Baileys Chocolate Cake

With St. Patrick’s Day looming around the corner, it just seems right to whip up a Baileys chocolate cake.

When I think about St. Patrick’s Day, I see shamrocks, green beer, and coffee spiked with Baileys.

Image of Baileys Chocolate Cake

Here in New York City, people go all out on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s hard to walk a block without seeing a bar overflowing with people, covered head to toe in green.

That being said, I like to bake something special each year to celebrate!!

In the past I’ve made an adorable shamrock cake last year, and a giant beer mug cake, which didn’t leave me with a ton of ideas for this year’s cake.

I’ve wanted to use Baileys in a cake recipe for years though, so I was very happy when I landed on my cake idea for this year….a A Baileys chocolate cake!

Image of Baileys Chocolate Cake Recipe

What Is Baileys?

Baileys is an Irish whiskey and cream based liquor, which is actually pretty strong (17% ABV). I thought I knew quite a bit about Baileys, until I realized I had been spelling it incorrectly!!

As I was writing this post, I was quite surprised to see that Baileys is spelled without an apostrophe. Guess you learn something new everyday!!

I’m not going to pretend like I’ve never taken a shot of it, but at this point in my life I like to drink it in my coffee.

To mix things up, this week we’re putting it into a cake!! In this Baileys chocolate cake recipe, I’ve incorporated Bailey’s into every component of this cake.

How Did You Add Baileys Into This Chocolate Cake Recipe??

To add it to my chocolate cake recipe, I swapped out some of the buttermilk in my moist chocolate cake recipe for Baileys.

I also added it in the place of some of the heavy cream in my chocolate buttercream recipe, to make the most rich and boozy chocolate frosting.

Image of Baileys Ganache

For the ganache filling, I used an equal ratio of heavy cream and Baileys.

This really lets the flavor from this whiskey liqueur shine though, and creates an indulgent Baileys ganache filling for the cake.

The end result? A delicious, boozy, chocolaty cake that is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert.

How To Assemble This Baileys Chocolate Cake

To create this cake, make the ganache as your cake layers bake and cool, or as you prep your frosting the day of. The ganahce needs about a hour to come to room temperature, but can get too firm if it cools too much.

The Bailey’s gives the ganache an almost elastic texture, and makes it set quite firmly! If your ganache gets too hard to work with, heat it up in the microwave for 10 second intervals, until it’s easy to spread again.

Or if you like to plan ahead, the chocolate cake layers and buttercream can be made made and frozen ahead of time.

Once all the different components of this cake are ready, begin to assemble the cake! Stack the cake layers on a grease proof, cardboard cake round.

Spread a thin dab of chocolate buttercream on the center of the board, to help your cake layer stay in place. Next, center the first cake layer the cake board.

Photo Of Baileys Chocolate Cake

Spread an even layer of chocolate buttercream onto the cake layer with a large offset spatula. Chill it in the freezer for a few minutes to help it firm up. Then spread half of the chocolate ganache on top of it.

Top with a second cake layer, and repeat. Place the top cake layer upside down. Cover the cake in a thin layer of chocolate buttercream.

Then chill in the freezer for 5 minutes, or until the crumb coat is firm to the touch.

Use the remaining buttercream to add a thicker, second layer of frosting to the cake. Smooth using a bench scraper, and then decorate as desired!

Decorating This Bailey’s Cake

I opted to cover the long chocolate ganache drips, then made a swirled pattern using a tapered offset spatula.

It creates an oddly symmetrical and unique design, and is a lot easier to do than you’d think!

Photo of Baileys Chocolate Cake, filled with Baileys chocolate ganache, and frosted with with Baileys chocolate buttercream


Tips for Making The Best Baileys Chocolate Cake:

  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated; this will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled, to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake

Making These Cake Layers in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this baileys chocolate cake recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24

Baileys Chocolate Cake

Image of Baileys Chocolate Cake

This Baileys chocolate cake recipe is perfect for St. Patrick's Day! It uses Baileys in the cake layers, chocolate ganache filling and in the buttercream!!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (75 grams)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (8 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (9 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6 grams)
  • 1 cup very hot water (237 grams)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Liqueur (120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (120 grams)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)

Baileys Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips (340 grams)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (230 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp cup Baileys (28 grams)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups of melted dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled (228 grams)
  • 1 cup sifted, unsweetened baking cocoa (100 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp Baileys Liqueur (30 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (4 grams)

Instructions

Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and grease three, eight-inch cake pans.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder) in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined.
  3. Pour in the buttermilk, Baileys, oil, vanilla and hot water into the dry ingredients. Mix by hand until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the eggs.
  5. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the consistency you're after!
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, and bake for about 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and let the cakes sit for about 5 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them. 
  8. Place the cake pans in the freezer to speed up the cooling process, and to trap in additional moisture.

