These Bailey’s and coffee cupcakes feature a mocha & Bailey’s flavored cupcake topped with the most amazing Bailey’s Irish buttercream frosting. They are easy to make and the perfect dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s day!
Bailey’s & coffee cupcakes take the classic cocktail and put it into a cupcake form. These cupcakes have it all! They are moist, light, and hands-down delicious with the perfect balance of Bailey’s and coffee flavors. The Bailey’s Irish buttercream frosting is easy to make and absolutely perfect for topping the cupcakes!
What You Need to Make the Cupcakes:
- All-purpose flour: Measure correctly! Stir the flour around in the bag to loosen it up, lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup, and then level it off with the flat side of a knife.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Leaveners that cause the cupcakes to rise and make them soft.
- Salt: Crucial for bringing out flavors.
- Butter: Unsalted and softened to room temperature. Leave the butter out at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or to speed up softening you can cut the butter into smaller pieces. It should hold its shape and be easily pliable when gently pressed in.
- Make sure you’re using unsalted butter or the cupcakes will be too salty. If all you have is salted butter, reduce the added salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
- Sugar: Creaming sugar with softened butter whips air into the butter and helps make the cupcakes light and fluffy!
- Eggs: Room temperature. Take the eggs out of the fridge at least 1 hour before using them, or quickly bring the eggs to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure or imitation is fine.
- Strong-brewed hot coffee: Enhances and intensifies the chocolate flavor, you can also use decaf coffee.
- Cocoa powder: Mixing the cocoa powder with hot coffee enhances and intensifies the chocolate flavor.
- Instant espresso powder: Because the cocoa powder can overpower the coffee flavor, adding a couple of teaspoons of instant espresso powder ensures these cupcakes will have a noticeable coffee flavor. You can find espresso powder in the baking aisle at your grocery store.
- Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur: The alcohol in the cupcakes will get baked out, but if you don’t want to use alcohol you can substitute it with Bailey’s Irish coffee creamer.
- Sour cream: Adds moisture to the cupcakes without making the batter too thin. Always use full-fat! You can also substitute with full-fat plain Greek yogurt.
How to Make Bailey’s & Coffee Cupcakes:
Preheat your oven to 350° and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Lightly spray the inside of each liner with non-stick spray so the cupcakes don’t stick.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the hot coffee with the cocoa powder and the instant espresso powder and set aside.
In a large bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the softened butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined after each. Don’t overmix!
Add the vanilla extract, Bailey’s, sour cream, and the coffee mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. Gently tap the pan on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles and bake for 15-17 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Bailey’s Irish Buttercream Frosting:
- Butter: Unsalted and softened to room temperature. If all you have is salted butter then leave out the added salt in the frosting.
- Powdered sugar
- Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur: For an alcohol-free option you can substitute with Bailey’s Irish coffee creamer.
- Instant espresso powder: Adds great depth of flavor to the frosting. This does add a minimal amount of caffeine to the frosting.
- Cocoa powder
- Salt: A pinch of salt brings out the flavors and ensures the frosting won’t be too sweet.
Mix all of the frosting ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk attachment. Keep the frosting at room temperature until ready to frost the cupcakes. If you’re making the frosting ahead of time, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. Then let it soften to room temperature when you’re ready to use it.
How to Frost Cupcakes:
To pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes you’ll need a piping bag and a piping tip. For a classic swirl frosted cupcake use a Wilton 1M tip, which is a large open star tip. You can get one on Amazon or at any craft store. Other classic piping tips are the 2D and 2A
Start by piping a dollop of frosting in the center of the cupcake, then pipe frosting in counter-clockwise circles till you get to the outside, once you complete a circle around the outside, start working your way back to the middle of the cupcake in circles, overlapping each circle as you do.
Tips for Frosting Cupcakes:
- Your frosting needs to be completely softened to room temperature or it won’t pipe smoothly and easily.
- To fill the piping bag with frosting: Place the piping bag with the tip side down inside a tall glass. Fold the edges of the piping bag around the outside of the glass and then use a rubber spatula to press the frosting into the bag. Pull the edges of the bag up and around the frosting, then squeeze the bag to push the frosting down towards the tip and get rid of any pockets of air.
- Only fill your piping bag about halfway with frosting. If the bag is too full the frosting can come out the other end and create a big mess.
- It’s usually easier to pipe frosting in a counter-clockwise direction (clockwise if you’re left-handed).
- If you’re adding any sprinkles or decorations, be sure to do so before the frosting sets.
How to Store & Freeze Cupcakes:
Frosted cupcakes stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, or in the fridge for 1 week.
To freeze the cupcakes (unfrosted): Once the cupcakes have cooled, arrange them on a baking pan in a single layer and set the pan in the freezer for 1 hour or until the cupcakes are hard. Add them to a large plastic bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and frost as normal.
To freeze cupcake batter: Add the batter to the cupcake liners in the muffin pan. Set the pan flat in the freezer until the batter is completely frozen solid. Remove the batter-filled cupcake liners from the pan and add them to a large plastic bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake the cupcakes, add the batter-filled liners to the muffin pan and bake in a 350° oven, a few minutes longer than the normal bake time, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
More Cake Recipes:
Bailey's & Coffee Cupcakes
- 12-count muffin pan
- cupcake liners
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup Bailey's Irish cream liqueur*
- ½ cup strong-brewed hot coffee, regular or decaf
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
Bailey's Irish Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup Bailey's cream liqueur
- ½ tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners and lightly spray the inside of each with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer or use the paddle attachment in a stand mixer to mix the softened butter and sugar until combined and light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula a couple of times or as needed. Add the room temperature eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until just combined after each.
- Add the vanilla extract, full-fat sour cream, and Bailey's cream liqueur. In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix the hot coffee, cocoa powder, and instant espresso powder until dissolved. Add that to the bowl of the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth with no lumps in the batter.
- Add the batter evenly to the cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. Gently tap the pan on the counter to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, then remove from the pan and let cool completely in the fridge before frosting the cupcakes.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to mix the softened butter, powdered sugar, Bailey's cream liqueur, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add the frosting to a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes as desired. I used a Wilton 1M tip, which is a large open star tip.