Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

Autumn is definitely here and I don’t have to tell you that the days are getting shorter and the warm weather is no longer.  One of my kids even said the “f” word this morning….frost.   It’s time for warmer drinks and comfort foods and I can’t think of anything better than a hot cup of coffee with a Bailey’s shot- or two– in it!  I can think of something better actually…how about a Rich Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcake with the most amazing Bailey’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

When I made these, I also filled them with a chocolate ganache infused with Bailey’s.  I would leave it out.  It’s not necessary because the real star of the dessert here is the icing.  You know about my ongoing love affair with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  I have to say that the boozy version is absolute bliss and sits right at the top of my favourites list!

I frosted these this morning before going to work.  And you can be darn sure I licked the bowl shiny clean.   I could’ve easily eaten the whole bowl without the cupcakes.  It’s that yummy.  And I had a container of chocolate covered espresso beans for garnish.  So as I was licking the icing bowl I was also munching on espresso beans.  Breakfast of champions.

You can imagine the state I was in when I got to work….

I couldn’t wait to post this recipe today to share with you! Let me know if the Bailey’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream makes your top ten!   Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

*adapted from What The Fruitcake?

Makes 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup strong hot coffee

3 tsp instant espresso powder

3/4 cup dark cocoa

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp mayonnaise, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners

1.  Whisk together coffee, espresso powder and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside.  Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside.  Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined.  Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture.  Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Fold in mayonnaise.

3.  Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.

Bailey’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • Bailey’s to taste

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and Bailey’s (to taste) and beat until combined.  Use immediately.
*I’ve since edited this to add that LorAnn Oils has an excellent Irish Cream Flavour that can be added to this icing to enhance the Baileys flavour. It can be found in most baking supply stores.

Garnish with a chocolate covered espresso bean.


Filed under Cup Cakes

88 responses to “Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

  1. Oh my, oh my, oh my! These look fantastic. Guess what I’m making this weekend?

  2. These are very pretty cupcakes. Love the espresso bean garnish. Your recipe stating *Bailey’s to taste* leaves it wide open for us doesn’t it? LOL

  3. Wow. I can’t wait to make these. I’ll make them next week and return to tell you how it went. You’re piping is lovely by the way. Great job! What tip did you use? One more thing… nice photography! All around excellent job!

  4. Wow, that is one gorgeous cupcake and reading through the recipe I am seriously drooling!

  5. Yum. These cupcakes sound sooo good! I love the flavor combo. I also love that you do your buttercream the old school way!

  6. Omg these look amazing! Where is the recipie from?!

  7. Court

    These cupcakes tasted AMAZING! The icing with the hint of Bailey’s was so yummy. These are on my top 10 list of favourites from Sweet Revelations.

  8. Crys

    Hi Renee! I’ve read thru the instructions a few times and maybe I’m just missing it… but at what point to you use the 2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise? 🙂 This looks amazing!

  9. Kristy

    Hi Renee, is it at all possible to do this recipe without a mixer? Thanks!

  10. Kristy

    I would also love to make half Bailey’s cupcakes and half purely white vanilla cupcakes using this awesome recipe, is there a way I can alter it for this? Thank you very much!

    • Kristy- I honestly don’t know if it would be possible to make a Swiss Meringue without a mixer, unless you have some serious muscles! The meringue alone can take up to 10 minutes of beating before it is cooled and glossy enough to add butter. I just don’t think you would get the same results by hand. Please get back to me though if you do give it a whirl, I would love to hear about it!
      For the half Bailey’s half vanilla icing- that is fairly easy! Once you make your batch of Swiss Meringue, divide it in half, about 2 1/2 cups per half. Add Bailey’s to taste to one half (still add some vanilla first) and then add vanilla and some vanilla bean seeds to the other half.

  11. Looks like an amazging recipe. I see you used the Wilton 1M tip but can you tell me the technique you used for frosting? ie. angle of your tip and did you do it in two layers? They look fabulous!