Baileys Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place chocolate into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Pour heavy cream and Baileys in a medium-sized pot, and heat at a medium high heat, until it just begins to boil.
  3. Pour over the chocolate, and allow the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Slowly stir with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and set aside.

Baileys Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. 
  2. Add in the sifted cocoa, and mix on low until the cocoa is fully incorporated, and no clumps remain.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream and Baileys.
  4. Mix in the cooled, melted chocolate chips.
  5. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.


Assembling This Baileys Chocolate Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of chocolate ganache to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of chocolate buttercream on top of cake layer as you stack them with a large offset spatula, and spread half of the ganache mixture on top of each layer of buttercream.
  3. Cover the cake in a thin coat of chocolate buttercream. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (1 minutes) until the buttercream is firm to the touch.
  4. Add a second, thicker layer of chocolate buttercream to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  5. Decorate as desired! I chose to add a ganache drip around the sides, and then used a pointed offset spatula to create lines around the cake.

Notes

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 450Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 37mgSodium 293mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 2gSugar 52gProtein 4g

54 thoughts on “Baileys Chocolate Cake

  1. This looks so yummy and pretty. Can’t wait to try it. Could I substitute jack Daniel’s for the baileys?

    Bernadine

      1. I highly recommend it! It really takes the chocolate frosting to the next level, and enhances the chocolate flavor!

  2. Hi this cake looks beautiful and yummy. I was wondering could i substitute jack daniels for the baileys.

    Bernadine

  3. Hi Chelsey,
    I made this today for my Tearoom. I’m sure my customers are going to love it, they lovey my coffee baileys cake so sure they’ll love this one too!
    Great recipe !

  4. Please help! I am assembling this cake tonight and made the ganache last night and set it at room temp in a container, but it is rock hard today so i’ll have to reheat all over again. Is this normal? Will it get this hard on the cake??

    1. so sorry for the delayed response! it definitely shouldn’t be rock hard. it should be firm, but you should be able to push it around with a spatula. did you weigh out the chocolate and heavy cream? did you use the same type of chocolate as me?

      1. I did everything according to the recipe, so I’m not sure why it got so hard. I ended up warming it back up until it was peanut butter consistency and it worked perfectly. This was honestly probably the best cake I have ever had in my life… everyone who had it told me I should open a bakery because they loved it so much! Thank you for this recipe I will without a doubt make it again!!

      2. haha well I’m happy you thought quickly on your feet, and made it work!! Also very happy you loved the way it tasted 🙂 Those types of comments make my day, thank you for sharing!!

  5. We made it last night in a food fight challenge, and this cake is the best cake, but I have a question. Why is it necessary to wait 4-5 hours for,the ganache? That part is not in the time to make, so we did not worry about it.

    1. I’m happy to hear you guys loved this cake recipe! The ganache usually just takes that long to fully cool, and set/thicken up! It can vary based on the size of bowl you’re using, but waiting just makes it easier to add it to the cake 🙂

  6. Hi! I am preparing everything for tomorrow. I am baking the cake at the moment and I finished the Ganash. But it turned out very weird, you can see the oils on top of it and the Ganash itself is not as smooth as I can see in your video. Can you help me? Should I redo it or is it fine? I think maybe the heavy cream was too hot for the chocolate so it overheated.. Please help me!

    1. I’d recommend heating it up for 15 second intervals in the microwave, until its a workable consistency! if you give it a stir, it should come back together! The baileys can sometimes be tempermental with different types of chocolate <3

  7. Hi ? For the Ganache, instead of using Bailey’s can I just use the same amount for heavy cream?
    So 114 grams heavy cream?
    Thank you x

    1. I like the structure it provides for my layer cakes, especially with all the buttermilk in this recipe! You can also use cake flour, but the texture (in my opinion) isn’t quite as good 😛

    1. Hi Marlyn! Usually people heat up the cream until it’s just beginning to bubble, then pour it over chocolate in a separate bowl to make ganache

  8. Hi! i love your website and I do enjoy this cake and the flavor combo! I was wondering if you’ll be able to make another cake with vanilla layers and replicate it to be like a tiramisu? I love that dessert and would love to have that as my wedding cake 🙂

    1. Hi Olivia,

      You sure can! in the cake batter you can use extra buttermilk in place of the bailey’s, and for the ganache use heavy cream instead of the baileys. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  9. Hi Chelsey,
    Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe. I attempted to bake this cake yesterday but several things didn’t work out as it should.

    Firstly, I baked the cake with a 7 inch silicon cake mold and followed all the steps adding and mixing all ingredients, however the edges of cake layers all turned out to be sloped and surface turned a bit hard like a hard, crispy cover. Not sure if it is due to the material of the mold or the over fan temperature.

    Secondly, the buttercream weren’t as the goldenrod colour as yours. Thirdly, I believe I had similar problem as others mentioned above with the ganache, it turned out to be quite gluey and peanut butter like, which I can’t apply easily on the buttercream frosting surface.

