German Chocolate Cake Recipe

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This German chocolate cake recipe takes a lot of work but is absolutely worth it. You will end up with a fabulous, melt-in-your-mouth burst of flavor.

There are many different flavors in this German chocolate cake recipe — semisweet chocolate with gooey-chewy coconut filling and topping. All of this enveloped in a smooth and delectable chocolate ganache.

Although its name suggests it, this cake is not German at all. It was created by a Mr. German in the USA and hence the name. This is an award-winning beautiful cake.

This is what you are going to need for this glorious German chocolate cake recipe:

Start by making the filling:
1 -14 oz. can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ stick butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups shredded coconut
1 heaping cup chopped pecans

• Place the milk in a pan and add the vanilla and butter. Heat, stirring often.
• Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.
• Slowly incorporate the hot milk into the yolks, a tablespoon at a time to prevent yolks from coagulating.
• Whisk in the tempered yolks into the remaining hot milk. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
• Remove from heat and add coconut and pecans.
• Set aside.

For the cake:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
6 TBS water
4 eggs – separated
1¼ cup sugar plus ¼ cup for the egg whites
1 cup buttermilk – room temp
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Butter and line 2- 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper.
• Beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
• Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
• Melt the 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate with the 6 TBS water. You can do it either in the microwave or on a double boiler.
• Cream the butter and 1 ¼ cup sugar in a bowl. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
• Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat well. Add the vanilla and beat well.
• Alternate the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, making sure everything is incorporated. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
• Bake cake between 35 and 45 minutes.
• Remove cakes from oven and cool on a rack. Peel off the parchment paper.

Make the icing:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ TBS butter
1 cup heavy cream

• Heat cream until almost boiling.
• Place the chocolate and the butter in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow sitting for 1 minute.
• Mix chocolate well until you have smooth chocolate icing.

Assemble the cake:

  • Place one of the cakes on a plate. Add about ¾ of the filling and spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Cover it with the second cake.
  • Smear the remaining filling on the top of the cake.
  • Ice the sides of the cake with the chocolate icing.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Print the German Chocolate Cake Recipe Here

My name is Mary Ann Allen and I am here to help you get organized so you can save money on groceries and feed your family healthy, nutritious food. My multi-cultural cooking background comes from being born in the US and raised in Bolivia. I have 5 kids and own around 400 cook books. I absolutely love to cook!

19 Comments

  • January 4, 2011

    Baker

    I printed out the German Chocolate Cake recipe from the link on this site. While making the cake part I noticed one step was omitted; the folding in of the egg whites. If you print the recipe just remember to fold in the egg whites at the end of the cake making directions.

  • January 4, 2011

    theFrugalChef

    Thank you Erika! I will correct this right away! Have a great 2011!

  • March 22, 2012

    Ava

    Why do you use bittersweet chocolate instead of German chocolate chocolate?

  • March 23, 2012

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Ava!
    I always use bittersweet chocolate when I bake cakes, brownies or cookies. I just like it better. Thank you for stopping by!
    Mary Ann

  • March 27, 2012

    Ava

    Thank you for the reply! I’m going to use your recipe, and while at the store I seen bittersweet chocolate and German chocolate, so I was a bit confused on what to use.

  • October 22, 2012

    Elizabeth Ann Davis

    Dear:Mary Ann

    Could you use butterscoth chip instead of chococlate chip?

  • October 27, 2012

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Elizabeth!
    Sorry for the delay! I have never done so but that actually sounds pretty good. You are going to have to try it and let me know! Thank you for stopping by!
    Mary Ann

  • November 19, 2012

    Fred O'Neal

    Hello Mary Ann,

    I made the cake and I was certainly worth all the effort. The icing always comes out somewhat bitter or tart and the kiddies don’t really care for it. Do have any suggestions for sweetening the icing slightly? Perhaps using semi-sweet chocolate?

    I love all your recipes, your blog and your videos.

    Thanks,
    Fred

  • November 19, 2012

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Fred!
    Yay! I am so happy this worked for you! I agree with you. It is certainly worth the effort! I think using semi-sweet chocolate should definitely do the trick next time! Thank you so much for your message and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mary Ann

  • July 16, 2013

    caligirl

    Hello Mary Ann so I’ve been watching the video over & ,over to get it right. I’m planning on making this cake for my husband’s birthday this week. It looks easy & hope it works out. 🙂 But I have a question for you, he doesn’t mind dark chocolate for the frosting if you were to use chocolate butter cream frosting would that be better? Or is the dark chocolate preferred? 🙂 I would plan on using the dark chocolate (or is it regular chocolate?) either way but just wanted an input. 🙂 Thank you!
    – caligirl

    ps. awesome videos by the way! very helpful. first time making this cake so hoping it turns out good.

  • July 18, 2013

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Caligirl!
    Thank you for stopping by! The frosting on this is really a Ganache. I use bitter sweet chocolate because the coconut topping is quite sweet. I am afraid that is you use chocolate butter cream your cake will be exactly that — a very sweet cake. However, it is your husband’s cake so I guess what really matters is what he likes and prefers! Good luck with this!
    Mary Ann

  • July 18, 2013

    caligirl

    So I ended up using the chocolate ganache u made & it
    came out great 🙂 Thanks for the tip! He enjoyed it too, was
    perfect 🙂

    thanks again 🙂

  • July 21, 2013

    theFrugalChef

    Absolutely awesome! Thank you for letting me know! I am very happy! Take care!
    Mary Ann

  • October 15, 2013

    Derwin wiggins

    Hi chef…i am making your cake for my pastor anniversary..but how much of a change will it be if i made in a sheet cake form?? 10 inch bottom 8 inch top. Can i get a reply by next monday…thank you.

  • October 20, 2013

    theFrugalChef

    Hi Derwin!
    I never made this is as a sheet cake but I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I hope it comes out perfect for you. Thank you for stopping by!
    Mary Ann

  • January 16, 2014

    Nayeli

    Hi! Thank you very much for this recipe, my sister found you on YouTube and your recipe is the best!! We have tried it several times and it’s just hands down the best! Good job!

  • January 16, 2014

    theFrugalChef

    Nayeli!
    Thank you very much! I really appreciate your message and am very, very happy this cake worked for you. I love it as well! Have a great 2014!
    Mary Ann

  • February 4, 2014

    Genee' W.

    Many of your recipes use “condensed milk”. It’s not clear to me whether you are using sweetened condensed or evaporated (unsweetened condensed) milk in this cake recipe. Since there is such a big difference between the two, I want to get it right. Could you please clarify which one is meant for this cake?

  • February 4, 2014

    theFrugalChef

    Hello!
    This calls for sweetened condensed milk not evaporated milk. Thank you for asking. I hope this cake comes out wonderful for you! Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

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