Irish Cream Chocolate Cupcakes
Perfect for any St. Patrick’s Day celebration, homemade Irish cream cupcakes feature fluffy chocolate cupcakes spiked with Irish cream and smooth buttercream frosting. They’re easy to make, quick to prepare, and rich in flavor.
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: Blending Method for Cakes
- Component Used: Chocolate Cake, Easy Buttercream Frosting
These cupcakes are adapted from my classic chocolate cake recipe and easy buttercream recipe. They feature Irish cream and strong coffee – an intense flavor duo that yields rich, perfectly moist cupcakes topped with the silkiest smooth frosting.
What makes these cupcakes perfect for St. Patrick’s Day
- This recipe for chocolate cupcakes is not only spiked with Irish cream in the frosting but also in the cake! It’s a moist, intensely chocolate cupcake with a hint of Irish cream topped with a boozy, silky smooth buttercream.
- Made with Irish whiskey, cream, and strong coffee for the ultimate trio of St. Patrick’s Day flavors.
- Simple and quick to make. Whip these chocolate cupcakes up in less than an hour (including cooling time!).
Irish Cream Cupcake Variation Ideas
Chocolate Irish Cream Buttercream: Make the cupcakes as instructed. To the buttercream, add 80 grams (1 cup) cocoa powder to the bowl with the powdered sugar. Add the salt and vanilla extract. Add 112 grams (½ cup) Irish cream liqueur and beat until smooth. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder. If it’s too thick, add more Irish cream.
Flavored Irish Cream: For this recipe, I used Baileys Original Irish Cream but any brand of Irish cream liqueur will do. Baileys makes other flavors like Salted Caramel and Espresso Crème. I haven’t tested it yet, but they would be delicious incorporated into these cupcakes.
Chocolate Ganache Topped Cupcakes: Make the cupcakes and buttercream as instructed. After frosting the cupcakes, make a small batch of chocolate ganache (1 part chocolate to 2 parts cream) and drizzle on top of the buttercream.
How to make Irish Cream Chocolate Cupcakes
There are two main components to cupcake recipes: the cake and the topping.
Cake: For these cupcakes, the cake is a variation of my classic chocolate cake recipe. I adapted the cake recipe into cupcakes and swapped out the milk for Irish cream liqueur.
Topping: The topping for these spiked chocolate cupcakes uses my easy vanilla buttercream recipe as the base, with a splash of Irish cream for creaminess and flavor.
This combination of chocolate cake and buttercream (both spiked with Irish cream) makes a rich, very moist, and slightly boozy cupcake that’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
Step 1: Make the Chocolate Cupcakes
To make this chocolate cupcake batter, use the one-bowl blending method. This is the easiest mixing method for cakes and only requires a few steps.
In a large bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the oil and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium-low speed for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and combine.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly stream in the Irish cream liqueur followed by the very hot coffee or water.
The batter will be very thin. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined. Divide the cupcake batter between the muffin cups lined with paper liners, filling each about ⅔ full (leave a ½-inch (1.25 cm) space at the top). Bake at 350°F/175°C for about 18-22 minutes. Let cool completely either in the muffin tin or on a wire rack.
Step 2: Make the Irish cream frosting
This simple homemade buttercream (known as American-style buttercream) is easy to make and results in a silky smooth frosting that is easy to pipe.
Beat room temperature butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until it starts to combine. Once it’s mixed into the butter, increase the speed to medium-high and mix for at least 3 more minutes. This ensures that the sugar melts into the butter, which creates a silky smooth texture.
Add the salt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the smaller amount of Irish cream liqueur. At this point, taste the buttercream and see if the flavor is to your liking. I like a fairly strong Irish cream flavor, so I use the entire amount of liqueur listed in the recipe card.
PRO TIP: If the buttercream seems too loose or thin, place the entire bowl into the refrigerator for 3-5 minutes to chill. It’s possible that while creaming the butter, the mixer became too hot and overheated the butter.
After chilling, re-whip the buttercream. If it’s still too loose, add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
Step 3: FROST THE IRISH CREAM CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
After the chocolate cupcakes have completely cooled, frost the cupcakes. I used a piping bag fitted with a star tip. You can use a pastry bag with a piping tip, zipper bag with the corner cut off, or simply use a butter knife to spread the buttercream on top.