    • Thanks Jo-Ann- I basically hold the piping bag directly above the cupcake, straight in front of me, and apply slight pressure to the bag with one hand while moving it in a circular motion around the cupcake. I do not do it in layers but continue to swirl around the cupcake working my way to the center/top. Release pressure just before your last little swirl on top.

  12. Julie

    Are all your temperatures in Farenheit? I get that 350 can’t be celcius but for the buttercream part 150 is quite ambiguous, please let us know so I can get making this buttercream!

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  14. Jeanette

    Thank you for this recipe! I made mini versions for my St.Patty’s Day cocktail party and they were a HUGE hit!

  15. Pamela

    I assume the mayo is for oil? I don’t use it so don’t have it on hand. Could another oil be substituted? Or shortening?

  16. ASHLEY

    what could i use instead of bailys

  17. adriane

    Hi….just wondering how you store youe completed cupcakes after icing them…the frosting was so soft the last time i made them…i put them in fridge to harden…they were good but not sure if they are supposed to be cold….thanx

  18. These look just lovely and bailey’s swiss meringue sounds incredible! Can’t wait to try them!

  19. sue

    I made these cupcakes today. The cupcakes were delicious and looked beautiful but everyone thought the frosting was about a 2 or 3 on a scale of 10.. I made it EXACTLY according to the recipe, It wasn’t very sweet and tasted like eating butter. Will definitely make the cupcakes again but with a different frosting.

    • Hi Sue,
      Thats too bad that you didn’t like the taste- that happens sometimes! Thats why I added Bailey’s “to taste” so that you could put as much in as you wanted to achieve the best Bailey’s flavour. These would also be good with caramel or vanilla or chocolate SMBC.
      There is also an oil from LorrAnn Oils that is Irish Cream Flavour. That might be worth a try!

      • Tanya

        I too, had the same experience with the buttercream, a very strong buttery taste. I did add vanilla and peppermint extract flavoring. But reading all of the reviews makes me want to try it again. Is it supposed to have a very strong butter taste/flavor to it? Or did I possibly do something wrong? Should I try less butter maybe?

      • HI Tanya,
        I’m not sure why you had such a strong buttery taste, especially with the peppermint extract. Did you only add two cups? Strange…please do try again! If you are trying for the mint buttercream, you shouldn’t have such a strong butter flavour. I’m puzzled!

    • I’ve experienced that before when the frosting gets too thick, the butter flavour becomes more concentrated. If you beat the frosting up more it normally solves the problem.

  20. Catherine

    I was just wondering how long the frosting will last. considering you said use immediately. I’m making this for my mom’s birthday sunday but want to make the cakes a day in advance. Is that okay??

  21. monique joy pablo

    hi. i’m still a student in the Philippines and also a food lover haha. i just want to know what is the purpose of the mayonnaise in the cupcake?? i jreally don’t like mayonnaise ..

  22. Alexia

    These. Are. Amazing. I made a few changes… First, I made them in a mini version because I was making them for my friends dessert tasting party and everything had to be bite sized. Second, I couldn’t find espresso powder for the life of me so I added some strong instant coffee instead. Once baked, they didn’t taste coffee enough for my liking so for the frosting I used vanilla extract with also some coffee extract. Most delicious dessert I have ever made!!!!! I took home the prize of best overall dessert at the Party! Thanks a million.

  23. Tambi

    At the top of the recipe it states Makes 24, I only made half a recipe, So does that mean it made 12 or the the recipe would make 48? Thanks

    • Tambi- Thanks for pointing that out! Looking back I have no idea why that is there because the recipe and the frosting yield enough for 24 cupcakes! I removed my comment.
      Let me know how they turn out!

  24. Tricia O

    Hi I tried this recipe last night the Bailey’s frosting was fabulous. Unfortunately, the cupcake was dry. I did not use the mayonnaise so that may be the reason. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Tricia- the mayo is not necessary at all. Perhaps they needed less time in the oven? Hard to say what happened, but maybe try taking them out a few minutes earlier? Chocolate can be just very slightly under cooked (few wet crumbs on cake tester). Vanilla however, cannot. If you try them again let me know!

