German Chocolate Cake

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This German Chocolate Cake recipe is a classic! Tender, moist layers of chocolate cake are filled with an out-of-this-world coconut pecan filling that’s gooey and full of flavor and texture! It’s all frosted with the perfect chocolate buttercream!

Why You’ll Love This German Chocolate Cake Recipe

The moment you sink your teeth into your first bite of this German chocolate cake, you’ll know you chose the right recipe. Here’s what makes it so special.

  • Moist and tender. The cake layers themselves are so tender, moist and light, but not so light that the filling and frosting overwhelm them. Plus, I love the way the slight crunch from the pecans and the gooeyness of the filling interrupts (in the best way) the soft, fluffy cake.
  • The best flavor combo. The subtle flavor of sweet German chocolate paired with the rich, almost caramel-y coconut pecan filling is a match made in heaven. Sweet but not too sweet and rich but not overpowering.
  • Uses real German chocolate. Not all German cake recipes use the traditional German chocolate, but this cake does. It’s in both the cake layers and the frosting, so it’s well deserving of the name.
  • Presentation. We eat with our eyes first and this cake, wrapped in a luscious chocolate frosting and topped with an enticing coconut-pecan filling, leaves no doubt in the viewer’s mind that they are about to experience some seriously tasty cake.
Overhead image of German chocolate cake on a cake stand.

What Is German Chocolate Cake?

German chocolate cake was, contrary to what you might think, not invented in Germany. It derives its name from the kind of chocolate that is traditionally used in the cake layers, German chocolate. The melted German chocolate is sweeter and less intense than the unsweetened cocoa powder used in standard chocolate cakes.

Other signature elements of a typical German chocolate cake are the buttermilk (which makes the cake nice and tender) and whipped egg whites (which make it gloriously fluffy) incorporated into the batter. German chocolate cake is often (but not always) filled with a sticky, gooey coconut-pecan filling and frosted with either that same filling or a chocolate frosting.

If you’re looking to use a regular chocolate cake that doesn’t use German chocolate and has a simpler method, feel free to use my best chocolate cake to layer with the coconut-pecan filling.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to pull off this excellent German chocolate cake recipe. Make sure to scroll to the recipe card below for exact measurements.

Coconut Pecan Filling

  • Egg yolks – These give richness to the filling and help to thicken it.
  • Evaporated milk – Do not use sweetened condensed milk. It’s not the same thing. This helps form the base of the filling
  • Vanilla extract – For a touch of flavor.
  • Sugar – For sweetness and moisture.
  • Unsalted butter – Another part of the base of the filling. It adds great flavor.
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Chopped pecans – I like buying toasted pecans or toasting my own. The flavor is richer and more buttery that way.
  • Salt – For flavor.

Chocolate Cake

  • Water – The hot water helps melt the chocolate and makes it easier to incorporate into the cake batter.
  • German chocolate – A must for German chocolate cake. I use Baker’s brand chocolate bars.
  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure this accurately or you will end up with a dry cake. I recommend a food scale, but the spoon and level method works as well.
  • Baking soda – For the best rise and tender texture.
  • Salt – For flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – The butter should be at room-temperature. Otherwise, it won’t cream properly with the sugar.
  • Sugar – For sweetness, but also for moisture and a tender texture.
  • Eggs – Be sure to use large eggs, not medium or extra large.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sour cream – Start with room-temperature sour cream. Cold sour cream won’t mix as easily into the batter. This adds extra moisture to the cake.
  • Buttermilk – The buttermilk should be at room temperature otherwise it won’t incorporate easily into the batter. This also adds additional moisture and a fluffy texture.

German Chocolate Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – Use room-temperature butter. Cold butter will give you a lumpy frosting.
  • Natural unsweetened cocoa powder – I used regular unsweetened, but you could use a dark cocoa, if you’d like.
  • Powdered sugar – To add volume to your frosting and get it a good consistency for decorating. Feel free to reduce it, if desired. Just keep in mind that adjustments change the consistency of the frosting.
  • German chocolate – I used the same baking bars I linked to above. Chop it up and melt it in 15-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each.
  • Salt – For a little extra flavor.
  • Heavy whipping cream – You can use more or less cream to get the right consistency for your buttercream.

