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a mocha cupcake with a bite taken out of it

Small Batch Mocha Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream

  • Author: Heidi Clark~ Yums & Kisses
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Small Batch Mocha Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream! Rich chocolate and espresso cupcakes dipped in decadent ganache and topped with a generous frosting of homemade Baileys Irish Cream infused buttercream! Perfect for a small gathering on St. Patrick’s Day or any day!



For the Mocha Cupcakes:

6 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg~ at room temperature

1 large egg yolk~ at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup cake flour

1/4 cup natural cocoa powder {such as Hershey’s}

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup whole milk

For the Ganache Topping:

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Tablespoon butter, at room temperature

For the Baileys Buttercream:

3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening {such as Crisco}

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

tiny pinch of fine sea salt

56 Tablespoons of Baileys Irish Cream 


To Make the Mocha Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the inner 6 wells of a muffin pan with liners. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking soda, sea salt, and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Set aside. 
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium/high speed until pale yellow and thick. It takes about two minutes.
  • With the mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle in the vegetable oil in a thin stream. Add in the vanilla extract.
  • Add a third of the flour mixture to the bowl while mixing at low speed. Slowly add half of the milk. Continue adding the flour and milk, and then the last bit of the flour mixture.
  • Continue mixing at low speed until the cake batter is mostly smooth. A few tiny lumps are okay.
  • Fill the lined muffin wells 3/4 full with the batter.
  • Just before placing the cupcakes into the oven, gently tap the bottom of the pan onto a counter to pop any bubbles that may be popping up on the surface.
  • Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. {Mine baked for 19 1/2 minutes}.
  • Check the cupcakes to see if they are done baking by inserting a toothpick into the center. If you remove it and it has a few moist crumbs clinging to it, they are done.
  • Place the pan on a cooling rack for a few minutes when the cupcakes are cool enough to handle remove from the pan.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before dipping them in the ganache and piping the frosting on them.

To Make the Baileys Buttercream:

  • Sift the powdered sugar and then measure the three cups.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and vegetable shortening until combined and smooth. 
  • Add the tiny pinch of sea salt and sifted powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Slowly drizzle in 5-6 Tablespoons of Baileys Irish Cream until the buttercream is the desired consistency. I use 5 Tablespoons of Baileys if I am piping the frosting onto the cupcakes. If slathering the frosting with an offset spatula onto the cupcakes, you may prefer to use the extra tablespoon of Baileys.
  • Cover the bowl and set aside until ready to frost the cupcakes.

To make the Ganache:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. The cream will be very steamy, and tiny bubbles will form around the edge of the pan. Remove the cream from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk until smooth. Add the tablespoon of room temperature butter and whisk until fully incorporated.

To Assemble the Cupcakes:

  • Hold each cupcake by the base and dip the top into the warm ganache; continue holding upside-down to allow the excess ganache to drip off the cupcake. Turn the cupcakes upright and set them aside to allow the ganache to become firm before piping/slathering with Baileys Buttercream.
  • Once the ganache is firm, pipe/slather the buttercream onto each cupcake.
  • If you like, sprinkle a bit of grated chocolate onto each cupcake.
  • Cupcakes remain fresh in a sealed container on the counter for up to three days.


  • Add the flour to the cupcake batter in three additions: flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.
  • Always sift the powdered sugar for the buttercream to create a lump-free frosting.
  • You can skip dipping the cupcakes in ganache if you like.
  • You will have frosting left- it will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Bring back to room temperature and beat again before using.
  • Bring the eggs to room temperature quickly, place them in a medium bowl and pour hot {not boiling!} tap water over them. Let sit while you measure the remaining ingredients.
  • You can make this recipe using a hand-held mixer; you may need an extra set of hands to slowly drizzle the oil into the cake batter.
  • You can make the frosting while the cupcakes bake and set aside. When the cupcakes are completely cool, make the ganache, dip them, set them aside to firm up. Then continue with frosting them.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: baileys irish cream, cupcakes, mocha cupcakes, small batch, cupcakes for two, st. patrick's day dessert