Cappuccino Cake

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Incredibly moist Dark Chocolate Cake iced with a Whipped Cappuccino Buttercream icing and served with chocolate ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup… 

We used to have this great restaurant in Huntsville called Darryl’s. Everyone loved that place. As a teenager, anytime homecoming, birthdays, or any other eating out occasion rolled around, we all went to Darryl’s. It got to be kind of funny because you’d show up with a date or a group of friends and it would turn out more like a class reunion with practically every other table filled with folks you know.

Unfortunately, Darryl’s closed a good while back. There is only one remaining in North Carolina, but I live in Alabama so I’ve spend over ten years pining away for my very favorite thing on their menu – Cappuccino Cake.

Cappuccino Cake was one of their signature desserts and they always brought out a huge wedge of it for birthdays and special events. My sister got her first job working there as a hostess and we’d never been more proud of her than when we’d come home on the rare occasion and find an entire cappuccino cake in our refrigerator! They served it cold (I think it is better that way) with a side of chocolate ice cream and generously drizzled chocolate syrup over the whole thing.

This is a deep dark chocolate cake iced with a whipped cappuccino buttercream icing. Does it get any better than this? Maybe, but not right now because right now, we’re focusing on this little side of heaven :).

After pining away for over a decade, I decided it couldn’t be that difficult to duplicate the recipe so I set out to do just that. You can’t find a copy anywhere on the internet so I went by memory and a basic starting point of dark chocolate cake, coffee infused buttercream – and we have a winner. We have  grand prize winner. This puppy deserves one of those 6 foot tall trophies.

If I didn’t share this recipe I could retire and just bake Cappuccino cakes the rest of my life. But it’s not nice not to share recipes and I don’t really want to wash that many dishes. 

I hope you get to make this soon. It is definitely a showstopper cake perfect for any special occasion.

Come to think of it, today seems pretty special to me, doesn’t it to you? 

For the cake part, you’ll need: 

Chocolate Cake Mix*, milk, sour cream, eggs, dutch process cocoa powder (dark cocoa powder), and oil. 

*You can use any dark chocolate cake mix such as devil’s food, dark chocolate, or even regular chocolate if you like. You can also use your favorite chocolate cake recipe if you like but I like this one because it is dense and extremely moist.

In a mixing bowl, place all of your ingredients. 

Mix that with an electric mixer until well blended and smooth, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. 

Some folks have you add gradually but unless you’re just now joining this party, you know I’m really not a gradual person. 

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While that is mixing, grease two or three 8 inch round cake pans. I’m only using two. 

To grease my pans I fold up a paper towel and dip it in vegetable shortening and then smear it around real good.

Instead of flouring our pans, since this is a chocolate cake, I like to use cocoa powder. Just put a tablespoon or so in your pan and then…

 tilt your pan all around while patting it to distribute it evenly like this. 

Dump excess out into the trash or back yard. Squirrels need chocolate too. Just kidding. It may be bad for squirrels and then I’d get all sorts of squirrel rights activists boycotting my website and such, which is utterly ridiculous considering I’m practically running a squirrel wildlife refuge here at my house considering I have two of the biggest pecan trees you’ve ever seen in my yard but have gotten a grand total of two pecans in the past three years. The squirrels sure are plump though. And happy. In fact, I don’t think they could be any happier unless I started giving them chocolate…

Then you divide the batter evenly between your two baking pans.

This batter is going to be really thick and will likely remind you of jello.

Remember, never ever eat raw cake batter. 

But I don’t count licking it off the spatula as eating it. 

So many things are all about perspective…


Bake cake layers in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Note: If you are making more than two layers, check on them after twenty minutes. Mine are thicker since I’m only doing two layers so they will need to cook longer.

Once they are finished baking, remove from oven and let sit in the cake pans for ten minutes. 

After ten minutes, turn cakes out and allow to cool completely. 

I like to let mine cool and then wrap them really well and refrigerate overnight for easier icing the next day :)

Time to make Cappuccino Buttercream Icing!

You’ll need: Butter, milk, instant coffee, vanilla, and powdered sugar. 

I only use instant coffee for recipes such as this so I got those neat little packets that have a sleeve you open for each cup. They were just $1.00 for a box of seven so that seemed like a pretty good deal to me and my instant coffee stays fresh for whenever I need it.

When it comes to my daily coffee, I need the hard stuff. The real stuff. I’m talking coffee so strong you’d have to put quarters on your eyelids if you wanted them to shut anytime in the next eight hours. 

Take the instant coffee and stir it into your milk until dissolved.

 This may take a minute. 

You don’t have to heat your milk first though.

Place your well softened butter in a mixing bowl. 

Important: Don’t be tempted to soften your butter in the microwave, on the stovetop, or any other trick we use to soften it when we’re in a hurry for this recipe. We really want to just leave our butter on the countertop for a few hours until it softens on it’s own for this recipe. Normally, I’m all about shortcuts but this one is important because we’re gonna have us a whipped icing in the end so bits of melted butter won’t help us achieve our purpose :)


Beat for a minute or two, until fluffy like this. 

Add in all other icing ingredients. 

and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed (like in this picture)

Now crank up that mixer again and beat this icing until it is fluffy, 5-7 minutes. 

If you haven’t tasted this icing by now, I’d sure like to know where you get your willpower from.

Time to ice the cake!

This cake is best if made ahead and refrigerated until good and cold. 

I know that is torture but just try it for me once, it’s totally worth the wait!

Serve with chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup (I used Hershey’s) and a strawberry.

Eat the strawberry last – your body might get confused and think you just finished a fruit plate :)

Cappuccino Cake
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons dark cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pans
  • 1 Box any flavor of chocolate cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • ½ Cup milk
  • ¼ Cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla
Cappuccino Icing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • Enough instant coffee granules to make three 6 oz cups of coffee (Read instructions on instant coffee to see how much they say to add for each cup. This will seem like a lot but it isn't)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 sticks butter, softened on the counter at room temperature (not in microwave)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease pans with shortening and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. Place all cake ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  4. Mix about two minutes with an electric mixer, or until well blended, scraping down sides as needed.
  5. Divide evenly among prepared pans and let cook until done, about 25 minutes.
  6. Let sit in pans for ten minutes before turning out to cool completely.
Cappuccino Icing Instructions
  1. Stir instant coffee granules into milk until dissolved.
  2. Place well softened butter in mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add all other ingredients and mix until smooth. Scrape down sides.
  4. Beat with mixer 5-7 minutes or until fluffy.
  5. Ice cake and refrigerate. Best if served cold with chocolate ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup (such as Hershey's).
This cake translates very well to a 9x13 if you'd like to save some time!

 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

The honeycomb is one of the strongest structures designed. Strengthen those around you with uplifting speech. Everyone needs cheerful words these days. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, Choose LIFE.

~Submitted by Marilyn Miller. Click here to submit your quote.

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  1. Carol from Ohio says

    The one thing I love about this cake recipe is the drizzling of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. That chocolate flavor combined with the vanilla frosting is so good!! I also think your comment about refrigerating the finished cake until it’s really cold is important too. Ah….yet another winner!!

  2. Debbie says

    Christy, I made this cake for our Valentine’s Day dinner. I served it exactly how you have it pictured… with the strawberry on the side. Everyone loved it! I really think this is the best cake I have even made!! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!

  3. Dottie says

    My husband and I are so excited about finding this recipe. We loved Seattle’s and often stopped by to get this cake. We even had a rehearsal dinner there. Thanks do much.

    One question though – did anyone have a problem with the coffee dissolving in the milk. That was probably my biggest aggravation, but I will makeover again.

  4. Dottie says

    My husband and I are so excited about finding this recipe. We loved Seattle’s and often stopped by to get this cake. We even had a rehearsal dinner there. Thanks do much.

    One question though – did anyone have a problem with the coffee dissolving in the milk? That was probably my biggest aggravation, but I will makeover again.



  6. PATTICAKES says

    I helped my niece make this cake for her twin girls 10th birthday sleep over (the girls didn’t sleep much). We made it an ice cream cake with coffee ice cream; it was impressive and delicious. Everyone loved it….

  7. Joe says

    I’m planning on using this cake recipe as a present for my pricing coordinator at work ( Lowes) next month, the hard part is that I’m planning on using German chocolate cake topping, you know… coconut and pecans with mini chocolate chips mixed in at the end and maybe some esspresso powder to boot !
    I really do want the cappuccino cream icing, but …Libby wanted a German chocolate cake, so I’ll use your cake and my icing !
    I’ll post the results…



  1. […] *You can use any dark chocolate cake mix such as devil’s food, dark chocolate, or even regular chocolate if you like. You can also use your favorite chocolate cake recipe if you like but I like this one because it is dense and extremely moist. Cappuccino Cake | Southern Plate […]

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