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German Chocolate Cake

Prep Time:

45 mins.

Cook Time:

30 mins.


1 (8-inch) 3 layer cake

This all-American favorite hails from Texas rather than Germany, because the original version of the recipe called for “German’s” brand baking chocolate. Moist chocolate cake is layered with delicious coconut-pecan filling and topped with creamy chocolate ganache frosting.


  • 2 cups sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee
  • 6 ounces (1 stick + 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 1//2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1 2/3 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
    Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Whisk together oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined. Add to flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add coffee and whisk until smooth and completely combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly in the 3 pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans.
  4. Make Filling: Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes), stir constantly. Remove thickened filling from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool completely before using.
  5. Assemble Cake: Set aside 1 cup of the filling for topping the frosted cake. Assemble cake layers, topping the first and second layers with the remaining filling. Cover and refrigerate while preparing frosting.
  6. Make Chocolate Ganache Frosting: Place chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe container and microwave at 10 second intervals until melted; whisk until smooth. Let cool until mixture reaches frosting consistency.
  7. Frost only the top of the cake, leaving the sides “naked” to reveal the layers. Place the reserved 1 cup of filling in the center of the top of the cake and use a small offset spatula to spread the filling to the edges of the top of the cake. Garnish with chopped pecans and toasted coconut; cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.