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+ servings
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

Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 50 minutes
Author: 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!



  • 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



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • If you would like a more traditional German Chocolate Cake, omit the ganache! Instead, simply fill the cake with the coconut pecan frosting. If you would like to coat the cake with the coconut frosting, double the recipe for the frosting!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 1033kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 69g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 280mg | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 622mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 69g | Vitamin A: 1227IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 254mg | Iron: 5mg