  25. Amy

    for the peppermint ones? should we omit both the coffee and the espresso?? or leave the coffee in?

  26. Malak

    I would really like to know what is the point of using mayonnaise in this recipe.
    Can it be omitted?
    What substitute can be used?

  27. Linda

    Is the Bailey’s optional or mandatory?

  28. Mary

    are you using Dutch processed cocoa or regular cocoa?

  29. thedessertchronicles

    these cupcakes are beautiful!

  30. Lisa

    How do you store these? Does it have to be refridgerated?

    • Lisa- I would not refrigerate if you don’t need to. If you’re going to eat them that day, leave them out. If you’re eating them the next day, you can pop them in the fridge overnight and remove them in the morning so they come back to room temp. That being said, there are many times that I have not refrigerated over night at all. I think it can really dry out the cake. It’s just a personal choice.


  31. Courtney

    Hi there, just wanted to say what an amazing blog you have. I made these cupcakes the other day and although they tasted great all of the cupcakes peeled away from the liners. I was just wondering if this had ever happened to your or if I just had bad luck. Kind regards. Courtney x x x

    • Hi Courtney! Thank you for the comments! I have had liners peel away, with lemon or vanilla but never chocolate. Hmmm, not sure why that happens. I have yet to figure that out!!


      • Julie

        It happens when you over beat the mixture. The gluten in the flour stretches too much and when you bake them, it shrinks back pulling the cake from the sides. Answer is only beat just enough to combine.

    • Hi Courtney! I have had that happen with lemon but never chocolate. I know it’s a bummer and I have no idea why that happens sometimes! Maybe try again!


  32. Nina

    I tried to make those yesterday and all went well until I added the Baileys to the mixture. Mixture separated. What did I do wrong? Mix too long or not long enough? It was nice and thick/fluffy before adding the Baileys. Or do I have to fold in the Baileys and not mix it in? Thanks for helping!

    • Nina- sometimes that happens, but just keep beating the icing, it will come back together. That can take as long as 10 minutes sometimes. Often people throw it out, but it’s still good! I would encourage you to try again!


      • nina

        Hi Renee!
        Thank you for the quick reply. I will try again definitely, the taste was very good it just looked aweful! I’ll let you know if it worked out or not.

      • nina

        Hi Renee,
        I tried again yesterday and this time they turned out well. I hope my colleagues will enjoy them today at lunch (treat for my birthday). This time the mixture did not separate 🙂

  33. Pat

    Where can I find espresso powder?

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  35. These look phenomenal! I will have to try these out soon. Thanks for this!

  36. Sandra

    I’m trying these in the UK, they look great! When you say 3/4 cup cocoa is that cocoa powder or made up as a liquid? Thanks, Sandra

  37. Lisa

    I was wondering if you can make this white chocolate flavored instead of bailey’s flavored. Any suggestions on how much white chocolate to use?

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  39. Sophia G

    Made these today for my husbands birthday. I left out the mayo (I thought the taste was pretty great, without it), baked for a perfect 16min, and ended up with soupy icing on the first try but the second attempt icing held up. Thank you for posting!

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  42. Olu

    Hi Renee, lovely blog I must say. Just stumbled on it today and from the recipe, the cake tastes scrumptious already, though I am yet to try the recipe though. Will do so soon. One question though, can the frosting withstand high temperature? I live in the tropics and i am scared of using that topping especially for an outdoor event. Any suggestions ? Thank you

    • Hello! I’m happy you found me! The Swiss Meringue Frosting will go very soft and melt if left outside for long. If I’m using it for an outdoor function, I keep it inside (not in the fridge) until serving time and then bring it out. That’s always worked well for me!

  43. Sherri

    Looks amazing! Approximately how much Baileys do you add?

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