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

52 thoughts on “Baileys Chocolate Cake

    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!

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

Let me know what you think!