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Upside-Down German Chocolate Cake

This simple recipe yields a delectable German chocolate cake that folks will "flip over"! The tempting coconut and pecan "frosting" bakes under the batter and ends up on top when you turn the cake out of the pan.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    9 servings


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup pecan halves
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • CAKE:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Whipped topping, optional


  • In a saucepan over low heat, cook and stir brown sugar and butter until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Spread into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans and coconut. Drizzle with evaporated milk; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the chocolate, eggs and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Pour over topping.
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve with whipped topping if desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 494 calories, 25g fat (13g saturated fat), 82mg cholesterol, 409mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate (46g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • roale
    Mar 2, 2017

    Fit a circle of parchment in pan before putting in the pecan layer to make finished cake release easily. This recipe is more 'authentic' tasting than those which use a cream cheese layer on top..

  • delowenstein
    Mar 25, 2014

    I prepared this recipe again on 4/6/14 It WAS delicious! I did make adjustment on this recipe as follows: For topping, I used 2/3 cup pecan halves, 3/4 cup whole milk & 6 Tbsp. butter, melted. I used 2/3 cup packed brown sugar this time around! I kept the amount of flour, sugar, eggs, salt, baking powder, baking soda as is. I used 3/4 cup whole milk, soured with 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar. I used a greased and floured 9" square baking pan. I baked 40 to 45 minutes at 350o F. I think that a knife needs to be run around the cake to loosen it! I'd also noticed that the topping adhered to the bottom of the pan-even with greasing and flouring pan the first time I'd baked this cake! When I inverted the cake onto a tin-foil-lined tray, after cooling 5 minutes, the topping stuck to bottom of pan and some of the cake broke! I did find the cake very moist, though! I also used 1 cup of milk chocolate candy disks as I did not have have German sweet chocolate! I melted the disks in my double boiler! That worked for me! Just make sure the chocolate doesn't harden-I DID notice that and had to scrape the chocolate into the batter off my beating paddle/mixing bowl! I give this a 5-* rating anyway! Thank you for sharing this recipe! delowenstein p.s. This time, I did run a knife around the cake to loosen it! The cake was inverted onto heavy-duty foil on a jelly-roll pan! I noticed that because I'd used 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar & 3/4 cup milk, the topping didn't stick to pan and this time, because I'd run the knife around the edges of cake, it was MUCH easier for me to manage!

  • ldyjade69
    Nov 18, 2013


  • Tenitram
    May 23, 2013

    I made this today. Everyone loved it. My son ate 3 pieces. My go to for german chocolate cake from now on.

  • lisa53202
    May 6, 2013

    My granddaughter and I made this, and it is very moist and delicious. It is more chocolaty than the three layer German chocolate cake--my other granddaughter said the taste reminds her of brownies.

  • patrichard
    Feb 5, 2013

    This is my husbands all time favorite. And I love it because it makes 1 layer. Just enough so that he doesn't over indulge!

  • danielandtresa
    Sep 28, 2010

    I have made this cake quite a few times, and everyone in my family really likes it...from my husband, down to our 3 year old. German chocolate cake is my favorite cake, and this version is a lot quicker than traditional German chocolate. It has always turned out quite moist for me. Perhaps taztpoodle baked it too long? Definately worth trying if you are a German chocolate fan!!:)

  • taztpoople
    Nov 6, 2009

    I had wanted to make this for quite some time. I made it for dinner guests & was very disappointed. It turned out to be very dry; nothing like the real German Chocolate Cake.

  • hnieel
    Oct 16, 2009

    No comment left

  • hteasley
    Mar 20, 2009

    No comment left