Do Irish Cream Cupcakes contain alcohol?
Both the cake and frosting are infused with Irish cream, so this is a boozy dessert. While some (but not all) of the alcohol is baked off when the cupcakes bake, the frosting is not baked, therefore these cupcakes do contain a small amount of alcohol.
CAN I MAKE THESE CUPCAKES WITHOUT ALCOHOL?
For a non-alcoholic version of these cupcakes, replace the Irish cream liqueur with an Irish coffee creamer like this one from International Delight.
DO I HAVE TO USE COFFEE?
The coffee in the recipe is optional but highly recommended! It isn’t overpowering and actually enhances the chocolate flavor.
PREP & STORAGE
Make Ahead Cupcakes: Bake cupcakes up to 2 days in advance. Store the cupcakes at room temperature or in the refrigerator on a sheet pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Frost before serving.
Make Ahead Buttercream: Make this buttercream frosting up to 1 week in advance. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When ready to frost and serve, remove the frosting from the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature, re-whip it using a hand or stand mixer, and frost the cupcakes.
How to Store Frosted Cupcakes: Cupcakes are best served and stored at room temperature. Place the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Try to avoid storing them in the refrigerator as frosted cupcakes tend to dry out if stored there.
MORE RECIPES FROM BAKER BETTIE!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like to try these other cupcake recipes.
- Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
- Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (1 ¼ cups) natural cocoa powder *see note below
- 450 grams (2 ¼ cups) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 170 grams (¾ cup, 180 milliliters) neutral oil (canola, vegetable, safflower, or grapeseed)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 240 grams (1 cup, 240 milliliters) Irish cream liqueur
- 240 grams (1 cup, 240 milliliters) very hot coffee or water
For the buttercream
- 454 grams (2 cups, 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 600 grams (5 cups) powdered, icing, or confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 56-84 grams (4-6 tablespoons) Irish cream liqueur
- Measure out ingredients for the cupcakes: At least 30 minutes before mixing, take the eggs (3 large) out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. The coffee or water should be very hot when you mix the batter.
- Measure out ingredients for the buttercream: Take the butter (454 grams/ 2 cups) out of the refrigerator to soften at room temperature. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Place paper liners into 2- 12 cup muffin tins. Set aside.
To Make the Cupcakes:
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour (240 grams/ 2 cups), cocoa powder (100 grams/ 1 ¼ cups), granulated sugar (450 grams/ 2 ¼ cups), baking powder (2 teaspoons), and baking soda (1 teaspoon). Add the salt (¾ teaspoon) and whisk to evenly distribute.
- Add the oil (170 grams/ ¾ cup) into the mixing bowl and mix on medium/low speed with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 1 minute, until well combined.
- Add the eggs (3 large) and vanilla extract (1 tablespoon) to the bowl and mix on medium/low speed until incorporated.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the Irish cream liqueur (240 grams/ 1 cup) and then the hot coffee or water (240 grams/ 1 cup).
- Continue mixing until everything is evenly incorporated- about 1 minute. This is a very thin batter. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake liners leaving about ½-inch (1.25 cm) space at the tops.
- Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Pull out of the oven when the cake is firm but springs back when gently pressed in the center, or when a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in their pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter (454 grams/ 2 cups) on medium speed for about 1 minute until fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar (600 grams/ 5 cups) into the mixing bowl and start mixing on low until the sugar starts to combine with the butter. Turn the mixing speed up to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract (2 teaspoons) and salt (½ teaspoon). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Starting with the smaller amount, add the Irish cream liqueur (56 grams/ 4 tablespoons) into the mixing bowl and combine. Continue to add the rest of the Irish cream, one tablespoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency and flavor. If the texture becomes too thin, you can add a bit more powdered sugar until you get a spreadable consistency.
- Place a towel or plastic wrap over the bowl of buttercream until the cupcakes are completely cooled.
- Frost the cupcakes as desired.
To make a smaller batch of cupcakes, make only 1/3 of the recipe to get 8-9 cupcakes.
*Cocoa Powder: Natural cocoa powder is the acidic ingredient needed to activate the baking soda. If you do not have natural cocoa powder, use dutch processed cocoa powder but omit the baking soda and increase the baking powder to 1 tablespoon. For this recipe, I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder which gives the baked cupcakes a very dark (almost black) color.