German Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe
German Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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German Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

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This moist, flavorful cake was the traditional birthday cake at our house when I was growing up. Everyone requested it. I especially like the sweet coconut-pecan frosting. —Lisa Andis, Morristown, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
MAKES:12-15 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12-15 servings


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1-1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 590 calories, 33g fat (17g saturated fat), 154mg cholesterol, 421mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.


  1. Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper; set aside.
  2. In a microwave, melt chocolate with water; stir until smooth. Cool. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
  3. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove waxed paper.
  4. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, egg yolks and butter Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened and a thermometer reads 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
  5. Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut, pecans and vanilla. Beat on high until frosting is cool and achieves spreading consistency. Place cake on a serving platter; frost top and sides of cake. Yield: 12-15 servings.
Originally published as German Chocolate Birthday Cake in Taste of Home October/November 1997, p35

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2124arizona User ID: 845443 264477
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2017

"This makes a special Birthday cake for family and friends!!!"

shortbreadlover User ID: 960739 20795
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2014

"this is a great cake recipe. the only thing that i would do different is to double the frosting because my family loves frosting"

totalkat User ID: 5568829 15898
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2012

"I made this for my husbands birthday because he requested German chocolate cake and it was fantastic. The only small complaint I had was that the frosting was not quite as thick as I had imagined it would be until long after I had already frosted the cake."

jsouba User ID: 1788691 15897
Reviewed Nov. 8, 2011

"Amazing cake!!"

ErikB User ID: 4150106 15896
Reviewed Jun. 7, 2011

"Reminds me of the cake my mother used to make."

brenda_poore User ID: 4619779 49259
Reviewed Feb. 23, 2011

"I made this at my daughter's request for her Birthday. I thought it turned out dry until I tasted it again the next day. After sitting under that yummy frosting it moistened up and was perfect. I would make this again!"

lsarets User ID: 2485466 49257
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2010

"This is delicious!"

FriedaG User ID: 1671534 23674
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2008

"In the late 1950s my grandmother clipped from a newspaper a recipe for German chocolate cake. It was new to her, but being of German ancestry she decided to try it. It was a sensation with her family and became the most-requested cake she baked.

Years later, we learned the history of the cake and it turns out that it was a craze that started in Texas and wasn't German at all, except that it was made with German's Sweet chocolate, a brand named after its inventor whose last name was actually German (if his last name had been France, I guess it would have been called "French" chocolate cake).
Anyway, the above recipe for a single-layer rectangular cake is my favorite version. My family members have been known to argue about who gets the outside pieces because they have the most frosting."

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