Chocolate DAD Cake

filed under: Chocolate Cakes on June 7, 2017

Chocolate Dad Cake is the perfect Father’s Day gift made with chocolate cake, coffee chocolate buttercream, and colorful whipped buttercream. Check out this chocolate cake recipe for another rich and delicious chocolate cake.

Chocolate DAD Cake

I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time with gifts for Father’s Day. This cake seemed to fit our needs perfectly as it can be made by the kids (with some help from me!) and with dad’s favorite flavors! It starts with the perfect chocolate cake, and then the cake is cut to spell out ‘DAD’ and frosted with his favorite colors.

The letters D A D cut out of cake and with blue and green piped buttercream.

Chocolate DAD Cake Ingredients

There are three parts to this cake that is specifically made for Dads–the chocolate cake, coffee chocolate buttercream, and the vanilla buttercream that is colored with his favorite colors.

Chocolate Cake: I have given you the recipe for my perfect chocolate cake. However, you could also use a box mix if you prefer.

Buttercream: You will make both a coffee chocolate buttercream and a vanilla buttercream. The vanilla buttercream can be colored into Dad’s favorite colors with food coloring. I used blue, green, and black McCormick® food colors for this cake. But, you can choose the colors you want to use.

Here are a few other suggested items you may need for this recipe:

  • piping tips- 4B (darkest blue), 32 (light blue), 18 (green), 16 (white)
  • piping bags
  • serrated knife
  • small offset spatula

Side view of the DAD cake

How to Make the Perfect Chocolate Cake

The first thing you will have to in this Chocolate Dad Cake recipe is baking the cake. I used two 8-inch pans for my cake, but you can also use 9-inch pans. If using 9-inch, you will want to decrease the bake time by up to five minutes. And don’t forget to use GOOP to prepare your pans… it is the BEST!

First, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Next, in a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. If you don’t have eggs, here are some egg substitutes you could use.

Then, with the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. While the mixer is still on low, pour in the coffee and mix everything together. I highly recommend you use coffee in this cake recipe. It enhances the flavor of the chocolate, and the cake does not taste like coffee at all… it simply tastes richer. If you simply must not use coffee, you can substitute hot water.

Once the batter is ready, equally pour it into the two prepared round pans. Bake the cakes for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs but no wet batter. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about half an hour before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Cutting out the letters D A D from two 8-inch round chocolate cake layers.

Cutting the Chocolate DAD Cake

Once the cakes have had time to cool, set one cake on a cutting board. With a long serrated knife, slice the cake down the center, creating two halves. These two halves will be the ‘D’s’ in DAD.

The other cake will be the “A”. Make one cut along the right edge and one along the left edge. Then cut out the under portion of the letter “A”. (There is a video on this below.) Position the cakes to spell out the letters D A D. (Think about what you want to serve your cake on; these cakes will most likely not fit on a traditional cake stand.)

Raw cake cut into the letters D A DButtercream

When ready, prepare the coffee chocolate buttercream and whipped vanilla buttercream.

Coffee Chocolate Buttercream

To make the coffee chocolate buttercream, first, add the butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee extract to a bowl. Then, using a handheld mixer at low speed, gradually add the heavy cream.

Once the heavy cream has been added, mix on high for 1-2 minutes, or until creamy. Add up to another half cup of heavy cream to reach your desired consistency. I also have chocolate buttercream frosting if you would prefer to leave out the coffee extract.

Vanilla Buttercream

Having your butter and milk at room temperature helps greatly in this recipe. Substituting whipping cream for milk is a great idea, but not necessary if you get the butter whipped up nicely. (However, I do not recommend skim milk in this recipe.)

You can definitely leave out the almond extract if that is not your preference, but PLEASE try it once before deciding. If you have a nut allergy simply use Imitation Almond Extract. (You do not need to add more vanilla to compensate.)

