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German Chocolate Cake

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Chocolate, pecans and coconut - almost too good to be true!

This German chocolate cake recipe takes it to another level! It is made with soft chocolate cake layers, filled with a cream of toasted pecans and coconut flakes and decorated with the most delicious brown sugar chocolate buttercream! If you want to surprise your loved ones with a simple but genius dessert, make this recipe!!!


When I first heard about the name German Chocolate cake I was wondering why it was called like that since in Germany we do not have a cake like that. A traditional chocolate cake in Germany would be a bundt cake with a chocolate glaze without coconut or pecans.

However, this genius cake was not invented by Germans, but all thanks goes to Samuel German and his German Chocolate blend, which is originally used in the German Chocolate cake. Additionally, the signature coconut pecan filling makes this cake so unique. It consists of a cream made of eggs, evaporated milk, sugar and butter topped with toasted coconut and pecans. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds!

These are the cake pans and my KitchenAid hand mixer that I always use in my recipe videos

A 8 inch cake pan is the traditional choice to make most cake recipes. It creates tall cake layers without making a huge cake! This 6 speed KitchenAid hand mixer is the only one with flex edge beaters for a 2 times faster mixing and to protect your mixing bowl from scratches!

Frosted or naked?

Traditional German Chocolate cake is not decorated with buttercream, but it not only does it add a nice appearance but also an intense chocolate flavor. The chocolate buttercream I am using is made with brown sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder for a rich color and chocolate taste.

German Chocolate Cake


1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar

2 cups (240 g) flour

3/4 cup (75 g) dark cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup (250 ml) butter milk

1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup (250 ml) coffee, hot

For the Pecan-Coconut Filling:

1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar

1/2 cup (113 g) butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup (125 g) chopped pecans, toasted

3/4 cup (54 g) coconut flakes, toasted

3/4 cup (54 g) coconut stripes, toasted (or flakes)

For the chocolate buttercream:

2 cups (454 g) butter

5 egg whites

1 1/2 cups (300 g) brown sugar

8 oz (226 g) dark chocolate, melted

1/4 cup (25 g) dark cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla


Step 1:

To make the cake prepare two 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper and grease them with butter or baking oil. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Start off with a large bowl. Combine the sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Add oil and butter milk. Mix it until fluffy. Sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the hot coffee; the batter will be very thin.

Step 2:

Divide the batter evenly among 2 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut each layer one time horizontally.

Step 3:

For the signature pecan-coconut filling combine in a medium sized pan egg yolks, evaporated milk and both sugars. Mix it until smooth and let it cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes. The mixture should have thickened. Remove the pan from the stove top and add the butter, vanilla, toasted pecans, and toasted coconut. Mix it until combined and place it in the fridge until needed.

Step 4:

For the buttercream whisk egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl and place it on a pot with simmering water (bain-marie). Whisk it continually until it forms soft peaks for 8 minutes. Take out the water bath and keep whisking the meringue until stiff peaks form. Mix in the butter in small pieces. Keep mixing it until it comes together in a smooth buttercream. Add the slightly cooled melted chocolate and mix it in quickly. Make sure to clean the bowl with a silicone spatula to fully incorporate the chocolate. As a last step add vanilla and dark cocoa. Mix everything until well incorporated, but do not over mix it to avoid too many air bubbles.

Step 5:

To decorate the cake, place the bottom layer on a plate and spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on top add 3/4 cup pecan-coconut filling. Top it with the second layer and repeat the step. Then apply the last layer and cover the cake with chocolate buttercream on the top and its sides. Refrigerate the cake for about 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of buttercream, as well as any decoration.



  • To toast the pecans simply heat up a pan without oil and add the pecans. Let them toast for about 4 minutes at medium heat. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

  • I like to change the bowl after the meringue was cooking on the water bath to a cold bowl. That makes mixing the meringue easier as it reaches room temperature faster.

  • The buttercream can stay at room temperature for about 2 days. Then it should be moved to the fridge.

  • Chocaholic? Try chocolate chips as an addition to the cake batter – double chocolate sound double the fun!


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