German Chocolate Cake

This post may contain affiliate links, please visit our privacy policy for details.

Our take on the classic dessert… German Chocolate Cake! Thee layers of light and fluffy chocolate chiffon cake, sandwiched between decadent layers of coconut pecan frosting and whipped milk chocolate ganache. Every bite of this cake is reminiscent of the cake we all know and love, but made even more delicious. It just melts in your mouth. Sweet, chocolate-y, coconut-y, and just SO DELICIOUS! The perfect dessert to make any time of year, but especially on special occasions and holiday’s.

front shot of german chocolate cake with bowl of chopped pecans, flowers, cake knife, and stack of plates behind

About The Recipe

It’s finally Friday which means there’s no better time to share this oh so very delicious and indulgent cake! If you’ll remember from our last post, it was my mom’s birthday earlier this week. To celebrate, we’ve made two desserts. The first was the Tiramisu from Wednesday and the second was… this German Chocolate Cake!

It’s been a favorite in our home for as long as I can remember, but it’s always been one of my mom’s absolute favorite things to eat. Though, it’s not something we’ve made for a REALLY long time.

Now that I think about it, the two desserts my mom picked to make for birthday are recipes we always made when I was little, but haven’t made since. It truly has been so much fun developing, testing, and enjoying these recipes this week! Honestly, it’s been kind of a nostalgic week and we have loved every minute of it.

Especially testing the chocolate cake for this cake!

We knew we wanted a chocolate cake that was light, while still carrying a strong chocolate flavor. Testing lead us to a chocolate chiffon! It’s fluffy, chocolate-y, and SO worth the effort. Then, it’s sandwiched between the classic coconut and pecan frosting.

Though, we knew that we didn’t want TOO much of that frosting. It tends to be very sweet and we wanted to cut that a little bit. So, we used a whipped ganache as the frosting for the exterior of the cake. It not only allows this cake to be simply STUNNING, but it also helps tone down the sweetness by just a tad.

close up of german chocolate cake on upside down pie plate with cake knife beside

In the end, this cake is a little bit different than the traditional German Chocolate Cake, but it’s equally as or even more delicious! Every bite is the perfect balance between chocolate, coconut, pecan, and sweetness. The best part? This cake is a wonderful recipe to serve to celebrate any and EVERY occasion, while being a crowd pleaser.

What is a German Chocolate Cake and Where Did It Come From?

If you’ve never had a bite of German Chocolate Cake, your life is about to CHANGE! This cake is traditionally layers of chocolate cake with a frosting made from egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, pecans, and coconut flakes. Sometimes it’s frosted with the coconut pecan frosting, other times it’s frosted with chocolate frosting. We opted for whipped ganache!

Now…where did this recipe come from exactly? Well, believe it or not,Dallas, Texas in the late 1950’s! Though, the history started much before then. About 105 years earlier, a man named Sam German invented a type of sweet baking chocolate. Which, is how this cake got its name! A Dallas resident sent a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake” to the newspaper and, from that moment on, the recipe SKYROCKETED to fame and solidified itself in history. Kind of cool, right?

Reasons You Will Love This German Chocolate Cake

  • The cake is three layers of light, fluffy, and delicious chiffon.
  • Still has the traditional coconut pecan frosting, but instead of coating the cake, it’s used more as a filling.
  • Has a whipped ganache as the main exterior frosting.
  • The perfect cake to celebrate ANY and every occasion.
  • A true crowd pleaser.
slice of german chocolate cake standing up-right on white plate with cake behind

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

For The Cake:

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • Boiling Water
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Egg Yolks
  • Buttermilk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Egg Whites
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Cream of Tartar
flour, sugar, chocolate discs, vanilla, vegetable oil, egg yolks, water, milk, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt on marble surface

For The Coconut Pecan Frosting:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • Salted Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut
shredded coconut, chopped pecans, vanilla, butter, egg yolks, and condensed milk on marble surface

For The Ganache:

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • Heavy Cream
chocolate discs and heavy cream on marble surface

How To Make German Chocolate Cake

Step 1: Make the whipped ganache

Combine chocolate and cream in a large, microwave-proof bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to touch surface of chocolate. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 6-8 hours, until completely set.

When ready to use, remove from refrigerator. Beat ganache with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Step 2: Make the cake batter

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, 1 ⅛ cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.

Whisk in chocolate mixture.

Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, whip eggs and cream of tartar until foamy.

With mixer running, add sugar in small amounts. Beat to medium-stiff peaks.

Fold into batter.

Step 3: Bake

Portion batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until done. Allow to cool completely in pans before removing.

Step 4: Make the coconut pecan frosting

In a medium saucepan, whisk together condensed milk and egg yolks.

Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and custard is thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

Step 5: Build the cake

Level cake layers, if needed. Place one layer of cake on a revolving cake plate. Pipe a ring of ganache around the edge of the cake and spread with ⅓ of coconut pecan frosting.

Repeat the layers and top with last cake layer.