And yes, yes you can decrease the sugar content if you want. I have seen it as low as 2 cups. Start with two and then taste test along the way to determine your ideal flavor and texture. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Just be sure to re-whip it when ready to frost the cake!

Dark blue, light blue, and green frosting ready to be piped on a DAD cake!

Decorating Chocolate DAD Cake

After both buttercream frostings have been made, it’s time to decorate this perfect Father’s Day Dessert! First, separate the whipped vanilla buttercream into 4 bowls. One will remain white.

The next bowl will be tinted green with McCormick®’s Green Food Color. (I used 1 ounce.) The next bowl will be tinted blue with McCormick® Blue Food Color. Again, I used about an ounce. The final bowl will be a dark blue (I used about 1 ounce). To create a dark blue, I added McCormick® black food color to the blue-just a couple of drops of black will do!

Place all frosting in pastry bags fitted with 4B, #32, #18, and #16 tips. Then, cover the cakes with chocolate buttercream using a small offset spatula.

Close up view of the letter "A" in a DAD cake! Lots of piping!

Starting with the dark blue (4B tip), pipe out dollops along the long edge of the D. Next, move to green, then light blue. Now white, then green, then white. This is the pattern that I chose, you can go in whatever order you would like! It will look wonderful no matter what! Continue on and pipe the A and the final D.

And you are done! How easy was that?!? One reason I chose to do the piping in this way is that it is easy enough for kids to do well. My kids love making Dad a special treat on Father’s Day and this is a cake that they all can help decorate!

 This slice of chocolate cake is part of the letter "D" in an Easy DAD cake! SO delicious!

Looking for More Cake Recipes?

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Cake

Mint Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ooey Gooey Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake with Buttermilk Pecan Frosting

Chocolate DAD Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

You can turn a regular 2-layer cake into something AMAZING for dad! This Chocolate DAD Cake is so easy the kids can make it!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate DAD Cake
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 1207 kcal
Author: Amanda
Chocolate Cake
  • cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (112g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (237g) freshly brewed hot coffee, I use decaf
Coffee Chocolate Buttercream
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113g) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (260g) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® coffee extract
  • ½ cup (120g) heavy whipping cream
Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 32 ounces confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, up to ½ cup for desired consistency
  • 1 pinch salt
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 2, 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.

  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

  5. Pour the batter into two 8-inch round prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean (not wet).

  6. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before cutting and adding frosting.

Coffee Chocolate Buttercream
  1. To a large bowl, add butter, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee extract.

  2. Using a hand mixer, combine on low for about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream in 2 or 3 installments, mixing well after each addition. (The recipe calls for ½ cup but you can use up to 1 cup of heavy cream depending on the consistency you prefer)

  3. Once all ingredients are incorporated, mix on high for 1-2 minutes until frosting is creamy and smooth.
Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

  2. Add vanilla and almond extract.

  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add in confectioners' sugar, milk, and salt, frequently scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  4. Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3 minutes on medium-high to high speed. (My mixer went for 7 minutes.) If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional milk.

  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Cutting the Cake
  1. Set one of the cake rounds on a cutting board. With a long serrated knife, slice the cake down the center, creating two halves. These two halves will be the 'D's' in DAD.

  2. The other cake will be the "A". Make one cut along the right edge and one along the left edge. Then cut out the under portion of the letter "A". Position the cakes to spell out the letters D A D. (Think about what you want to serve your cake on; these cakes will most likely not fit on a traditional cake stand.)

  3. Frost the cakes with the coffee chocolate buttercream, followed by the vanilla buttercream.

Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support iambaker! I love working with McCormick and love using their amazing products. They help me to be a better baker! <3

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  • Melissa Novotny says:

    This is just so sweet. I’m sure your dad would be so proud of this. What a delicious looking cake!

  • Mary says:

    What tip do you use for the base frosting? I’ve been to a number of cake decorating classes and have never seen this technique used. It’s genius!

  • Nancy. Craig says:

    How do I make a S from a 8 in round cake I’m trying to do USA