A perfect single layer, decadent and easy Baileys chocolate cake is just what your next St. Patrick's Day dessert menu needs. The simplest one-bowl chocolate cake recipe with Baileys Irish cream and topped with a sweet Baileys buttercream frosting is the perfect cake for this time of year.
With March rolling in so does everything St. Patrick's Day. And we are not short on parades and parties this time of year with all things green and "Irish" (I use this term loosely because most St. Patrick's Day things are not actually Irish). I am already working on my party menu with incredibly popular guinness mac and cheese recipe and guinness beef pot pie, and I have decided to take dessert in a different direction with an easy Baileys chocolate cake that everyone will love.
What is Irish cream?
Not going to lie, I am a little shocked that this is a common question asked on google (maybe I drink too much, my friends). Irish cream is a liqueur made with Irish whiskey and cream.
Baileys is made with whiskey, a sweetened cream, vanilla and a little bit of cocoa powder. The little bit of cocoa powder came as a bit of a surprise to me when I researched it, but really shouldn't have been a surprise. It is the perfect compliment to this chocolate cake recipe, and goes so nice in a hot chocolate or a coffee.
Does an Irish cream cake taste boozy?
While the chocolate cake itself doesn't taste boozy at all, because the alcohol in the Baileys evaporates when it bakes, the frosting does have a boozy flavor.
The buttercream frosting recipe swaps out some of the cream in a traditional buttercream recipe with Baileys, giving it a boozy kick. If you are making this for kids or non alcohol drinkers, you can simply omit the irish cream from the frosting, making it a traditional buttercream frosting.
This easy single layer cake is a one bowl chocolate cake wonder. My traditional one-bowl chocolate cake recipe is made with buttermilk. I have adapted for this recipe to include some Baileys in place of some of the buttermilk. Here's what you need:
- Cocoa powder
- Irish Cream. I use Baileys liqueur but it is definitely not the only Irish cream out there.
- Buttermilk. I love love LOVE buttermilk in cakes. I think it gives great moisture to the cake as well as a great crumb.
- Oil. I am an oil-in-cakes baker almost all the time. Butter definitely rules in most of my baking, but not in cakes.
- Egg yolk. An extra egg yolk will add richness to the chocolate cake batter.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
Buttercream frosting ingredients
The buttercream frosting I use for this recipe is a traditional American style buttercream, with Baileys added of course. Here's what you'll need:
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla. I use vanilla bean paste in my frostings, but you can substitute with vanilla extract.
- Heavy cream
How to make the cake
This cake is so easy, I don't think it needs instructional photos. ALl the dry ingredients get whisked together in a bowl. And the wet ingredients get added and whisked into to the dry ingredients. THAT. IS. IT. When I said easy Baileys chocolate cake, I really meant it.
To make the buttercream frosting
As equally easy as the cake, making the buttercream is just a couple of steps.
- Beat the butter for several minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar and CAREFULLY and SLOWLY start to beat it into the butter. If you do not do this slowly, almost pulsing your stand mixer, you will end up in a blizzard of powdered sugar everywhere.
- Add the vanilla , salt and Baileys and continue beating until incorporated.
- The heavy cream can be added by the teaspoonful until you have a soft and fluffy buttercream frosting.
A perfect consistency would be something like this (below):
Tips for success
I have a few tips for making sure this cake turns out perfect for your upcoming St. Patrick's Day dessert:
- Don't overmix the wet ingredients when making the batter. You want to whisk them in until just combined with the dry ingredients.
- You can totally bake this in an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking dish if you prefer over a round cake pan, but I don't recommend anything larger, as the single layer cake will be too skinny.
- If you are omitting the Baileys from the buttercream frosting because of the alcohol, a quick substitute would be all cream and a teaspoon of cocoa powder which will give you a similar flavor
My biggest tip the best texture on this chocolate cake is to not sub all the buttermilk with Baileys. I know it is tempting as it will give you more of that Irish cream flavor, but with the alcohol evaporating during cooking, you will lose too much of the moisture in the cake and end up with a drier crumb. Using some buttermilk will ensure a good moist, decadent texture on the cake.
Other single layer cake recipes
I love a good, easy single layer cake any time of year. Check out some of my other cake recipes
- Stand mixer
For the cake
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup Irish cream liqueur I use Baileys
- ¼ cup full fat buttermilk
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
For the buttercream frosting
- 8 oz butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon Irish cream liqueur I use Baileys, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream room temperature
To make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer or a whisk), combine the dry ingredients to blend. Add the Irish cream, buttermilk and oil to the dry ingredients and continue mixing for a few minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat a few more minutes until well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
To make the frosting
- With a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat the butter for 5-8 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME on LOW SPEED, making sure to incorporate it into the butter after each addition.
- Add the salt and then the Irish cream liqueur and continue beating to blend, until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too thick, thin it out with the heavy cream, beating in one teaspoon at a time, until you’ve got the consistency you want.
Kelly McMahon says
This was so delicious and so easy. A huge hit at our St Patrick Day party!
Katie Beck says
Great, I am so glad you liked it!