How to Make German Chocolate Cake

Layer cakes can seem intimidating but I assure you that you can do it. Just take it one step at a time with each of the 3 parts. Here’s a quick look at how to make them. For more detailed instructions and a video, scroll to the recipe card below.

To make the filling

  • Whisk. In a saucepan, whisk together the evaporated milk and vanilla extract.
  • Cook. Add the sugar and butter and cook on medium heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  • Finish. Remove from heat and stir in shredded coconut, pecans, and salt.
  • Chill. Chill in a bowl in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until fully thickened.

To make the cake layers

  • Prep. Line the bottoms of 3 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt. Bring the water to a light boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Cream. Cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining wet ingredients. Into the butter mixture, stir the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and sour cream. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture.
  • Put it all together. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the batter, followed by the buttermilk and then the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Whip. Whip the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold. Fold the egg whites into the batter in two parts.
  • Bake. Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Cool. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 2-3 minutes before turning them out onto cooling racks.

To finish the cake

  • Make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth and then mix in the cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar. Mix in the melted chocolate in 2-3 batches and then, finally, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Adjust consistency. Add the remaining heavy cream, as needed, to get the right consistency of frosting.
  • Flatten. Cut the domes from the tops of the cakes so they are flat.
  • Assemble. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate and pipe a dam of frosting around the top edge. Fill the dam with 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling. Repeat, stacking the second cake layer on top of the first. Top with the third cake layer.
  • Frost. Frost the outside of the cake and pipe a border of frosting shells around the top edge of the cake. Fill the border with the remaining coconut pecan filling.
  • Chill. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake is best enjoyed cool, but not too cold.
German chocolate cake on a cake stand.

Tips for Success

These simple tips and tricks will help guide you through the process of making this German chocolate cake. Keep them in mind as you go through the process.

  • Careful with heat. Keep the heat at medium when cooking the coconut pecan filling. Anything lower and the filling won’t thicken properly. Anything higher and you risk burning it or having it not thicken properly.
  • Keep it moving. When cooking the filling, it is important to stir it constantly. This will help it thicken evenly and will also help prevent burning.
  • Don’t skimp on creaming time. When creaming together the butter and sugar for the cake layers, do so until it has become quite fluffy and significantly lighter in color.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl. When making the cake batter and the frosting, be sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently. This will help ensure that all of the ingredients make it into the mixture.
  • Don’t over-mix. When adding the dry ingredients to the cake batter, mix just until everything is incorporated. Over-mixing can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop, which can give you a tough, overly dense cake.
  • Consistency matters. You want to make sure that the frosting isn’t too stiff or too runny. Stiff frosting won’t spread properly and frosting that is too soft won’t hold things in place. 
  • Study up. Hungry for more tips and tricks? Check out my post on How to Fill and Stack a Layer Cake, How to Get the Right Frosting Consistency, and How to Frost a Cake with Buttercream.
A slice of German chocolate cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

Proper Storage

  • Refrigerator. Seal the cake in an airtight cake carrier or wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap. I suggest using toothpicks to prop the plastic away from the cake. Alternatively, slice the cake and store the slices in a single layer in an airtight container. You can keep the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer. Pop the cake in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up before wrapping it in a double layer of plastic wrap. You can also arrange slices in a single layer in a freezer-safe airtight container. Store the cake in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge before serving.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

If chocolate cake is your thing, you came to the right place. Once you get this German chocolate cake down, have a look at these other equally delicious recipes.

Watch How to Make German Chocolate Cake

Read Transcript

Recipe updated 1/2/24 to be even more moist and tender and use a different buttercream. The method is also slightly different. For the original recipe, download the PDF here.

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A slice of german chocolate cake on a plate with a fork.
Recipe

German Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This German Chocolate Cake recipe is a classic! Tender, moist layers of chocolate cake are filled with an out-of-this-world coconut pecan filling that’s gooey and full of flavor and texture! It’s all frosted with the perfect chocolate buttercream!