Frost cake with ganache and top with remaining coconut frosting. Decorate as you wish!

Decorating Ideas

There are so many things you can do with this cake, but here are a few of our favorites!

  • Pipe decorative elements on top and/or the bottom of the cake.
  • Use chopped chocolate or chopped pecans to press against the bottom of the cake.
  • Use chocolate drips around the top of the cake.

How To Store

One of the best things about this cake is that it freezes beautifully. You can freeze this cake as a whole or just freeze slices. I recommend freezing individual slices of cake as it’s already portioned out and ready to eat whenever you want a slice of delicious chocolate cake!

You can also keep this cake in a cake plate on the counter for about 3-5 days, but we recommend placing it in the refrigerator as it is a very moist cake! It should keep in the fridge for about 7-9 days.

angled shot of german chocolate cake with slice behind on white plate, glass of utensils, empty glass bottle stack of white plates, metal cup measure of shredded coconut behind

Expert Tips

  • You can boil the water in a microwave, on the stove top, or in a kettle!
  • Be careful when mixing the boiling water and chocolate. You don’t want to slosh the boiling water onto yourself!
  • When whipping the meringue, do NOT over whip it. It should be about medium-stiff peaks.
  • Be careful to not deflate the meringue when folding it into the cake batter!
  • Use a cake tester or a toothpick to test when this cake is done.
  • Do NOT over-whip the ganache! Keep an eye on it while it’s beating.
  • You may need to level the cake layers before assembling. The best way to do this is with a cake leveler or a serrated knife.
  • Pipe a ring of whipped ganache between each layer of cake! This ensures more even layers and that the coconut pecan frosting won’t spill out when you’re trying to frost the cake.
  • When assembling the cake, it’s best to keep your offset spatula clean.
  • You can decorate this cake however you wish!
  • Remember that this is a very tender cake and it can tear easily when assembling.
  • If coconut pecan frosting is too thick to spread easily, microwave it briefly to loosen it.

When you make this German Chocolate Cake recipe, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

angled shot of german chocolate cake on upside down pie plate with cake knife, flowers, cup measure of coconut flakes, stack of plates, and glass full of silver utensils behind

German Chocolate Cake

Traci
The best ever German Chocolate Cake! Three layers of fluffy, sweet chocolate chiffon, sandwiched between a coconut pecan frosting, and frosted with a luscious whipped ganache. Every bite is truly melt in your mouth delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Refrigeration Time 8 hrs
Total Time 9 hrs 50 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 1033 kcal

Ingredients
 

Cake

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ⅛ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 9 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

Ganache

  • Combine chocolate and cream in a large, microwave-proof bowl.
  • Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to touch surface of chocolate.
  • Refrigerate overnight, or at least 6-8 hours, until completely set.
  • When ready to use, remove from refrigerator.
  • Beat ganache with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Cake

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Spray 3 8-inch round pans with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, pour boiling water over chocolate.
  • Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, 1 ⅛ cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  • Whisk in chocolate mixture.
  • Pour over dry ingredients.
  • Mix well. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, whip eggs and cream of tartar until foamy.
  • With mixer running, add sugar in small amounts.
  • Beat to medium-stiff peaks.
  • Fold into batter.
  • Portion batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until done.
  • Allow to cool completely in pans before removing.

Frosting

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together condensed milk and egg yolks.
  • Add butter.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and custard is thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

Putting It Together

  • Level cake layers.
  • Place one layer on cake circle or cake plate.
  • Pipe a ring of whipped ganache around the edge.
  • Spread ⅓ of coconut pecan frosting in the middle.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Top with last cake layer.
  • Frost cake with ganache.
  • Top with remaining coconut pecan frosting.

Notes

  • You can boil the water in a microwave, on the stove top, or in a kettle!
  • Be careful when mixing the boiling water and chocolate. You don’t want to slosh the boiling water onto yourself!
  • When whipping the meringue, do NOT over whip it. It should be about medium-stiff peaks.
  • Be careful to not deflate the meringue when folding it into the cake batter!
  • Use a cake tester or a toothpick to test when this cake is done.
  • Do NOT over-whip the ganache! Keep an eye on it while it’s beating.
  • You may need to level the cake layers before assembling. The best way to do this is with a cake leveler or a serrated knife.
  • Pipe a ring of whipped ganache between each layer of cake! This ensures more even layers and that the coconut pecan frosting won’t spill out when you’re trying to frost the cake.
  • When assembling the cake, it’s best to keep your offset spatula clean.
  • You can decorate this cake however you wish!
  • Remember that this is a very tender cake and it can tear easily when assembling.
  • If coconut pecan frosting is too thick to spread easily, microwave it briefly to loosen it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 1033kcalCarbohydrates: 92gProtein: 15gFat: 69gSaturated Fat: 34gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 280mgSodium: 410mgPotassium: 622mgFiber: 7gSugar: 69gVitamin A: 1227IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 254mgIron: 5mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

– Still Hungry? –

Here are a few recipes may like!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.