Easy Coffee and Baileys Layer Cake

I am a self-proclaimed foodie in progress. I am not trained nor educated in culinary arts, but I enjoy testing my hand at new challenges in the kitchen. There is definitely a therapy that I find in making a cake from scratch, but sometimes you just have to go with the convenience of a box mix. But that doesn’t mean your cake has to be boring. I am a lover of coffee and Baileys so when I saw this recipe for a coffee and Baileys cake, I knew had to give a try.

The recipe called for a buttermilk cake from scratch, which just didn’t appeal to me. But it did make the wheels in my head start spinning. “How could I simplify this and create a coffee flavored cake?” Many scratch recipes for chocolate cake recommend using coffee instead of water because it enhances the flavor. BINGO!! Why not use coffee in place of the water for a regular cake?

I was beyond excited to give this a try. First thing to know about adding coffee to any cake mix/ batter, let it cool or pour VERY slowly; otherwise you’ll cook the eggs?. 

Mix the batter thoroughly as instructed on the box. Box mixes I tend to do by hand, vigorously for 2 minutes. Plus this allows my sous-chef (the baking moose) to get some practice too.

This is a VERY MOIST CAKE, so be sure to Grease and Flour your pans. Pour batter into pans and bake according to box directions. Keep in mind all ovens do cook a little differently. My oven cooks hot, so I actually baked my cakes at 305° F for 25 minutes. Prepare yourself for the house to smell amazing- like coffee house amazing!!! Transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

At this point, you can start on your frosting. (I love my KitchenAid stand mixer for this step, but a hand mixer will work just as well.) I also used coffee in the frosting (if you don’t brew it ahead of time to chill, you can put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes). Beat your butter until fluffy. Then, slowly add your powdered sugar. I like to sift my powdered sugar, not necessary depending on how you choose to decorate your cake (piping it’s almost a MUST), but I think it creates a much smoother texture. Once all the powdered sugar is combined, add the coffee and Baileys Irish Cream Coffee Creamer (Baileys and heavy whipping for an alcohol version).

For this post, I made the non-alcoholic version of the frosting and the kids ate it up when given the opportunity to taste test.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE. This dessert craft sounds so much fancier and more difficult to master than it truly is (it just takes time). Seriously- so simple and guaranteed to WOW. You achieve this tasty topping by combining equal parts of chocolate chips (dark chocolate is exceptional in ganache) to warmed heavy whipping cream (HWC) Warm your HWC in the microwave for about 40 seconds, you want it hot but not boiling. Add your chocolate and let rest for 5 minutes; stir the mixture. If you find your chocolate chips are not melting, you can warm it back up (start with 10 second intervals). After you have stirred, let this rest at least 10 minutes so it can thicken.

When your ganache has your desired consistency, it’s time to level and stack the cakes. You can level your cake using a serrated bread knife (if you’re not concerned about it being flat, flip your first layer over and begin with side of the cake that cooked inside the pan). First, spread a layer of ganache on to your cake.

Allow the ganache to set, about 5 minutes, then top with frosting. If the ganache does not set, it will mix into the frosting. It tastes just as good, it’s just not quite as pretty.

Continue to layer cake, ganache, and Baileys buttercream until you reach the top layer. Allow the top layer to set for at least 30 minutes to form a “crust” on the frosting and prevent mixing when you add your final frosting layer. After frosting the top and sides a final time, I like to drizzle a little chocolate ganache across the top and around the sides to add some color. I prefer to eat this cake cold; either way- forks up, dig in and enjoy!

Easy Coffee and Baileys Layer Cake

  • Servings: 8-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 Box Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup strong brewed coffee- chilled


3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Baileys Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

2-3 Tbsp chilled coffee (to taste)

2-3 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream coffee creamer




1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8 inch pans

2) Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and coffee. *Be sure coffee is chilled or add very slowly so you don’t cook the eggs.

3) Bake for 25 minutes, testing with a toothpick to make sure cake is thoroughly baked.


1) In bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy.

2) Slowly add powdered sugar

3) Mix in chilled coffee and Irish cream. Mix on high to allow cream to stiffen and create a fluffy texture


1) Warm heavy whipping cream in microwave until hot but not boiling.

2) Add chocolate and let rest 5 minutes.

3) Stir chocolate and let rest until it thickens.

Building the cake

Layer cake, ganache, and frosting.


For an alcoholic version of the frosting, replace Baileys Irish Coffee Creamer with 2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream AND 2 Tbsp Heavy whipping Cream

You can also simplify this even further by making cupcakes. Bake cake and follow cupcake instructions on box, frost and then drizzle with hot fudge (at room temperature)

5 Replies to “Easy Coffee and Baileys Layer Cake”

  1. I can attest to the fact that this cake is delicious! I was fortunate enough to have had a piece when Nicole made it last time!

Comments are closed.