Coffee & Pecan Cake with Baileys Buttercream

Coffee and Pecan Cake with Baileys Buttercream

In a surprise twist, this coffee cake actually includes coffee in the ingredient list! Based on a traditional British favorite, I have substituted pecans in place of walnuts and added Bailey’s Liqueur to the buttercream frosting. This rich and moist cake is best served in small slices, with a fresh brewed cup of your favorite tea.

The Cake

3⁄4 cup pecan pieces
1 1⁄2 cups superfine sugar
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter softened
1/3 cup strong brewed espresso at room temperature 5 room temperature eggs lightly beaten
1 cup plus two tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Grease two 9-inch round baking pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Place the pe- can pieces and two tablespoons of the sugar in the food processor with the metal blade and grind together until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Place the softened butter and remaining sugar in a large bowl and, with your mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in small increments and when well blended, stir in the espresso. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and ground pecans.

Fold the dry ingredients into the batter and divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake in the middle shelf of a 350-degree pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes. When done, the cake will be springy to the touch and a deep golden brown. Due to the dense texture of the cake, the layers will not rise very much. Leave cakes in pans for 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire baking tray to cool.

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 3 1⁄4 cups powdered sugar
1⁄4 cup brewed espresso at room temperature 1/3 cup Irish Cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s
1⁄2 tsp salt
Pecan halves for decoration

Place the softened butter in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until soft and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until well blended. With the machine at high speed, beat the mixture for several minutes until light and creamy. Gradually mix in the espresso and Baileys and beat for a further minute, before adding the salt. If you are refrigerating the buttercream, you will need to bring it to room temperature for about 30 minutes before assembling the cake.


Place one of the cake layers on a large serving plate and spread with half of the butter cream. Add the top layer and cover with the remaining frosting. You will get best results if you spread the frosting with an offset spatula, but the cake should look quite rustic, so a knife will be a fine substitute. Decorate the top with the pecan halves. You can store the cake at room temperature for up to four hours and it will keep in the refrigerator for two days.

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