German Chocolate Cake

a slice of chocolate cake with layers of coconut frosting on a plate with a fork

A traditional homemade German Chocolate Cake made from scratch with layers of moist and delicious chocolate cake and topped with lots of a rich coconut and pecan frosting!


Cake batter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee
Coconut-Pecan Topping
  • 12 oz evaporated milk (1 can)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter unsalted
  • 2 2/3 cups sweetened coconut shredded or flaked
  • 2 cups pecans , coarsely chopped


Cake Batter

  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  • You will need 3 cake pans, each 8 inches in diameter. Cut out 3 parchment paper circles that will fit inside the cake pans. Place the parchment papers inside and using some melted butter or cooking spray, butter each pan well.
  • In a large size bowl or the bowl of your mixer combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add the coffee and continue mixing until everything is well combined and smooth. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix as needed. Pour the batter into the 3 prepared pans, equally.
  • Bake the cake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until baked through. Do the toothpick test, insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it's done. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 30 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack or a cutting board and cool completely. To get nice flat layers, cut the top of the cakes (the dome part) with a very sharp knife.

Coconut-Pecan Topping

  • In a medium heavy saucepan combine evaporated milk, and vanilla, sugar and butter; cook on medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so mixture does not burn. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature.
  • To assemble the cake, place one cake on a serving platter and spread about 1/3 of the frosting evenly. Repeat with the 2nd cake layer and frosting, then place the last cake and spread the rest of the topping. Drizzle with chocolate syrup if preferred.

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