Coffee and Bailey's Cake

Coffee and Bailey's Cake - topped with espresso frosting and a Bailey's white chocolate drip

Coffee + Bailey's Irish Cream - 

Odds are good I don't have to tell you this if you're reading this recipe page - but coffee and Bailey's Irish cream is a match made in *heaven.* I have a long list of favorite cream liqueurs, but Bailey's still tops the list. And combined with coffee is still my favorite way to drink it! 

One day I realized the color of Bailey's is actually pretty close to the color of white chocolate ganache. That was the day this Coffee and Bailey's Cake idea was born!

Quick note on this cake design -

I've made several tweaks to this recipe since its creation. If you look back in my YouTube archives you'll see a Coffee and Bailey's cake with a large Bailey's bottle up-ended on top.  (video here) 😉 I had to use 4 skewers to hold it up...and honestly, it didn't stay in place well.
I decided the 50mL sample size bottles would be a much better fit for the cake, and the pictures / video on this page use that size. 

(If you want to use a larger bottle - go for it! Just know that even empty, Baileys bottles are sturdy (read: heavy). Even with 4 skewers to hold it up, it only stayed up well for a couple of hours. Then the bottle started to tip sideways. I took it off the cake top at that point - before it could tip all the way over and make a mess! I'd recommend chilling the cake thoroughly and waiting to add the bottle until right before serving. 😉 Up to you!) 

What if I've never added a drip to a cake before?
  • Don't stress! It's easier than you probably think it is! 🙂 
  • My biggest tips - make sure you measure your white chocolate and Bailey's accurately. Too much/little of either may affect your drip consistency. 
  • Make sure you try a test drip first! Don't pour the ganache over your whole cake until you're confident in the consistency of your ganache. You can adjust the thickness by adding 1 teaspoon extra Bailey's at a time, or a Tablespoon of white chocolate chips at a time - or by slightly warming or cooling the mixture for minor adjustments. 
  • I loved this YouTube tutorial by Sugar&Sparrow when I was new to cake drips! 
“How do I store this cake?”
  • Before serving, I prefer storing cakes in cake boxes – they help keep the cake from drying out without any plastic wrap touching the sides of the cake and potentially messing up the decorations! I place cakes in the fridge if storing overnight but allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

  • Cover any remaining cake well after serving to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

“Can I make the cake / frosting ahead of time?”
  • Definitely! Wrap the cake layers well and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Transfer the frosting to a zip-lock bag and squeeze out the extra air, and again - refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. 

“Do I have to make the cake / frosting from scratch?”
  • Not if you don't want to! You can substitute 2 of your favorite white cake mixes - replace the water with half buttermilk and half Bailey's Irish cream, and add 2 Tablespoons Instant Espresso powder. I also like to substitute butter for the oil. Keep the baking pans the same! The cake layers will just be a little less rich. 

  • Store bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well. Add 4 Tablespoons of Instant Espresso powder to the frosting to decorate the top of the cake. 

Mmmmmmkay. Now that that's out of the way, recipe time! 🙂 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Don't forget to pin for later! 

Coffee & Baileys cake pinterest pin

Coffee and Bailey's Cake

Those classic cocktails are classics for a reason - and this Coffee and Bailey's Cake captures those delicious flavors in a layer cake!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time37 minutes
Decorating time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 37 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bailey's Cake, Coffee and Baileys Cake, Coffee Bailey's Cake, Coffee Baileys Cocktail Cake, Coffee with Bailey's Cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 745kcal
Author: Sarah H



Coffee & Baileys Cake layers

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk room temperature
  • ¾ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Instant espresso powder
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Bailey’s Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (one package, softened)
  • 1 cup butter (two sticks, softened)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)

Coffee Cake Drip & Decorations


Coffee & Baileys Cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in buttermilk and Bailey's Irish cream. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) in separate bowl, then add half the dry ingredients at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition.
  • Add vanilla, espresso powder, and vegetable oil. Mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  • Bake for 33-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble and break.

Bailey’s Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with Bailey's until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add salt if needed and beat until well combined.

Bailey’s Cake Filling

  • (This step is optional, but to add a little bit more flavor to the filling, combine ¾ cup of frosting with ¼ cup of Bailey’s and another tablespoon of instant espresso powder. Drizzle between cake layers on top of the frosting (the mixture will be fairly thin).)


  • Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and drizzle with Bailey’s filling. Sprinkle a few chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans over the filling, and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layer.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge to set the frosting.

Cake drip

  • Place Bailey's and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between.
  • Allow ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid.
  • Now the fun part! Drizzle ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to run in drips down the side. It should set fairly quickly if your cake is well chilled. (I used a spoon and added my drips to just one side; you could use a piping bag and add them to the whole cake if desired.)


  • Okay! Time to decorate! Add 2 small Bailey's bottles to the top of the cake - I laid one down on its side and left the other standing, pressing them into the white chocolate ganache to hold them in place.
  • Add 4 Tablespoons instant espresso to remaining frosting - I had to beat the frosting for 2-3 minutes to get the granules to dissolve completely. Decorate the cake top and base with frosting swirls and chocolate-covered espresso beans.
  • And you’re done! Cut in and enjoy!



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate.) 


Serving: 1slice (1/16th cake) | Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Coffee and Bailey's Cake?

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