted to go with a Swiss meringue buttercream as it’s one of my favorite frostings. American buttercream is easier to make, so you could use that instead, but I prefer the taste and texture of meringue buttercreams overall. They are much smoother, and not quite as sweet.
I added both espresso powder and Baileys to the buttercream, but you could leave either out if you prefer — you’d be missing out on a pretty delicious combo though!
I wanted to keep the decoration on this cake clean and simple, so I opted to go with a pretty swirl pattern like I had done before on my Nutella Hazelnut Cake.
It’s a really simple way to give a cake a fancy looking finish. The swirls are far from perfect (especially on the top), but I didn’t let that bother me, which is HUGE for me. The old Olivia would have smoothed the whole thing down and started over. The new Olivia clearly has better things to do. It’s supposed to be rustic anyhow!
I pressed in some chocolate flakes along the bottom for some contrast using the same technique I used for my Funfetti Cake. Another simple way to fancy it up a bit.
I wanted a bit of contrast between the vanilla cake layers and pale coffee Baileys buttercream, so I spread a thin layer of Baileys dark chocolate ganache on each layer. I think it adds a nice pop of color, and pairs well with the chocolate flakes on the bottom.
See my How to make Ganache post for all my tips & tricks.
This is one delicious cake! If you’re a coffee and baileys fan, you’ll be eating that frosting by the spoonful. The vanilla cake lets the buttercream flavor stand out, but the buttercream would pair just as well with a chocolate cake if you prefer!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 18-24 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temp and rewhip before using.
- The ganache can be made a day or two in advance and kept at room temperature. Place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a skin from forming. Do not refrigerate as it will get too firm.
- The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Can I get the measurements by weight/grams?
- There is a Metric option in the recipe card. If you click it it will convert everything to grams.
- This conversion is done automatically and I cannot guarantee the accuracy but many readers have had success using the metric option on my recipes.
Tips for this Coffee & Baileys Cake
- ***Recipe Revised Jan 2021*** Increased the amount of cake batter to make thicker layers. Added Baileys to the cake batter and ganache. Added Coffee simple syrup. If you liked the original recipe replace the Baileys with milk and cream respectively. The original recipe used buttermilk instead of milk so you can replace that as well.
- Be sure to use instant espresso powder, not granules in the buttercream. The granules will not dissolve. This is the kind that I use and it works perfectly. Make sure it’s instant!
- If you can’t find espresso powder, then you can use instant espresso granules, but be sure to dissolve them in 1 Tbsp hot water first. Cool completely before using in frosting.
- I get my chocolate flakes at The Gourmet Warehouse here in Vancouver, but these ones seem comparable (though it’s hard to see in the pic).
- I like to prepare my cake pans using Homemade Cake Release then line with parchment.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- See my How to make Ganache post for all my tips & tricks.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
Coffee & Baileys Cake
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk room temperature, can use buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream room temperature
Coffee Simple Syrup (optional):
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 4 oz good quality dark chocolate finely chopped
- 3 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
Coffee Baileys Buttercream:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
- 1-2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Combine milk and Bailleys, set aside.
- Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
- Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Mix until just combined
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 30mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Coffee Simple Syrup:
- Bring sugar, water, and espresso powder to a boil in a small pot over med-high heat. Simmer for 1min. Set aside to cool completely.
- Place chopped chocolate, Baileys, and cream into a microwave safe bowl, stir. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir. Again, microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir until smooth. Cool completely until thickened, ideally overnight.
Coffee Baileys Buttercream:
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a pot with 1-2" of simmering water and stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch or reads 160F on a candy thermometer (approx. 3mins)
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.
- Add espresso and Baileys. Whip until smooth.**
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush generously with 2-3 Tbsp of coffee syrup. Spread a layer of ganache and then top with buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers and crumb coat the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost the cake and do a decorative swirl with an offset spatula if desired. Add chocolate flakes to the bottom if desired.
I only have 9 in pans. What do you recommend doing for the recipe?
Hi Laura! Converting pan sizes is always tricky. Here are some sites I use as a guideline:
Based on that I would 2.25x the recipe for three 9″ pans.
How many 8inch cakes would this recipe give me?
Hi Rayann! I cover this in the FAQ in the post: The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
Hello! This recipe look yummy! I will try it. I would have prefer that the metric system wpuld also work for the recipe phrases (6″ i.e)
Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Lucie! I hope you love it 🙂 6″ is about 15cm.
My husband made this cake for my birthday and it was amazing. I would advise making the simple syrup. The cake needs the moisture to prevent it from being too dry.
Hi Russ! So happy you loved it. Happy belated birthday!
This sounds so good but, I was wondering if I could make either Hazelnut or Maple buttercream. Do you think it would clash with the baileys flavour? and do you think it would pair well in general ?
Hi Priya! I haven’t tried either flavor combination so I can’t say for sure. My personal preference would be to do the maple though.
Hi Olivia, The Coffee Bailey’s Cake is OMG absolutely delicious. I made it twice and it’s now my go to cake. Always impressive. I doubled the Swiss buttercream, added dollops on the top of the cake and topped it with chocolate covered espresso beans.
I have also made your naked carrot cake and I use your Swiss buttercream recipe/tutorial. Both were perfect.
I will be trying more of your recipes. Thank you for sharing! Laurie
Hi Laurie! I’m so glad you loved it. Thanks for the feedback! Please let me know what else you try 🙂
Hi Olivia! We made this cake yesterday. It’s delicious but we found the buttercream to be very very buttery in taste. Not sure if we did something wrong.
Hi Tim! So glad you liked it 🙂 This buttercream is more buttery than an American buttercream would be, but it shouldn’t taste like you’re eating a stick of butter. I have a detailed tutorial with tips and troubleshooting here: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/
This cakes looks great! I’m planning to make it for a party this weekend and wanted to split the baking up into 2 days. If I make the cake and ganache on the first day, should I leave the cakes uncovered and unrefrigerated until assembling the following day or should I store them in the fridge or freezer for a day?
Hi Stephanie! If it’s just for a day you can store them on the counter though I find cold cakes easier to work with so I would either freeze or refrigerate. If freezing take out a couple hours before assembly. Be sure to leave the ganache at room temperature. It will be fine for a few days.
I’m going to make this cake today for my Mom’s birthday and was wondering if I could use Irish Cream coffee creamer instead of Bailey’s?
Hi Jessica! For sure, that should work fine 🙂
This looks so delicious! I know it’s a matter of personal taste, but wanted to ask for your opinion:). Do you think this would go well with almond cake instead of vanilla cake?
Hi Anna! Yes, I think that would be totally delicious 🙂
Clover Bea says
This recipe looks amazing! I have two questions for you if you don’t mind. I was thinking of substituting the ap flour for cake flour to achieve a finer crumb, would that work? Also, how much of the alcohol would you say cooks out after baking?
Hi Clover Bea! Cake flour should work just fine. Based on this article it looks like 35% of the alcohol would still be there: https://thecakeblog.com/2015/12/how-to-bake-with-alcohol.html
Do you think I could use this recipe to make 2 inch mini cakes? I’m thinking of baking it in a sheet pan and using a cookie cutter to make the layers.
Hi Krystal! Yes I think that should be fine.
Hii i really want to make this for my mom bday, the question is the recipe okay if i use the reverse creaming method?
Hi Sally! I haven’t tried it with reverse creaming myself so I can’t say for sure.
Lauren Redpath says
Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to freeze these cake layers to maintain freshness/tastiness??
Thank you 🙂
Hi Lauren! You can freeze the cake layers or the whole cake for up to 3 months provided they are properly wrapped. I wrap my cake layers twice in plastic wrap and stick them in a freezer bag.
Bris Salcido says
Looking forward to make this cake!!! I don’t have an electrical mixer, is it possible to do it by hand?
Hi Bris! A hand mixer will be fine for the cake but will be a challenge for the frosting. It’s doable, but will take a lot longer. See this post for more details: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/
I made this recipe into cupcakes today. They were very tasty. It gave me practice on ganache, even though it didn’t turn out as I expected. Bottled chocolate to the rescue for drizzle. LOL I also got to make a frosting I’ve never done before. I don’t have a lot of practice with meringue either so not sure if my frosting was the right consistency, but it tasted good.
Hi Christina! So glad you liked these 🙂 Take a look at my SMBC tutorial if you haven’t already for tips if needed https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/
What is the replacement of baileys irish cream in the cake?
Hi Poornima! You can replace it with extra milk.