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

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Many folks in our area of Ohio are of German descent, so this recipe is especially appropriate for our region. This cake is my husband's favorite! —Joyce Platfoot, Wapakoneta, Ohio
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ICING:
  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 910 calories, 53 g fat (28 g saturated fat), 237 mg cholesterol, 511 mg sodium, 103 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 11 g protein.


  1. Line three greased 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper. Grease waxed paper and set aside. In small saucepan, melt chocolate with water over low heat; cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a small bowl and with clean beaters, beat the 4 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into creamed mixture; fold in remaining whites.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 24-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. For frosting, in a small saucepan, heat sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks over medium-low heat until mixture is thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla extract. Cool until thick enough to spread. Spread a third of the frosting over each cake layer and stack the layers.
  6. In a microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth; drizzle over cake. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as German Chocolate Cake in Country December/January 1991, p47

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 910 calories, 53 g fat (28 g saturated fat), 237 mg cholesterol, 511 mg sodium, 103 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 11 g protein.

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Reviewed Jan. 29, 2015

"Made this for my husbands birthday! Turned out beautifully. Recipe very accurate. The cake portion is super light and fluffy - somewhat difficult to get out of the pans. Frosting is super rich but delicious. A big hit - makes a HUGE cake - definitely 12 servings. Will for sure make again! Warning - very rich - but worth it for a bday cake! :)"

Reviewed Dec. 28, 2014

"If you were in Germany, and ordered a piece of German Chocolate Cake, they would not know what you were talking about. German Chocolate Cake has nothing to do with Germany, or people from there. It is an American invention."

Reviewed Oct. 5, 2014

"Delicious looking recipe, but it's not called German Chocolate because the chocolate comes from Germany. It's called German's Chocolate because Sam German was a baker that added a darker formulation of chocolate to his cake batter. The formulation he created became known as German's Chocolate and as time went on the 's' was dropped. Created in America, not Germany."

Reviewed Sep. 23, 2014

"I made this cake for my husbands birthday. I had never made a german chocolate before and the recipe took a little time but very easy. I subbed coffee instead of water since I had some leftover but followed exactly other than that. Also, I only put coconut in half the icing and made a coconut half and one without. Both sides were delicious. My husband was kinda snarky that it wasn't fully iced but once he tasted it he was raving about it. The cake was so airy and amazing. This will be my go to chocolate cake recipe. Also, we froze half in slices and it was still amazing."

Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"I made this cake exactly as the recipes reads. It was AWESOME! The only concern I had was how thick the frosting was meant to be so a little more detail would have helped. I stirred until just boiling, removed it from the heat (similar to pudding) and then stirred in the coconut, pecans and vanilla extract. I let it cool for 30-minutes or so until it thickened more and it all came out perfect. No problems whatsoever. Highly recommend!!"

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