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German Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

German Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

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 YIELD: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


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for German Chocolate Birthday Cake

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torigem User ID: 3864542 267874
Reviewed 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 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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