    I hope I can improve in my second attempt. Could you please help? Much appreciated. Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Diana

    1. Hi Didi,

      So sorry to hear that! This recipe makes super soft, fluffy chocolate cake layer, so you really need to use a metal or hard cake pan to bake them! A silicone cake mold isn’t quite sturdy enough :/

      The ganache does turn out to be a bit thick because of the bailey’s, and that’s why I add it on top of a chilled layer of chocolate buttercream frosting. That way, you don’t get any crumbs as you spread it 🙂 However, if it’s too thick to spread you can always add a bit more heavy cream, or heat it up in the microwave in 10 second intervals, until it’s easier to work with.

      Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  10. Hi Chelsey, I’ve just come across your site this morning and I’m very excited! My friend’s birthday is coming up and she LOVES baileys so I’m planning to make this cake. One thing I’ve noticed is that for your buttercream you state to mix it on low speed; I’ve been used to whipping my butter on high until very light and fluffy. What happens to the texture of the butter cream when mixed on low speed? I did recently have a cream cheese butter cream curdle and wonder now if it’s because I over-beat it….?
    Also, your video tutorials are amazing! I love the idea of piping the butter cream around the sides before smoothing it out. Thank you!!!
    Kelly Hayes

    1. Hi Kelly,

      That is a great question. I try not to incorporate much air into my buttercream and use a paddle attachment, to make it silky smooth! It makes it a lot easier to smooth onto cakes and pipe with. However, if you want a fluffier buttercream you can definitely beat the butter on high with a whisk attachment! It really is more of a matter of preference than anything else 🙂 I hope that helps, and that your friend loves her bday cake!! Happy baking!

  11. Me again! So, I made my friend’s birthday cake using your recipe as my inspiration and it was fabulous. I followed you cake recipe to a T with the exception of substituting Caputo gluten-free flour (I have an allergy) and I have to say it turned out AMAZING! Moist and chocolatey; a definite keeper! I did switch other components up based on my personal taste (I find American buttercream way too sweet) and on reviewers comments (the ganache). I made an Italian buttercream (a bit tricky but was worth it) and after going back to a ganache recipe I used for my Dad’s cake, increased the cream used substantially (for 250 grams of chocolate I used 1 cup of heated cream and 2 tbs of Baileys). The ganache was perfect; when cooled slightly it spread beautifully and firmed up perfectly. I decorated differently (although I’m dying to try your technique; I just wasn’t feeling confident to do it yesterday). Again, I love your videos and will be trying more of your recipes in the future. Thanks Chelsey!!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      I am so happy to hear that!! AND that gluten free flour worked great with it!!!! 🙂 ABC is definitely on the sweet side, I totally get that. I bet it tasted amazing with Italian buttercream!

      Thank you so much for sharing, your comment put the biggest smile on my face today!

  12. For the chocolate buttercream ingredients you have 1 1/3 melted dark chocolate but in the directions you have “chips”

    1. Hi Jan,

      I melt down down chocolate chips! I use 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips, which I melt and let cool before adding into my frosting. Hope that helps, sorry for any confusion!

    1. Hi Marilin,

      buttermilk is a cultured milk that makes super tender baked goods! You can usually find it in the dairy aisle of most grocery stores. If you don’t have any in your grocery store, you can also use sour cream or whole milk in its place.

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Totally! I’d swap it into my vanilla cake recipe, by adding it into the frosting and swapping out 1/2 cup of buttermilk for 1/2 cup of baileys. You can also add a baileys simple syrup to make it extra boozy if you want. hope that helps, happy baking!

  13. Hello, Chelsea!! I was thinking about swapping the milk chocolate for semi sweet ganache. What do you think? Will it makes the cake bitter?

    1. Hi Brittany,

      I think it all comes down to your taste preference!! I personally prefer the taste of milk, but it you like less sweet / darker chocolate, I bet you’d love the this tastes with semi sweet chocolate. You will need to add a tiny bit more heavy cream to the ganache filling, because semi sweet has less cocoa butter in it than milk chocolate.

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  14. Hey,

    I was planning to make your chocolate bailey’s cake. I am not fond of buttercream and neither is my sister who i’m baking it for so i was planning to fill and top the cake with the ganache only.

    I went through a lot of comments and realised that the ganache is really thick. So do you think it’s a good idea to go through with what i have in mind or is the buttercream really crucial?

    1. Hi Nikita,

      I’ve updated the recipe to make the ganache a bit less thick, but I would recommend doubling the amount of ganache for the filling if you plan for it to be the only thing between the cake layers.

      If you find yours is thick, you can always add in a splash of additional heavy cream or Baileys. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  15. Hello,
    Beautiful cake! I’m wondering if only 1 and a 1/2 cup of flour can make 3 cake layers in an 8 inch pan??? And also If I want to decrease the amount of sugar (1 cup instead of 2 ) is this possible? Do I have to add more flour??
    Thank you 🙂

Let me know what you think!