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German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake is a classic cake with two chocolate layers and coconut frosting. The moist cake is a favorite around the holidays and super easy to make.

Homemade German Chocolate Cake

A slice of German chocolate cake on a white plate.

I haven’t always been a fan of coconut, but I’ve started to like it more in the past few years.

And, this homemade coconut frosting is so rich and delicious on top and in the middle of the chocolate cake. It adds a creamy buttery richness to the cake.

This also has one ingredient that makes recipes taste more moist and flavorful–buttermilk. One cup of buttermilk can make a cake pop.

I don’t make a lot of cakes and I’m not always great at making them. But, because this is such an easy recipe, it’s now one of my favorite cake recipes.

A slice of German Chocolate Cake on a plate.

What Ingredients Do I Need To Make German Chocolate Cake?

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Hot water
  • Evaporated milk
  • Egg yolks
  • Butter
  • Shredded sweet coconut
  • Chopped pecans

Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions listed at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.

How Do I Make The Homemade German Chocolate Cake?

  1. Start by greasing two 8″ round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl and whisk.
  3. Next, add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour the hot water into the cake mixture and mix well.
  5. Now, pour the cake mixture into the two cake pans and bake for 28-30 minutes at 350-degrees.
  6. After the cakes bake, grab a saucepan and add the butter, vanilla extract, sugar, egg yolks, and evaporated milk and mix well.
  7. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the frosting thickens, whisking often.
  8. Remove the saucepan and stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
  9. Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake pedestal and spread part of the frosting over the top.
  10. Add the second layer of cake and spread the remainder of the frosting on the top of the cake.
Coconut frosting on top of German chocolate cake.

Step-By-Step Directions for Homemade German Chocolate Cake

Flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a glass bowl.

Start by adding the all-purpose flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl.

Whisk all of the ingredients together.

Eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in dry cake ingredients.

Next, add the eggs and vegetable oil.

Pouring buttermilk into cake batter.

Pour the buttermilk into the bowl and add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Pouring boiling water into the German chocolate cake batter.

Finally, pour the boiling water into the batter and mix well.

Pour the cake batter into the two greased pans and bake at 350-degrees for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Homemade Coconut Frosting

Pouring evaporated milk into a saucepan with sugar and butter.

Grab a medium-sized saucepan and add the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk and mix well.

Egg yolks, butter, and evaporated milk in a saucepan.

Next, add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and whisk.

Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until thick, whisking often.

The frosting will be almost as thick as pudding, but not quite as thick.

Shredded coconut and chopped pecans in a saucepan.

Once the frosting thickens, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

German chocolate cake on a stand.

Place the cake on top of a cake stand and spread part of the frosting on the cake.

The second layer of cake for German chocolate cake.

Add the second layer of cake to the top and spread the remainder of the frosting on the top of the cake.

I didn’t cut the top of the cake off to level it out because I will simply end up messing up the cake and making it look awful.

I just added the cake and it may not have been the most beautiful cake, but it sure was delicious.

German chocolate cake sliced and on a white plate.
A slice of chocolate cake with pecans on top.

Add a few pecans to the top and you have a beautiful and incredibly tasty German chocolate cake.

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Check out the recipe card below, grab those ingredients, and start baking! This is a great cake and I think you’ll really love it.

Then, share your comments below and share a picture of your cake on the Pinterest Pin!  If you made any changes or added something different, be sure to share it with us so we can try it, too!

Yield: 16 pieces

German Chocolate Cake

A slice of chocolate cake with pecans on top.

German chocolate cake is a classic cake with two chocolate layers and coconut frosting. The moist cake is a favorite around the holidays and super easy to make.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling hot water

Frosting

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sweet coconut
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease two 8-inch pans. Line the bottom of both pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and whisk.
  3. Next, add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the boiling hot water and mix well.
  5. Pour into two cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Frosting

  1. While the cake is cooling, add the butter, evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract to a saucepan on medium heat and mix well.
  2. Cook about 10 minutes until thick, stirring often.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
  4. Place one of the layers of cake on a cake stand and spread part of the frosting over the top.
  5. Place the second layer on the top and spread the remainder of the frosting on top of the cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 473Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 3gSugar: 44gProtein: 6g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Find more delicious recipes at Julia’s Simply Southern, and South Your Mouth.

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Thursday 7th of January 2021

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