Ingredients

Coconut Pecan Filling

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 cups (255g) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups (133g) chopped pecans, toasted
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Cake

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 8 oz (226g) German chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups (293g) all-purpose flour (measured accurately)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (58g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature

German Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 tbsp (35g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • 12 oz German chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 68 tbsp (90-120ml) heavy whipping cream

Instructions

To make the filling:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the egg yolks, evaporated milk and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
  2. Add the sugar and butter and cook on medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until thickened and slightly pudding-like, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded coconut, pecans and salt.
  4. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and set in the fridge to cool completely.

To make the cake layers:

  1. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Heat the water in the microwave just until it begins to boil. Pour the hot water over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir until melted and smooth. If it doesn’t melt completely, heat in the microwave for another 10-15 seconds, then stir until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the amount of creaming time.
  5. Add the egg yolks one a time, mixing until well combined after each. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until well combined.
  6. Add the melted chocolate mixture from above and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl a time or two to make sure things are well incorporated.
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until well combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
  8. Add the egg whites to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently fold about half of the whipped egg whites into the rest of the cake batter until mostly combined, then add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until well combined.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

To finish the cake:

  1. When the cake and filling have cooled completely, make the frosting and finish the cake. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add the melted chocolate in 2-3 batches and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add the salt and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until well combined and smooth.
  5. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the remaining heavy cream, as needed, to get the right consistency of frosting.
  7. To build the cake, first use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the tops of the cakes so they are flat. See my tips on how to level a cake and how to stack a cake.
  8. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or on a cardboard cake circle.
  9. Pipe a dam of chocolate frosting around the outside of the cake layer. Spread about 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling evenly on top of the cake, in the center of the dam.
  10. Add the second layer of cake, another dam of frosting and add another 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling.
  11. Add the third layer of cake on top, then frost the outside of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting.
  12. Pipe a shell border around the top outer edge of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847. Fill in the border with the remaining 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling. Decorate the bottom of the cake with pecans, if desired.
  13. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This cake is best served cool, but not super cold. Store in an air-tight container or well covered. Best if eaten within 4-5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 988
  • Sugar: 93 g
  • Sodium: 487.5 mg
  • Fat: 58.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 114.7 g
  • Protein: 9.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 213.3 mg

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169 Comments
  1. Michelle

    I made this recipe for a friends birthday and it was an absolute banger. The cake turned out beautifully! The most important 2 steps are creaming the butters and sugar long enough and folding in the egg whites. Brilliant recipe.






  2. Brandi

    Do I need to change anything in this recipe to make German Chocolate cupcakes? I’m going to be making 24. Also The cake has been requested but free. Dose skipping the nuts make a major difference in taste?

    1. Lindsay

      This should work fine as cupcakes. You’d just need to adjust baking time (likely 15-18 minutes) and you may not need all of the buttercream and/or filling. Leaving out the nuts is fine. You could replace them with a touch more coconut, just to be sure the filling doesn’t end up a tad thin.

      1. Brandi

        Thank you for your reply, if you have time would you have any idea how many standard size cupcakes the cake recipe will yield? I’m baking them either tonight or tomorrow.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, the water is in addition to whatever buttermilk you use. So, if using powdered buttermilk and using water for that, it would be in addition.

  3. Jules

    I didn’t realize the buttermilk was the buttermilk powder mixed with 1/4 c water. I bought buttermilk. Do I just add 3/4c of buttermilk and leave out the water?

    1. Lindsay

      You don’t have to use buttermilk powder. You can use regular buttermilk. I mention that I use the powder so that people know it’s available. Some people don’t want to buy a whole container of buttermilk when the leftover is just gonna go bad and buttermilk powder will last longer.

  4. Dianne

    This is the most delicious German Chocolate Cake. Have made it 3 times for birthdays with rave reviews. The filling and frosting is amazing. A must have for German Chocolate. I am making the frosting for a graduation cake. Thanks so much!!






  5. paula

    i made this recipe. i selected it because it sounded like it would be super moist … the filling was divine. but the cake was really really dry. i am a baker. as we bakers know – only deserts should be dry. not desserts. do you have any suggestion as to what might have gone wrong for me with this cake? the recipe certainly looked like one that would be moist.

    1. Lindsay

      It can be hard to say from a distance. It could’ve been over baked. It could also be that the ingredients weren’t measured quite exact. Do you use a food scale for your dry ingredients?

  6. Stefanie

    I have a little bakery side business that I do, and your German Chocolate Cake recipe has gotten RAVE reviews from anyone that has ordered it from me! I wanted to thank you for sharing it with the world!






  7. Carrie Morrison

    I’m looking forward to making this cake over the weekend. If I want to use all butter instead of shortening in the frosting, will the additional butter measurements be the same as the shortening amount?

  8. Adrienne Sherrill

    The recipe for the coconut filling might say “stir constantly and watch carefully” for those of us not used to making custard. I just ruined it by letting it cook per the recipe. After less than 8 minutes it split.






    1. Lindsay

      The directions clearly state “stirring constantly”. If you were standing there and stirring it constantly, naturally you should be paying attention to it. And especially if you’re not familiar with making it, I would think you would do that without me even having to say so. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out well but I do not believe it was because of the instructions.

  9. Lindsey

    This recipe made me a convert! Made it for a friends bday and WOW ! It was SO flavorful ! Def worth all the work and time put into it ! Thank you !!!






  10. Katey

    Thank you for all of your amazing recipes and tips! It is birthday season in my house and I love to learn tips and tricks. This year you have elevated my baking game! Thank you for all of the great recipes! Tomorrow I am making this German Chocolate Cake recipe for my father in law’s 75th birthday. I have Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cocao powder in the pantry already – should I specifically buy “natural unsweetened cocoa powder” for this recipe or will the ingredient I have already work just as well? Thank you for all of your photos, videos and knowledge!

  11. Mary

    Hello Lindsay! When you indicate toasted pecans on your recipe. Do we have to toast them in the oven before adding them to the mixture?

  12. Lisa Coppersmith

    This is one of the best German chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. Everyone loves it. I made no changes to this recipe and I even made cupcakes with it. Thanks for all of your amazing recipes😊






    1. Lindsay

      The layers can be wrapped and frozen prior to frosting. I don’t typically freeze whole cakes though. You could slice the final cake and freeze individual slices though.

    2. Dominique Coleman

      My mom loves German chocolate cake but we recently found out she was diabetic, is there a way this could be sugar free? If so please send me the recipe

  13. Madeline

    Good evening! I have made this cake before and it was WONDERFUL! I am making it again soon and I was wondering how far ahead I can make the filling? I usually try to make everything the day before or the day of, but sometimes life happens! Would it be okay in the fridge for a week?

    1. Lindsay

      Because of the eggs, I’m not sure that it’d last for a full week. 3-4 days might be the most ahead I’d make it.

  14. Mary

    The recipe made too much frosting. The filling is amazing. Cake itself was good, but for the work and time it took I was expecting better. Frosting was a challenge to spread on the sides.






  15. Angie

    Was reading some of the comments…on how good the Chocolate Whip Cream was so good in between the layers…but I didn’t see it in your recipe….Your cake is beautiful by the way !!!!!

  16. Sonia Patel

    Hello!!

    I love your website and baked a few of your cakes. They all turn out great. I am making the German Chocolate Cake this weekend. I read in the comments that the coconut pecan filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Can it be made on Friday and then be assembled on Sunday and does the filling need to come to room temperature? Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it should be fine to make it a couple days ahead and you shouldn’t need to bring it to room temperature.

  17. Helen Cooper

    Hi. I’m looking forward to making this cake but I am confused by your conversions from cups to grams:

    1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
    3 cups (255g) sweetened shredded coconut

    How many grams is a cup for you? I am used to the metric conversion 1 cup = 225g

    Many thanks

  18. Hosanna

    Hi there, I really appreciate the understandability in this recipe! I’m going to make this Cake soon, but I have a problem. For the coconut-pecan filling, I want to omit the pecans. Do you have any advice, like should I add more coconut to make up for the lack of pecans? Your reply is eagerly anticipated, and greatly appreciated, thanks!!

    1. Lindsay

      You could definitely add a little more coconut. The main thing is getting the filling thicken enough, so if you add a little more and it still seems too thin, you could add a little more. Also keep in mind that it thickens as it cools.

      1. Hosanna

        Hello again! I tried the recipe except I omitted the pecans, and added about 1/4 cup more coconut. Everything was perfect! Though it did find I had to add more milk into the chocolate frosting than the recipe said to get it to spread and pipe properly. Other than that, everything went according to plan, and it turned out beautiful!

        Love this recipe! I’m sure I will do it again!






  19. Steph

    I made this cake for my grandfathers 88th birthday. He absolutely loved it and it was delicious! I skipped the pecans because of his dysphagia but it was still amazing. I would definitely make again!






  20. Linda

    HI Lindsay
    I made the recipe using 3 round 6″ pans and 2 square 6″ pans, the cakes were awesome.  Only a little dry, and I noticed that the cake especially the square cake tended to fall apart as I cut it.  Do you know any reason a cake would crumble as it is cut, never had this happen before.  I also used a little espresso in the frosting, awesome!  I totally iced the round cake as it was a gift, and the top and in between layer of the square cake.   So any comment on the dryness?
    Loving your recipes

    1. Lindsay

      I’m really not sure why it’d be crumbly. If it had to do with the dryness, I might try baking the cakes for a little less time next time and making sure that you aren’t adding too much flour.

  21. Sirisha Kolli

    Hi. I only have one 9in pan so I am planning to do the cake layers one by one. How will I have to adjust the bake time and will I have to adjust the temperature ??

    1. Lindsay

      If you’re just baking one layer at a time, it shouldn’t change the baking temperature. You might need to bake the layers a few minutes less, but it won’t be much.

  22. Suzann

    I have never made a German Chocolate cake before and looked at my options and went with this one. It was a great choice! The cake was super moist and the icing complimented it so well. Everyone loved it!






  23. debbie

    Hi Lindsay!
    I made a vegan version of this cake for my grandson’s birthday (valentine’s day) and everybody loved it! My grandson is a big fan of my pecan pie so I thought he would enjoy a German Chocolate cake. BOY, did he!
    PS, I have a vegan recipe blog and plan on posting my vegan version of the cake on it. I would love to give your recipe and site credit as the basis for my recipe if that’s cool with you.?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Great to hear that a vegan version worked well for you. And yes, I would prefer that you do give me credit for the recipe inspiration or as modified from. Thanks!

  24. Rhonda

    Hi Lindsay,

    my mom used to bake this one all the time. I have only made this a couple of times, but wanted try yours. One question, have you ever used vegetable oil instead of butter in the cake batter?

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried using oil in this cake recipe. Because the butter and sugar are creamed together, I wouldn’t suggest replacing the butter with oil.

  25. Lakia Steele

    Okay, I have a question. Why do you add egg yolks, or is there a way to NOT have to add egg yolks. I’m trying to understand the purpose of adding these egg yolks. I’ve looked up several recipes and majority of them have egg yolks as one of the ingredients???????????

  26. Ellia

    I’m going to make this GCC for desert for Christmas dinner. Has anyone tried making it with the addition of espresso powder and substitute coffee for the water?

    1. Madison

      The frosting does go on the inside because it has to keep in the filling. It does go on the outside and the top too.
      When I first started making cakes I underestimated how much frosting I needed and I had to keep making more to cover and fill the cakes.

  27. Rosy Stphen

    Hi i am New into this Site as said i am big fan of German Chocolate cake hmmm so yummy the chocolate frosting and the coconut spread feels like heaven some time and your recipe is like try at home. But i have a question is if i make it for my own shop how long will it stay.Any Advice….

  28. Carol Vilevac

    Fabulous version of an old classic. Came out perfect. Only change I made to cake re ipe was to use cold coffee instead of water. And, since this was for my husband’s birthday, I made a double batch of custard frosting. This will be my new go to recipe for thy his cake.






  29. Smitha Lakshman

    Hii Lindsay here from India a huge fan of you .. I tried your most of cakes and each time they came out 👌👌👌..I am planning to do German chocolate cake for my hubby 40 th birthday but can you clear me this can we use any dark chocolate instead of German chocolate, as it’s not available here..  please do help me with this 

    1. Lindsay

      I do believe a different kind of chocolate might affect the results. I would try to find a more chocolate similar. You might have more success with a milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate.

  30. Sarah

    I baked this for my dad for Father’s Day last year and when I asked him what kind of cake he would like this year, guess what he picked? This recipe is excellent! It was the first of Lindsay’s recipes I tried and it was enough to get me to come back for many more. Thank you for sharing your talent with us, Lindsay!






  31. David Gibbs

    This cake looks simply amazing. I’m making it later today. On the frosting, it says 9 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Should that be 1 3/4 cups? Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      Nope, it’s correct. The powdered sugar adds volume to the frosting and stabilizes it. You could reduce it a bit, but 1 3/4 cups would be far too little.

  32. Mandy

    This is my husbands favorite cake. I’m going to make it Monday for his bday but it’s awfully big for just the 2 of us. If I cut the recipe in half would that be ok?  If so what size pans should I use I’d like to still make 2 layers

    1. Lindsay

      Cutting it in half should be fine. I haven’t tried it, so I’m not entirely sure of the pan size. You could try 6 or 7 inch.

  33. Erin

    Excited to try this! Only one of the butters listed says unsalted. Is it salted for any of it’s other uses in the recipe? 

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, but you could always use salted in the cake and just leave out the salt – or use unsalted in the others and just add salt to taste.

      1. Erin

        Thank you for getting back to me about the butter! Made the cake today and it was delicious!!  I will definitely be making this one again!






  34. Shawnna

    Hi, I am wondering if all the cold items need to be at room temp or just the items stated? 
    I’ve heard for frosting to be at room temp with butter, also do the eggs need to be at room temp?
    Thanks! 

    1. Lindsay

      The butter for the frosting should be room temperature (I updated that). For everything else, I’ve marked what I recommend, but it certainly won’t hurt anything if cold stuff is room temperature. It can help things incorporate a little easier, but isn’t really required.

  35. Taylor

    This is by far the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. I’ve made it a couple times now too and it’s been spot on every time. Today I am trying to make it for a large party tomorrow and the recipe is gone!   SOS SOS SOS I  need it it’s just so good 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so sorry for the trouble! There was an issue today that affected thousands of sites – mine included. It looks like it’s been resolved, so you should be able to access it here now. Sorry about that!

  36. Bronwyn

    Hello from Western Australia! I really wanted to make this cake and decided to for family dinner tonight. Have had a little hiccup due to the fact that you cannot buy German Chocolate or Sweetened Shredded Chocolate over here ????
    I have done a lot of googling and made / found substitutes (sort of) and the filling and cake are at putting together stage. I am really, really nervous about how the cake is going to taste in case I messes up with the substitute to German Chocolate….
    It looks ok. I am just hoping that it tastes as good as yours looks!

  37. katie

    Am i reading this right? 9 and 3/4 cups of powdered sugar, i know there is a lot of powdered sugar in frosting but is this right?

  38. Becky

    Hi Lindsay – this cake looks amazing- just the special party cake I was looking for- quick question how well does the cake hold up – for the sake of time I need to make it a day ahead of time and am planning to refrigerate it for a day before serving.  Thanks!

      1. Dorothy Terrill

        Angie if you google Two sisters crafting and look for their whipped cream frosting recipe. It easy to make. Used mainly with heavy whipping cream, instant pudding.

  39. Karen

    I am going to make a simple one layer cake with your recipe in a 9 x 9 square pan. With your coconut pecan topping. Any idea how much less batter I should make? Probably more than half?

    Hey – maybe I’ll make a full batch and then make cupcakes with the rest.

    Any thoughts though?

    1. Lindsay

      I actually think cutting it in half would probably be about right. You’d just need to adjust the baking time (increase it a bit).

  40. Evelyn

    This cake was amazing!! Huge hit! My only thing was my layers came out really thin and I used and 8” pan instead of a 9”. I was wondering if you knew maybe what the problem was?

    1. Lindsay

      It’s really hard to know from a distance what might have gone wrong. Some common places where people have trouble are not fully creaming the butter and sugar and over-mixing the batter. I hope that helps!

  41. Sarah

    I made this cake for a coworker who was leaving. His favorite cake is german chocolate. This cake was a BIG hit and everyone loved it!! Love your classic version as well. Great recipe! Thank you!

  42. Amelia

    The cake is the best looking german chocolate cake I’ve seen. You have beautiful decorating skills. How did you create the border at the bottom of the cake? I have a 2D tip and didn’t want to buy anymore tips. Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      It might bake ok in 8 inch pans, but they’d definitely be thicker layers. If you have 8×3 inch pans, that’d probably be best.

  43. Yyacheeko Veal

    I made the cake and followed the recipe exactly. It looks beautiful but the cake is a bit dry. What did I do wrong?

  44. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay,
    I really appreciate you getting back to me regarding the German Chocolate cake recipe. That totally makes sense to me now I guess we have the same taste; I love lots and lots of chocolate flavor and tons of icing myself so we’re good to go!! I am new to baking so I just wanted to make sure I was following your awesome-looking recipe properly. Thank you and God bless

  45. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay,
    Why do you use 6 eggs yolks and not 4 in the filling? Also, why use 8 0zs of chocolate, and not 4 oz like I see in other recipes? And finally, why so much icing sugar, butter and shortening for the icing? Again, I see other recipes using almost have the amount. Please help!! Am going to be making this cake for my mother’s 79th birthday next week because it looks so awesome. But just needing some clarification on the measurements.

    Thank you Lindsay

    1. Lindsay

      I can’t speak for other people’s recipes, but this is how mine is made. Do others use fewer yolks with the same amount of the other ingredients? More yolks will help to thicken and make thing rich. For the chocolate, more will give a stronger flavor, which I personally prefer. And for the frosting, again that’s simply my recipe. Perhaps I like more frosting than some people? Feel free to reduce it. I hope you enjoy it and that your mother has a wonderful birthday!

      1. Kristine Bernadette McCauley

        Hi! Just wanna ask if I can subs German chocolate to a cocoa powder? If so, how much cocoa powder do you think I should need? Thank you 🙂

      2. Lindsay

        I don’t know how much it’d be without trying it and I’m not sure how well it’d work. If you’d like to use a cocoa powder based chocolate cake, you could try the cake layers in this chocolate cake.

  46. Sharon

    Hello, can’t find German Chocolate in my area, what can I use instead? Would a regular milk chocolate would do the job?
    Thank you 

  47. Christina Kahn

    This recipe is spot on! Made it exactly as written and it turned out beautifully! Wish I could post a picture of my finished product! Way to go on a great cake!






  48. Mary N.

    I am making this tonight for a retirement party at work. The guest of honor loves German chocolate. This will be my first time making one. This recipe looks fabulous!

  49. Marwa Moubadder

    This looks amazing! I want to make a multilayer 9×13 cake. How many 9×13 cakes would this recipe make? And what would be the bake time?

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t made it as a 9×13 but it would likely make one full sized 9×13 cake, maybe a little more. Not sure of the bake time.

  50. Crystal

    Hi! I made this beautiful cake today (haven’t sliced into it yet). Could you tell me what tip you used for that small border around the bottom of the cake? It’s perfect! Thanks!

  51. Lori

    Loved this cake. Will definitely make it again. I had way too much frosting though. I may cut the recipe on half next time.

  52. Wenonah Denbigh

    I made this cake for a retirement party. It was his favorite kind of cake. It was a hit. It was so heavy that my arms ached from carrying it in! 

  53. Erica

    I made this today and followed the instructions.  I went to assemble the cake and the filling had gone hard to a solid form.  I tried warming it gently in the microwave and the only thing that happened was it got softer, but deff not spreadable and the butter was separating out of it.  Please help I have to remake this filing in the the next day or so and I really would like to know what I did wrong.

    1. Lindsay

      Hmmm, hard to know for sure but possibly it was overcooked. I’d try reducing the cooking time a bit on it. Keep in mind while it’s cooking that even though it may look a little thin, it thickens as it cools. You don’t want to cook it until it looks thick enough to add to the cake or it’ll be too thick when cool.

  54. Spring

    Hi Lindsay! Every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been delicious and this one didn’t disappoint! I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect Italian Cream Cake, which is my mother’s favorite. Do you have one in your repertoire? 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m to hear you’ve enjoyed everything! I don’t currently have an Italian Cream Cake, but I’ve written it down for the future. Thanks! 🙂

  55. Emanul Johnson

    Do this recipe make 2 inch thick Cake using three 9” cake pan or do I need to double the recipe to get 2 inch cake 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure that’d you’d need to quite double it, but you’ll probably need extra batter to get three full cakes at 2 inches thick.

  56. Ericka

    Hi! I was wondering, what alterations could I make to make this cake non-dairy? It’s my boyfriend’s birthday this weekend and he’s allergic to dairy but I really want to make him an epic cake. Thanks!

  57. Lauren Rae Thomas

    Hello Again!

    I wanted to follow up now that I’ve actually made this delightful cake! Because of a very demanding toddler I made this cake over the course of two days. The first day I made the cake layers and the coconut filling. The second day I made the frosting and iced the cake using your smooth icing tutorial instructions. The only modification I made was to use the dark rum simple syrup recipe from David Lebowitz’s german chocolate cake recipe because my mother loves dark rum and this was for her. I want to thank you for a delicious recipe and a great icing tutorial. Using both I was able to create an absolutely beautiful and tasty cake that made my mother super happy. I will say that I am going to continue to use both the icing and the crumb recipe as my standard chocolate cake go-to. I was reticent to use half shortening, but I am glad I did as the icing was beyond delicious. I wish I could post a picture.

    Thank you again for this lovely recipe and I look forward to making many more of your cakes in the future.

  58. Lauren Thomas

    I have two questions. Would it be possible to make the coconut filling a day before and refrigerate? And what is the benefit of using some shortening/some butter in the icing? Would the flavor and consistent suffer greatly by just using butter?

    Thank you in advance! Looking forward to making this for my amazing mother’s birthday. 🙂

  59. Amy

    I made this cake yesterday for some family friends who adore German chocolate cake. It was incredible! Everyone loved it. The instructions were very easy to follow as well. Thanks for the delicious recipe.

    1. Marsha Pettis

      Hi
      I just bake this German Chocolates cake. It was fantastic, everyone loved it.
      But the Chocolate Frosting was enough for 2 full cakes. Saved half to do another cake. Need to cake recipe in half.

      1. Lindsay

        I can definitely be more heavy-handed with my frosting than some. Certainly feel free to reduce it. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake otherwise!

  60. Julie | The Old School Cook

    Looking forward to making this later this month for my own birthday!  German Chocolate is my favorite. 

  61. Stefania

    Hi Lindsay, I really really love this recipe but I have a problem with evaporated milk, supermarkets don’t sell it in my country. Is it the same if I use regular milk instead of evaporated milk? I would appreciate any kind of advice thank you very much for your recipies and toy page!!

    1. Lindsay

      You can certainly try it. Evaporated milk has less water in it than regular milk, so you might need to cook the filling longer to reduce the liquid content and have it thicken up nicely.

  62. Abby

    I can’t find the video anywhere, and have tried opening this in two different browsers. Did it get deleted? Dying to make this!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure what happened, but you’re right that the video had disappeared. I’ve added back in. Thanks Abby!

  63. Susanna

    This looks good but I’m not sure if it’s too complicated for my for time to try but I gonna try and make it for my son’s birthday but I’m gonna make it two layers instead any advice would be appreciated

    1. Lindsay

      You’ll need to increase the baking time a bit for two layers. As far as advice, check out the video above the recipe for some help and let me know if you have any specific questions. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

    1. Dorothy Terrill

      German chocolate cake is my aunt’s favorite cake. I made a 2 tier cake for her 80th birthday party. She loved it and so did everyone else. I torted each layer in half and rotated chocolate whipped cream frosting in between the normal German chocolate filling.






      1. Dorothy Terrill

        My husband loved your filling with the chocolate whipped cream filling. He asked me to make your cake with the two fillings mixed together for his birthday. He loved his cake, I guess I made a new type of cake flavor filling.






      2. Angie

        Hi Dorothy I was at interested in how you did the Chocolate Whip Cream in between your layers of the German chocolate cake ??? Sounds so good !!!

  64. Ivory

    German chocolate cakes are my favorite cake out of many.  Your cakes always looks so scrumptious .  Thanks fr sharing.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29