Cappuccino Cake With Cappuccino Buttercream Frosting

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I don’t know if y’all are ready for this decadent and flavorful cappuccino cake recipe. It features two layers of incredibly moist dark chocolate cake with whipped cappuccino buttercream frosting that’s served with chocolate ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Fork with a piece of cappuccino cake.

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. 

But my favorite thing on the menu at Darryl’s is their signature dessert: cappuccino cake. 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.

So obviously, I had to recreate the recipe and make my own version of homemade cappuccino cake. This recipe includes two layers of a deep dark chocolate cake iced with 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.

Fortunately, we don’t need lots of ingredients to make my cappuccino cake recipe. We love to keep things simple around there, right? So we’re forgoing a cake from scratch (no need for flour and all that) and using dark chocolate cake mix, which is extra moist and has extra chocolate flavor thanks to the addition of sour cream and cocoa powder. Once those cakes are mixed and baked, we prepare the decadent whipped cappuccino buttercream frosting, which is made with instant coffee, butter, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

I hope you get to make this soon. It’s so moist, so rich, and oh so good! 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? 

Ingredients for cappuccino cake.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chocolate cake mix
  • Milk
  • Sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Dutch process cocoa powder (dark cocoa powder)
  • Oil
  • Butter (I prefer unsalted butter bit if you want that touch of salt go salted).
  • Milk
  • Instant coffee
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar 

How to Make Cappuccino Cake

Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

In a mixing bowl, place all of your ingredients. 

Mix that with an electric mixer until well blended and smooth (about 2 to 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. 

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.

Add cocoa to "flour" greased cake pans.

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

Tilt cocoa around pan to coat and then remove excess.

 Tilt your pan all around while patting it to distribute it evenly like this. Dump out excess.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans.

Then you divide the batter evenly between your two cake 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. 

Baked cakes.

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 20 minutes. Mine are thicker since I’m only doing two layers so they will need to cook longer.

Once they are finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them sit in the cake pans for 10 minutes. 

Turn cakes out onto wire rack to cool completely.

After 10 minutes, turn the cakes out and allow them to cool completely. 

Wrap cakes and chill to ice in morning.

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

Mix together instant coffee and milk.

Time to Make the Cappuccino Buttercream Frosting!

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

 This may take a minute, but you don’t have to heat your milk first though.

Place softened butter in mixing bowl.

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl. 

Beat until fluffy then add the remaining ingredients.

Beat for a minute or two, until fluffy, and then add the remaining icing ingredients.

Beat icing until smooth.

Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Now crank up that mixer again and beat this icing until it is fluffy (5 to 7 minutes). 

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

Add icing to the first cappuccino cake layer.

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!

All we’re gonna do is add the icing to one cake layer…

Add other cake layer on top.

Add the other cake layer on top…

Iced cappuccino cake.

And then cover the entire cake in the frosting.

Removing a slice of cappuccino cake.

Why, hello there! How good does this cappuccino cake look?

Slice of cappuccino cake.

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!


Store the covered cake at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

  • 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.
  • 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 its own for this recipe. Normally, I’m all about shortcuts but this one is important because we’re gonna have whipped icing in the end so bits of melted butter won’t help us achieve our purpose.
  • This cake translates very well to a 9×13 baking dish and sheet cake recipe if you’d like to save some time!
  • If you want to enhance the cake’s coffee flavor, you can add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the cake batter as well.

You may also enjoy these other scrumptious cake recipes:

Cherry Crumb Cake With Cake Mix

Italian Cream Cake with Pecan Cream Cheese Icing

Pineapple Poke Cake

Yellow Cake with Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Icing

Chocolate Sundae Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

Slice of cappuccino cake.

Cappuccino Cake

My cappuccino cake recipe features two layers of dark chocolate cake with cappuccino buttercream frosting, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate syrup.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, icing



  • 2 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder plus more for dusting pans
  • 1 box any flavor of chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cappuccino Icing

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • Enough instant coffee granules to make three 6-oz cups of coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 sticks softened butter


  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Grease two cake pans with shortening and dust with cocoa powder.
    2 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • Place all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.
    2 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder, 1 box any flavor of chocolate cake mix, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mix for about two minutes with an electric mixer (or until well blended), scraping down sides as needed.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared pans and let them cook until done (about 25 minutes).
  • Let them sit in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Cappuccino Icing

  • Stir instant coffee granules into the milk until dissolved.
    Enough instant coffee granules to make three 6-oz cups of coffee, 1/2 cup milk
  • Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy.
    2 sticks softened butter
  • Add all remaining ingredients and mix until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
    5 cups confectioner's sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Beat with a mixer for 5 to 7 minutes or until fluffy.
  • Ice between cake layers and then cover the entire cake before refrigerating. It tastes best if served cold with chocolate ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup (such as Hershey's).
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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  1. This sounds sooo good! I can’t wait to try it. My daughter will love this when I make it for her. I will just go ahead and thank you in advance for her.

  2. I am from NC and went to Darryl’s on my first “date” with my middle school boyfriend and his dad, lol! My family also went there all the time, but I never tasted this cake! We always got the turtle sundae. This cake looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! PS, I asked for (and received) your cookbook for Christmas and I love it. 🙂

  3. Christy girl, it is easy to see and feel the heart you put into everything here ! I look forward to your posts first thing every morning. You always bring an extra smile to my face ! and sometimes I just laugh right out loud ! This cake looks divine, there’s only one problem. I do not like coffee, you heard me. So would I still like this cake ?

  4. I have very fond memories of Darryl’s in Lexington, KY and Nashville, TN. We planned our trip to the UGA vs KY or UGA vs Vandy football games so that we could eat at Daryl’s two times during that football weekend. We loved their crackers, their BBQ ribs, and the ice cream sunday dessert that was big enough for two ( or more). We never tried the cake. I still get excited just hearing the name: Daryl’s. Nothing is quite like Daryl’s.

    Look forward to trying this cake. Thanks for the memories.

  5. I’m pretty sure that I had dinner at the original Darryl’s in Raleigh back in the late 70’s early 80’s. Another trip I had dinner at the Angus Barn which belonged to Thad Eure, Jr, one of the Darryl’s partners. My hubby worked with the mother of the guy that procured the cool antiques and decorations for all the Darryl’s. I’ll love trying the cake.

      1. Christy…Just say when and I will be there. How large is your yard? We could have an old timey social like dinner on the church grounds.
        Bet we could make a week end of it, like a family reunion and eat and enjoy the fellowship and fun.

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