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German Chocolate Birthday Cake

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


  • 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


  • Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a greased 13x9-in. baking pan with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper; set aside.
  • 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.
  • Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove waxed paper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 590 calories, 33g fat (17g saturated fat), 154mg cholesterol, 421mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.
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  • Christene
    Feb 10, 2019

    I used a cake mix but made the was wonderful..i didnt beat it with a turned out beautifully

  • Janet
    Jan 30, 2019

    I thought the cake was easy to make and hope it will taste delicious. The frosting looks great. I made it for the Airmen in my squadron. I’ll let you know what they think,

  • torigem
    Jun 11, 2017

    Frosting was a complete disaster. I followed instructions, but it never thickened, even after an hour. Ended up adding confectioners sugar to try to thicken and it was still thin. Poured over cake (after poking holes in it to soak up liquid) just so I could present it as a very poor version of a German chocolate cake.

  • 2124arizona
    Apr 8, 2017

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

  • shortbreadlover
    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
    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
    Nov 8, 2011

    Amazing cake!!

  • sewmom8
    Aug 11, 2011

    No comment left

  • ErikB
    Jun 7, 2011

    Reminds me of the cake my mother used to make.

  • brenda_poore
    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!