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German Chocolate Cake

close up shot of a slice of German Chocolate Cake with coconut pecan frosting on a plate
The german chocolate cake layers are moist, sweet and the pecan-coconut frosting is to die for.
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Table of Contents
  1. GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

German chocolate cake features rich chocolate cake layers with a signature coconut pecan filling. Deliciously sweet and decadent, this authentic German chocolate cake recipe is oh-so-easy to make and incredibly moist.

Can’t get enough of rich chocolate cakes? We recommend that you also try our decadent chocolate mayonnaise cake and this flavorsome red wine chocolate cake

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 2 (4-ounce) packages sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

For the Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 1 can evaporated milk (1½ cups)
  • 1½ cups Sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup of butter
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconuts
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

BUTTERMILK: This is an essential ingredient for a creamy-tasting cake. But, if you don’t have any to hand, you could use whole or 2% milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar added. You’ll need to set it aside for ten minutes until it curdles. 

PECANS: Whilst pecans are traditionally used in German cake, you can use walnuts, almonds or macadamia nuts if you prefer in the gooey coconut frosting. 

MARASCHINO CHERRIES: Also known as cocktail cherries, these can be added as a garnish on top of your layer cake if you wish. 

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HOW TO MAKE THIS GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

PRO TIP:

Try to use ingredients that are at room temperature instead of cold. It will make a difference in the final product.

For the Chocolate Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the inside of the pans with cooking spray.

STEP TWO: Break the chocolate into pieces and place it in a small bowl. Melt using the ½ cups of boiling hot water. Allow to cool.  

STEP THREE: In a large bowl, use a whisk to cream the butter and sugar.

STEP FOUR: Separate the eggs and set the whites aside for later. One at a time, add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well. 

STEP FIVE: Blend in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.

STEP SIX: Sift flour with salt and baking soda.

STEP SEVEN: Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the chocolate mixture. Beat after each addition, until smooth.

STEP EIGHT: Beat the egg whites. Fold in beaten egg whites to the cake batter.

STEP NINE: Divide batter among the prepared pans.

STEP TEN: Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s done.

PRO TIP:

Make sure to bake cakes on the center rack of your oven. If all three pans don’t fit, save one and bake once the other two come out.

STEP ELEVEN: Let the cake cool for 30 minutes and then take it out of the cake pans. Set aside on wire racks until completely cooled. 

For the German Chocolate Cake Frosting

STEP ONE: Separate three eggs. Slightly beat the yolks.

STEP TWO: Add beaten eggs to a medium saucepan along with the evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 12 minutes or until thickened.

STEP THREE: Add the coconut and pecans and stir again. 

STEP FOUR: Remove from the heat and allow to cool until spreadable. 

STEP FIVE: Place one cake on the serving plate and cover the top with a quarter of the frosting.

STEP SIX: Place the next cake on top and cover the top of the cake with another quarter of the frosting.

STEP SEVEN: Finally, add the remaining cake and top with the remaining frosting, leaving the sides of the cake exposed.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this moist chocolate cake the next time you are craving a deep delicious chocolate flavor. A cup of coffee or a homemade pumpkin spice latte on the side to wash this delectable cake down is the ideal pairing.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: This easy German chocolate cake recipe can be left at room temperature for up to 24 hours. To keep it for up to five days, you’ll need to refrigerate it in an airtight container. 

IN THE FREEZER: This sweet chocolate cake can be stored in the freezer for up to three months in an airtight container. Slice it before you freeze it to defrost individual pieces as desired. 

We’re sure this is the best homemade German chocolate cake you’ll taste. The chocolate layers are moist and any chocolate lover will adore it, making it the perfect cake for any special occasion. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will the sides dry out if they are not frosted?

Over time the cake will dry out but since it is so moist to begin with, it will probably be gone before that is a concern!

Could I turn this cake into a sheet cake?

This delicious cake would be just as amazing baked in a 9×13 cake pan instead of a layer cake.

What type of chocolate should I use?

Any type of sweet baking chocolate will work for this recipe.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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close up shot of a slice of German Chocolate Cake with coconut pecan frosting on a plate

German Chocolate Cake

5 from 1 vote
The german chocolate cake layers are moist, sweet and the pecan-coconut frosting is to die for.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 47 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Cake

  • 8 ounces sweet baking chocolate
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 egg whites stiffly beaten

Coconut-Pecan Frosting

  • 1 can evaportated milk 1½ cups
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup butter
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened coconuts shredded
  • cups pecans chopped

Instructions
 

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Line the bases of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment. Spray the inside of the pans with cooking oil. 
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and melt using the ½ cup of boiling hot water. Allow to cool. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to cream the butter and sugar. 
  • Separate the eggs and set the whites aside for later. One at a time, add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well. 
  • Blend in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
  • Sift flour with salt and baking soda. 
  • Add alternately flour mixture and buttermilk to chocolate mix. Beat after each addition until smooth. 
  • Beat the eggs whites. Fold them in to the mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s done.
  • Let the cake cool for 30 minutes and then take it out of the pans. Set aside until completely cooled.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • Separate four eggs. Slightly beat the yolks. 
  • Add beaten eggs to a medium-sized saucepan along with the evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.
  •  Cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 12 minutes or until thickened. Add the coconut and pecans and stir again. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool until spreadable.
  • Place one cake on the serving plate and cover the top with a quarter of the frosting.
  • Place the next cake on top and cover the top with another quarter of the frosting. 
  • Finally, add the remaining cake and top with the remaining frosting, leaving the sides exposed. 

Notes

TIP: Try to use ingredients that are at room temperature instead of cold. It will make a difference in the final product.
TIP: Make sure to bake cakes on the center rack of your oven. If all three pans don’t fit, save one and bake once the other two come out.

Nutrition

Calories: 955kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 244mg | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 1249IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg
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  1. Julia says

    The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of boiling water, but I can’t find it anywhere in the instructions that it says to use it.

  2. Erin says

    Hello! The ingredients list for the coconut pecan frosting says 4 egg yolks, but the directions say 3. Which is correct?

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