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A close up of slice of German Chocolate Cake recipe on white plate ready to eat
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4.67 from 36 votes

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Classic German Chocolate Cake Recipe is made with layers of decadent, moist chocolate cake and frosted with rich buttery coconut-pecan frosting and indulgent chocolate buttercream. This cake is sure to impress for the holidays, a birthday or any celebration!
Prep Time1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 22 servings
Calories: 700kcal


For the Cake

  • 4 oz baking chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs separated (egg yolks in one bowl and egg whites beaten until stiff peaks in another bowl)
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the Icing

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

OPTIONAL: For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter
  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk

OPTIONAL: For the Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate


For the Cake

  • Begin by heating the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch with non stick baking spray. Line with parchment paper if preferred.
  • In a bowl, add chopped chocolate to boiling water and whisk until smooth then set aside to cool.
  • To the bowl of your stand mixer, add butter and both sugars and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Next add egg yolks, one at a time, then add in cooled chocolate and mix until incorporated.
  • Slow down your mixer to low speed.  Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt then add to bowl in increments until smooth.
  • Next add buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.  Finally using a spatula, carefully fold previously separated stiff egg whites into batter. 
  • Divide batter evenly into cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool layers in pans for 10 minutes then remove and allow layers to cool to room temperature.

For the Icing

  • In a large saucepan, whisk together evaporated milk, sugar, yolks, butter, salt and vanilla until combined.  Begin cooking over medium heat for about 14-17 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly.
  • Stir in coconut and pecans then cool for about 30 minutes but continue to stir occasionally until mixture is very spreadable. 

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • Find the full instructions for the frosting HERE

For the Ganache

  • Bring the heavy cream to a boil on the stovetop then pour it over the chocolate. Mix until smooth and allow it to cool to room temperature to thicken before adding to the cake.

To Assemble

  • Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on a cake plate; using a metal spatula, spread 1/3 of the filling over the layer. Add second layer, rounded side down; spread with 1/3 of the filling. Add third layer, rounded side up; spread with remaining filling. Optional: Ice sides of cake with chocolate frosting and add drip of ganache if you desire and serve.



The chocolate frosting and ganache are totally optional.  The classic way to ice this cake is with just using the coconut nut frosting while leaving the outsides of the cake bare.


Calories: 700kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 985IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg