German Chocolate Cake

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German Chocolate Cake (2) It’s a classic for a reason….and I think it’s a pretty obvious one. It’s the best!

German Chocolate Cake (3) When I say the best I mean in general as a thing, not that my recipe is the best. Although, it’s a pretty good one. Plus, I may have been told by friends and family that this recipe really is the best, but I’ve recently come to realize how little a claim such as that means in the vast sea of available recipes on the internet.

German Chocolate Cake (4) You may find this hard to believe but, as of this moment, I don’t own a cookbook. Not even one. My mom used to have a huge collection that I never truly appreciated when I was too young to cook. Although, I did love looking at all of the yummy pictures (especially the sweet stuff) and wanting to eat them all. I could spend hours looking at that collection now, but unfortunately a few bookshelves worth of heavy paper would have been a little challenging to carry in a suitcase so they didn’t make the final cut when we moved. Alas, I will mourn them forever. Not really, I just wanted to say alas in a dramatic way, but I do sometimes miss having something tangible to hold onto.

German Chocolate Cake (5) That’s where the internet comes into play. You probably all know people who are a little slow to catch on to the internet and how much it plays a part in the lives of this generation. Maybe your parents or grandparents? Someone who doesn’t understand the possibilities available because of it or “doesn’t need all that computer stuff”. Well, I recently met someone who was unfamiliar with things like blogs and it’s the first time in a long while that I’ve been asked to show my blog and explain things.

German Chocolate Cake (6) You know, it’s harder than you’d think and it made me realize that from the perspective of a typical cook my recipes seem pretty out-there. I tried to explain the reasons why a blog about basic recipes is tough to sell these days and why a blurry snapshot of a plate of unidentified food won’t exactly bring readers in droves. I’m not sure how well I explained it all. In fact, I probably made zero sense. It did, however, make me feel like it was time to post a classic recipe, done well, and I just so happened to have this one on my list.

German Chocolate Cake (8) Remember that coconut I showed you on friday? Well, this is one of the ways I decided to use it so far. I toasted it up and used it in place of dried. The texture is different and the flavor is more mild than that of dried but I really liked how it was in this cake. Of course, I don’t expect you to feel like hacking into a coconut before making this so feel free to use dried and just know that fresh is an option.

German Chocolate Cake (9) So even if this isn’t the most amazing German chocolate cake recipe in history, I feel it’s my duty to recommend it to you guys. You know, because that’s what you do when you find a major keeper; share it with your friends.

German Chocolate Cake.

German Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 1 cake 16 - 18 servings


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 5 oz (140g) German chocolate (or any chocolate with about 46% cocoa), melted
  • Filling:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut shreds, toasted
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 150g (about 2/3 cup) more German chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease 3, 9-inch round cake pan with oil and then flour them well. Whisk together butter and sugar until creamed then beat in eggs. Add soda, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and cocoa and stir until smooth. Stir in coffee and buttermilk, followed by flour, then stir in melted chocolate until batter is smooth.
  2. Divide batter among the prepared pan and place in oven. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes then loosen edges with knife and remove cakes from the pans. Once you've taken them out of pans place them back into the pans and cover them with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture. Place the pans in the fridge until cooled, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Filling:
  4. While cakes are cooling, whisk yolks and sugar together until light in color and frothy. Add evaporated milk and pour into a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring as it starts to boil until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted and smooth. (If any bits of yolk have formed lumps at this point, pour mix through a fine mesh strainer.) Add vanilla, salt, nuts, and coconut and allow to cool for about 25 minutes before spreading inside cakes.
  5. Assemble:
  6. When cakes and filling are cooled, place one of the cakes on your desired serving tray or plate and spread a generous amount of the filling on top. Add another cake on top, followed by a second layer of the filling, then the third cake, and then scrape the remaining filling over the top of the cake and spread in a smooth layer.
  7. Melt chocolate and oil in a double-boiler and pour into a small round-tipped pastry bag or simply use a fork to drizzle over the cake as desired (I like doing a criss-cross pattern).
  8. For best results, store cake in fridge if possible and cover with either a cake dome or you can even use an very large inverted bowl. It should keep well like that that for up to 2 days.

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  1. says

    That looks pretty amazing to me! I must admit, though I do have several cookbooks, the internet is often the first place I look for recipes…ought to appreciate those poor books more haha 😛 Totally feel you in the whole “my recipe must be unique and interesting!” dilemma–my family always wants simple, simple, simple, and all I want is something more challenging and complex…ah the struggle of being a food blogger! 🙂

  2. Allyson says

    I’m kind of a newbie so I don’t know if this is a silly question or not, but does the recipe call for 1/2 cup of brewed coffee? Thanks for the recipe, looks great. Can’t wait to try it!

  3. Sarah says

    I just made this cake exactly how you said for my husband’s birthday. It was the most amazing cake WE’VE ever tasted, and I’m very picky as I grew up watching my grandmother make the most spectacular wedding cakes. Do you happen to have a similar version for yellow cake? I have to make another birthday cake in a couple of weeks and yellow was requested. Boxed yellow is so dry though. Thanks!!!!

    • Tori says

      I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that you had such great success with this cake. Thank you so mush for taking the time to mention it. As for a yellow cake, I have a few different recipes that you may like. If you’re simply wanting a vanilla cake then I have to recommend this recipe. because it’s the best vanilla cake I’ve ever had. However if you’re specifically wanting a yellow cake then you can use the cake recipe I use in my boston cream pie (so good!) and pair it with whatever frosting you’d like (just nothing to light as the cake is more of a pound cake so it’s heavy).

    • Tori says

      Hi Tasha,
      So sorry about that. There seems to have been an error with the post for a while but thanks to your comment I was able to catch it. Thank you for making me aware. I have restored the correct recipe for this cake now. I really hope you enjoy it, it really is one of my family’s favorites!


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