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German Chocolate Cake Recipe

This German chocolate cake recipe is absolutely delightful.

So what makes German chocolate cake different? The chocolate. Most baking calls for bittersweet baking chocolate, which has no sugar in it. German chocolate is sweeter. See suggestions below.

The icing also sets this cake apart from a regular chocolate cake recipe.

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

This German chocolate cake recipe is pure delight. Made with sweeter chocolate this cake comes with it's own distinctive frosting.
3 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 407 kcal


  • 4 ounces baking chocolate, sweet German
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, or 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped


  • Heat oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease the bottom and sides of 3 round pans that are either 8" or 9" round by 1 1/2" deep. Line the bottoms of the pans with waxed paper or cooking parchment paper.
  • Heat the chocolate and water in a 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Cool.
  • Beat the sugar and margarine in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla on low speed. Add the remaining ingredients. Beat on low speed just until blended.
  • Pour into the three baking pans. Bake 8 inch rounds 35-40 minutes or 9 inch rounds 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans to a wire rack. Remove the paper and cool completely.

To Make the Frosting:

  • Mix the sugar, margarine, milk, vanilla and egg yolks in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool for 30 minutes, beating occasionally, until the mixture is spreadable.
  • Fill the layers and frost the top of the cake with the frosting, leaving the sides of the cake unfrosted.


Calories: 407kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 293mgPotassium: 261mgFiber: 3gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 212IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Makes 16 servings.


  • Make sure the chocolate you are using is sweet baking chocolate, not dark. This type of chocolate cake is made with the sweeter chocolate.
  • If for some reason you find this recipe too sweet for your liking, feel free to change the recipe a bit and use 2 ounces of German chocolate and 2 ounces of regular baking chocolate. You can find both in the bakery area of your local grocery store.
  • For some reason, German chocolate cake is never frosted on the sides, just on the top and between the layers. And it is traditionally frosted with this coconut pecan frosting.
  • Always ensure that your eggs are room temperature before making your cake. It makes a lighter cake.
  • For an extra little bit of fancy, decorate the top edge of the cake with pecan halves or extra coconut and glace cherries as shown here.

If you like German chocolate cake, you may want to try this moist chocolate cake too.

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German Chocolate Cake Recipe

4 thoughts on “German Chocolate Cake Recipe”

  1. Well, 3 pans or 2 pans?? Beginning of directions state 3 pans. Then later in the recipe it states to pour batter in 2 pans. So I used 2 pans and it’s now overflowing onto the bottom of my oven and is no where near baked. Details matter!!
    It’s the night before Easter and I may have to start all over.

  2. 3 stars
    I made this for my husband’s birthday. The recipe is easy but lining the pan with wax paper was not helpful! The wax paper stuck to the bottom of the cake which had to be torn off; breaking the layers! It was a mess! You might want to double the frosting amount because I did not have enough! The picture is a three layer cake, but the recipe indicates two layers.
    We found the recipe delicious!

  3. 3 stars
    I gave this recipe a try. It was very sweet. The picture shows the cake being dark. Mine was very light. Next time I will add come cocoa powder to make it just a tad bit richer. 🙂


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