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Slicing decadent German chocolate cake

German Chocolate Cake

This German Chocolate Cake boasts rich chocolatey layers and a mouthwatering filling that beautifully blends coconut and pecans. Then the delectable chocolate frosting tops it off for the most delish chocolate cake experience you'll ever have. This practically effortless recipe is a sure winner!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 569kcal
Author Imma


  • 2 Large mixing bowls
  • Electric hand or stand mixer
  • 3 8-inch cake pans
  • Medium saucepan 
  • sifter 
  • Cake stand or serving plate
  • Cake spatula or pastry bag with a large round tip


German Chocolate Cake 

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup (118g) unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt 
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda 
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder 
  • 1 cup (227g) butter 
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar 
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature 
  • ½ cup (115g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (8.5g) vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup (122.5g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • ¼-½ cup (59-118.5ml) hot water   (or hot coffee)

 Coconut Pecan Filling  

  • ½ cup (99g) brown sugar, packed 
  • 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, softened 
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar 
  •  3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup (250ml) evaporated milk 
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4g) vanilla extract 
  • 1½-2 cups (150-200g) shredded coconut 
  • 1-1½ cup (109-163.5g) pecans, chopped 

 Chocolate Frosting  

  • ¾ cup (88.5g) cocoa powder 
  • 3½-4 cups (700-800g) powdered sugar 
  • 8 ounces (227g) unsalted  butter, softened
  • 2-4 tablespoons (30-60g) milk  
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4g) vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt 


German Chocolate Cake  

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.  
  • Cream butter and sugar in another large bowl using an electric mixer (a stand mixer works just as well).  
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  
  • Next, add sour cream, vanilla, and buttermilk, and continue mixing until all the ingredients have been thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Pour in the hot water (depending on consistency) and mix until it's fully incorporated into the batter. 
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between three 8-inch cake pans. For accurate measurements, I weigh each pan and adjust accordingly.  
  • Place the cake layers in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and let them cool completely. I usually make these a day or more in advance, wrap them and freeze them. When ready to make the cake, remove and assemble them. 

Coconut Pecan Filling

  • Proceed with the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter, sugar, egg yolks, and evaporated milk, whisking occasionally until the mixture simmers. Keep whisking until mixture thickens, 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Set aside and let it cool before assembling the cake. (It will continue to thicken as it cools. Start spreading it on the cake when it has reached the desired consistency.)

Chocolate Frosting

  • Sift together cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Then add softened butter, milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Mix with an electric mixer until fully combined. Set aside.

Assembling the Cake

  • Start by placing one layer on a cake stand or serving plate.  
  • Divide the coconut pecan filling into three. Layer pecan filling on the cake and spread it in a smooth layer. Leave about a ½ inch between the filling and the edge of the cake.  
  • Top it with the second layer, add pecan filling, and spread it over the entire cake. Top it with the third layer.
  • Scoop up a big batch of frosting with a spatula and apply it thickly to the side of your cake. Alternatively, you can use a pipe with a pastry bag and a large round tip. Smooth it out or create layers.  
  • Pipe the remaining chocolate frosting around the edge of the cake. 
  • Garnish with coconut shavings and pecans. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting to prevent the cake from falling apart as you cut.  


  1. Can I replace pecans? Yes, you can. Swap it with hazelnuts or any preferred nuts. Or if you're allergic to nuts, swap it with shredded coconut.
  2. What I can use in place of buttermilk? See how to make homemade buttermilk.
  3. Can I use other chocolate cake recipes? Yes, absolutely. Use whatever chocolate cake recipe you have, and just use this filling recipe. You can even use a boxed cake mix to save time if desired.
  4. Do I need to bring everything to room temperature? Yes, you need to. This is for the batter to mix together easily and evenly.
  5. Can I make it in advance? Bake the cake layers, let them cool, and wrap them. Put them in the fridge for up to two days or freeze them for up to three months. You may also prepare this coconut filling ahead of time. Just let it cool before covering and storing it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Once ready to use, just let it bring to room temperature before spreading it on the cake.
  6. Don't skip the hot water (or hot coffee) because it melts the fat just enough for a smoother batter.
  7. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 321mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 820IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 2mg