Classic German Chocolate Cake: Traditional Delight

Classic German Chocolate Cake: Traditional Delight

  • on February 8, 2024
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Calling all chocolate lovers! Prepare to embark on a delicious journey into the realm of the German Chocolate Cake, a decadent masterpiece that has captured hearts and taste buds for generations. 

This article will delve into its fascinating history, reveal the secrets to crafting the perfect slice, and answer all your questions about this iconic dessert.

A Taste of History 

Contrary to its name, the German Chocolate Cake has American origins. In 1957, a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake” appeared in a Dallas newspaper, credited to a Texas homemaker named Mrs. Samuel German. 

However, the cake’s true origins are shrouded in mystery, with some attributing its creation to the Baker’s Chocolate Company. Regardless of its origin story, this chocolatey marvel has become a cherished dessert table staple, enjoyed worldwide.

But what makes the German Chocolate Cake so special? 

The answer lies in its unique combination of flavors and textures. The moist and rich chocolate cake layers are perfectly complemented by a sweet and nutty filling made with pecans and coconut, all enveloped in a velvety chocolate frosting. 

Each bite is an explosion of textures and tastes, leaving you wanting more.

Ready to conquer this culinary masterpiece? 

Fear not, for the secrets to baking the Best German Chocolate Cake are within reach. The process involves three key components: baking the cake layers, preparing the filling, and whipping the frosting. Each step requires attention to detail and careful measurements, but the reward is a dessert that will impress even the most discerning palate.

Here’s a sneak peek into the steps involved:

For the cake layers: You’ll need all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and buttermilk to create a moist and fluffy base. Don’t forget the eggs and sugar for sweetness and structure.

For the filling: Sweetened condensed milk, toasted pecans, and shredded coconut unite to form a creamy and nutty concoction that adds a delightful layer of flavor and texture.

For the frosting: Unsweetened cocoa powder, melted butter, and evaporated milk come together to create a smooth and decadent chocolatey coating. A touch of vanilla extract adds a subtle sweetness that elevates the frosting to a whole new level.

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Calling all chocolate lovers! Prepare to embark on a delicious journey into the realm of the German Chocolate Cake, a decadent masterpiece that has captured hearts and taste buds for generations.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 People
Calories 440 kcal


For the cake:

  • 1 ¾ cups 219g all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup 62g unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ cups 350g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder optional
  • ½ cup 120ml canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup 180g full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • ½ cup 120ml buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup 120ml hot water or coffee

For the coconut-pecan filling:

  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup 113g flaked coconut
  • 1 cup 120g chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 1 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup 120ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Stir in hot water or coffee until incorporated.
  • Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cakes cool completely in pans on wire racks before frosting.

For the coconut-pecan filling:

  • In a saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk, coconut, pecans, and salt.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before using.

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth.
  • Let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.
  • Beat in milk, vanilla extract, and salt.
  • Stir in melted chocolate until combined.


  • Once the cakes are cooled, level them if necessary.
  • Place one cake layer on a serving platter.
  • Spread a layer of coconut-pecan filling over the top of the cake layer.
  • Top with another cake layer.
  • Spread another layer of coconut-pecan filling over the top of the second cake layer.
  • Top with the final cake layer.
  • Frost the entire cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


  • For best results, use all ingredients at room temperature.
  • If you don’t have espresso powder, you can omit it.
  • You can use a buttermilk substitute instead of buttermilk.
  • You can use chopped walnuts instead of pecans.
  • To make the cake ahead of time, bake the cake layers and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • You can also freeze the frosted cake for up to 2 months.
Keyword German Chocolate Cake

For a Truly Perfect German Chocolate Cake, consider these helpful tips:

Use high-quality ingredients for the best taste and texture.

Don’t overmix the batter, which can lead to a tough cake.

Toast the pecans for a deeper and richer flavor in the filling.

Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting to ensure a smooth and even finish.


What makes German Chocolate Cake different from other chocolate cakes?

The key difference lies in its unique filling. The combination of pecans, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk creates a distinct sweetness and texture that’s not found in other chocolate cakes.

Can I substitute the pecans in the filling?

While pecans are traditional, you can substitute them with other nuts like walnuts or almonds. However, be aware that the overall flavor and texture may be slightly altered.

How long does German Chocolate Cake stay fresh?

When stored properly in an airtight container, the cake can stay fresh for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the refrigerator.


The German Chocolate Cake transcends mere dessert status; it embodies an entire experience. It serves as a gentle nudge to pause, relish the present, and revel in life’s uncomplicated joys. Its storied heritage, luscious flavors, and enduring charm ensure its unrivaled stature in the realm of desserts. Thus, embrace the opportunity, bake a sumptuous batch, share it with cherished ones, and forge enduring memories.

Should you have savored this delectable delight, consider exploring our exceptional fudge cake recipe. You’ll find it equally delightful—guaranteed satisfaction awaits.

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