Irish Coffee Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with some Irish coffee cupcakes? These treats are an easy adaptation of my mocha cupcakes and feature Bailey’s Irish Cream in both the cupcake and frosting. The recipe conveniently uses three tablespoons of Bailey’s total – the exact amount in a miniature bottle that you can find at your local state store.

What’s a state store, you non-residents of Pennsylvania may ask? Here in the commonwealth all liquor stores are state-run, and therefore called state stores. Beer, however, comes from a different shop known as a beer distributor, where you can buy six packs or cases. Some restaurants and grocery stores can sell six packs to go, too. What can I say? Apparently Pennsylvanians took Prohibition pretty seriously, and we’ve never quite caught up with the rest of the country…not that you’d be able to tell that on St. Patrick’s Day. Happy (and safe) celebrating!


For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

For the frosting

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; my recipe yielded 20 cupcakes.

In a medium-sized glass measuring cup, whisk together coffee and espresso powder until the powder is completely dissolved. Add milk, vanilla, and Bailey’s and stir to combine, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix to combine, scraping down your bowl at least once. Add flour mixture and coffee/milk mixture in alternate batches, starting and ending with the flour and mixing just to combine between each. Stir with a spatula to ensure that all the flour mixture is incorporated.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into the cupcake wells, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, then remove cupcakes from tin and cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting, combine espresso powder, vanilla extract, and Bailey’s in a small bowl and stir to completely dissolve the espresso powder. Beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, then add powdered sugar all at once and beat until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. Add espresso mixture and beat 2-3 minutes until completely combined; you’ll want to scrape your bowl a few times in the process.

Fit a large piping bag with a Wilton M1 tip and pipe swirls of frosting on each cupcake. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Makes 20.


St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

st. pattys cupcakesHappy (actual) St. Patrick’s Day! Yes, the baking extravaganza continued throughout this past weekend in my kitchen, and these were my final project. I like to think that St. Patrick would be proud of them…if he liked cupcakes, that is. 

The two things I love most about baking are that it is both creative and apt to make someone really, really happy. These cupcakes enabled me to be both creative, and the bringer of sugar joy to the family of one of my lovely colleagues from work, whose kids love this holiday.

Apparently, the cupcakes went over big…as you can see in the “aftermath” photo below. And yes, that is my laptop in this photo…a blogger needs her resources close by, after all! 


  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 recipe vanilla buttercream
  • green liquid food coloring
  • leaf green and kelly green gel paste food coloring
  • green sparkling sugar, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one regular-sized cupcake pan and one miniature cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 30 seconds.

Add vanilla and canola oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Batter will be very thin.

Using a quarter-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared regular-sized cupcake liners, filling half full. Use a teaspoon measuring spoon to fill miniature cupcake liners.

Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 12-13 minutes and miniature cupcakes for 7-9 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

To frost:

Prepare vanilla buttercream. Add a few drops of green liquid food coloring to the frosting with your mixer running on low to medium speed to achieve a light green color.

Remove about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the frosting and tint darker green; I used a combination of leaf green and kelly green to create my shamrock color. Fit a piping bag with a small to medium-sized plain tip (I used a Wilton #5 tip) and place dark green frosting inside; set aside.

Frost regular-sized cupcakes first; using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop light green frosting onto each cupcake and frost in a smooth layer. Pipe shamrock shapes onto each cupcake; make three heart-like shapes then add the stem.

Frost miniature cupcakes next; replace your dark green piping bag with a large plain tip (I used Wilton 12) and pipe in swirls.

Fit another piping bag with a large star tip (I used Wilton 21) and fill with light green frosting. Pipe in swirls.

Dip half of each shade of the miniature cupcakes into the green sparkling sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days (or store in the fridge to extend the life of your buttercream).

The aftermath at the Houser family St. Patrick’s Day celebration is as follows: