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German Chocolate Triple Layer Cake

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

Three layers of decadent chocolate cake filled with a rich coconut pecan filling and the best chocolate frosting

If you never had German Chocolate Cake you missed out! This cake is made with layers of moist chocolate cake that are filled with a mixture of caramel, toasted coconut, and pecans, which is known as the "German chocolate" filling. The cake is frosted with a rich chocolate frosting, that is made with real chocolate! The chocolate buttercream complements the sweet and nutty flavors of the filling perfectly!

Why is it called German?

First things first: No, it is not from Germany! It is actually based on a type of sweet baking chocolate that was originally used in the recipe, which was created by a man named Samuel German. This cake has chocolate in the cake batter and also in the frosting. You can use German Chocolate or like I do real German Chocolate from Germany that you can find in popular German supermarkets like LIDL or ALDI.

German Chocolate Cake is great for chocolate lovers and nut enthusiasts. It is a great alternative to a standard chocolate cake with chocolate frosting as it adds a unique and tasty flavor with its coconut pecan caramel filling!

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 frosting add a nice finish but also to an intense chocolate flavor. The chocolate buttercream I am using is made with lots of melted chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder, for a rich color and chocolate flavor.

ingredients of German Chocolate cake

German Chocolate Cake

Ingredients: for an 8 inch cake

1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar

1 cup (200 g) brown sugar

2 1/2 cups (300 g) flour

1 3/4 cups (175 g) natural cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs & 2 yolks

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole milk

1/3 cup (80 g) sour cream

3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups (360 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:

1 1/2 cups (340 g) butter

10 oz (280 g) semi sweet chocolate, melted

3/4 cup (75 g) natural cocoa powder, sifted

2 cups (260 g) powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla

Check out my full video tutorial with tons of helpful tips!


Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Prepare three 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper and grease them with butter or baking oil. Start off with a large bowl. Combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs, yolks, salt, and vanilla. Add oil, sour cream and milk. Mix it until smooth and lighter in color. Sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in melted chocolate and hot coffee; the batter will be very thin.

Step 2:

Divide the batter evenly among 3 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 3:

For the signature pecan-coconut filling combine in a medium sized pot 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 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 butter until whipped and lighter in color for about 10 minutes. This will reduce its butter flavor. Mix in powdered sugar and cocoa powder in small portions. 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. Mix everything until well incorporated then whip it on a medium high speed for about 3 minutes to make it fluffy. This will cause some air bubbles but results in a lighter and more airy buttercream. To remove most air bubbles spread the frosting against the bowl with a spatula.

Step 5:

To decorate the cake reserve about 1/2 cup of pecan filling for decoration. From the rest add half on the first cake layer and spread it out with leaving some space to the sides. 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. Warm up the rest of the filling and spread it on top of the cake. Pipe buttercream swirls around the edge and place pecan halves on each swirl.


German Chocolate Cake


  • Bloom cocoa powder in hot coffee for a more intense chocolate flavor!

  • 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 mini chocolate chips as an addition to the cake batter – triple chocolate is my favorite!


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