German Chocolate Cake - Make My Cake

Total Time:
4 hr 45 min
40 min
2 hr 15 min
1 hr 50 min

2 (9-inch) layer cakes or 24 cupcakes

  • 4 ounces baker's chocolate (recommend: Baker's German Sweet Chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Filling, recipe follows or whatever you prefer
  • Favorite chocolate frosting, for the sides
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 cups toasted pecans

In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and water and heat in a microwave or over a double boiler until melted. Stir until smooth and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla extract, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, until just combined.

Add the egg whites to a small bowl and beat with an egg beater until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter until well incorporated.

Pour the batter evenly into 2 (9-inch) cake pans or 2 (12 capacity) cupcake tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes for the larger cakes and 15 to 20 for the cupcakes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

To Assemble the German Chocolate Cake:

Put a cake layer on top of a serving plate and top with a generous layer of the caramel/pecan filling. Cover the frosting with another cake layer of and spread with the frosting. Top with the final layer and frost.

Spread dark chocolate frosting (secret recipe), or your favorite chocolate frosting around the outside of the entire cake. Cut into wedges and serve.

A viewer, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

Coconut Pecan Filling:

Combine the evaporated milk, slightly beaten egg yolks, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan or heavy pot over low heat. When the butter melts raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken after 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the coconut and pecans and cool before frosting the cakes.

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    This cake is very tasty but if you follow the recipe you will have problem. It is a 3 layer cake. The ingredients are for 3 layers not 2 layers. IF you make as 3 layers from the begining it turns out fantastic.
    This is a great tasting cake, but it does something very strange that I haven't seen before. The cake rises way above the pan, forms a flat crust, then sinks before it is done. I've made it twice and it did the same thing both times. What am I doing wrong?
    I haven't made this yet but will get back to you. First of all, this has no pan prep. I'm already turned off. So I ripped open the german sweet to see what's happening. It says: "COVER BOTTOMS OF 3 (9 INCH) ROUND PANS WITH WAXED PAPER, SPRAY SIDES WITH COOKING SPRAY." **MYSTERY SOLVED**... The end of this recipe says: "spread dark chocolate frosting (secret recipe) or YOUR favorite chocolate frosting around the outside of the entire cake. What's the fuss? Because it's a secret? Maybe she melted chocolate chips (BTW hershey's has dark chocolate chips) and made a buttercream frosting. You can buy it or make frosting. I plan on using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder to make mine (it's on the container). I will not be using this recipe for the cake but with use the coconut-pecan recipe from here.  
    The Hungry Physicist feels this is a fantastic German Chocolate Cake Recipe! There are definitely a few changes required: 
    1) This batter and frosting is too high a yield for just a two-tier cake. Use three cake pans, and frost each layer. Also, some sort of oil/flour is necessary to prevent the cake from sticking. In the Lab I succeeded with spray oil and cocoa powder. 
    2) The frosting is easy to create, but I feel saying to cook it for 10-12 minutes is simply imprecise. A few minutes after raising the heat to medium (and stirring constantly) you'll notice the frosting start to boil and increase volume quite a lot. A couple minutes after this point, it will lower in volume again but still be boiling. At this time the frosting is "done" - further heating is at your discretion, Hungry Physicists will probably like to cook the frosting for 3-5 more minutes after the volume reduction.
    I made this cake several times and everyone says it is hands down the best they have ever tasted! Used chocolate on the sides as coconut icing is heavy. Use 3 pans not 2 and always prep your pan with cake release or some spray. I use parchment or wax paper in the pan and they always come out perfect!
    I wrote a really harsh review of this cake originally because I was mad. I deleted it because I wrote it when I was still angry and should have taken the time to step back and calm down. With that said, I think the flavor is really good, but I still ran into some problems with this recipe. First, it doesn't mention anything about preparing the cake pans. Should you grease and flour them? I did, but the cake still stuck to the pan. Maybe I shouldn't have? Second, the end of the recipe calls for assembling three layers. But it only calls for two cake pans. Mistake? I read where people had trouble with batter overflowing the pans during baking. Perhaps this is the problem. Also... be careful with the icing. It is incredibly heavy and can topple the cake. All in all, an expensive lesson I probably won't try again.
    Wow, this is delicious. Ok, first of all easy to make, and the flavor of the cake is perfectly balanced, the frosting, Omg, it is again perfectly balanced, not that too sweet you always have when you have the cake at the bakery, oh my it is perfect!
    Really good! I added a few extras for added flavor that no one adds to their German chocolate recipes anymore. Cinnamon & nutmeg. Really brings out the difference of a German chocolate cake from other chocolate cakes. (Was told this by a tiny old german lady. And you didn't fully explain how thick the frosting cooks to. So if you accidentally cook it too thick, like I did, don't fret. Add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to dilute it down some. Helps to make it spreadable. Thank you so much for putting this cake recipe out there! This is very good!
    THANK YOU Aliyyah Baylor!!!!  
    I just started baking this year.... I have had this recipe since this show aired. This first time, it seemed like it took me 4 hours... It was good... But not perfect. By my 4th time, it was perfect! I made the frosting the night before... And baked my cake the next morning. OMG!!!! I love to see the look on their faces after the 1st bite!
    I bake a lot and have made many cakes from scratch. I went by this recipe exactly as written and my cakes overflowed. The recipe called for 2 9 inch pans which I used. I discovered the same recipe on the back of the German Chocolate box and it called for 3 9 inch pans. Explains the overflow. The cake was still good but very stressful trying to make it work.
    This a great recipe...a lot of work, but worth it!! Thanks to bakergal1 I took her advice and used parchment paper and my cakes did not stick. I also followed the recipe and used 2-9" pans ( I kept checking the oven to make sure it didn't bubble over and the cakes came out perfect. I used the German Chocolate Cake Frosting II recipe from allrecipes and this frosting took the cake over the top! This recipe is definitely a keeper!
    EXCELLENT CAKE RECIPE. A couple tips: 
    1. I bake cakes from scratch often and have never had cakes stick so badly to the baking pans, despite greasing and flouring and using nonstick Wilton heavy duty baking pans. For the second try, I used parchment paper along with greasing and flouring and they came out easily. 
    2. The recipe calls for 2 - 9" pans, but some reviewers said it makes 3. I tried 3 the first try but along with the sticky problem, the cakes were very low in height. So I went with 2 - 9" pans the second time and it was the perfect height for a double layer cake. Especially with such chunky frosting. 
    I have never made a cake by scratch before, and even though this took a long time, it was super easy. The cake is delicious and the filling tastes SOOO good. I made this for my dad for his birthday (his favorite cake and now he wants it for every holiday. Takes long time, but definitely worth it. DELICIOUS! (I let both the cake and filling cool over night. Allows the filling to be thicker and the cake easier to ice. Also, with the cake pans, I sprayed and lightly floured them. I also live in high altitude and didn't adjust the recipe and everything turned out great.
    THIS CAKE WAS DELICIOUS!!! Everything turned out perfectly; even though it took forever to make, each step is worth it in the end!
    it was very good but i hated how it took so long i used the recipe for my 13th birthday party because i LOVE germany !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Was asked in the morning to bake a cake for a friend's birthday...this recipe popped up and was easy to follow the directions and was delicious...light and full of what a German Chocolat eCake should taste like. On this busy day my son and neice took over and followed the directions for the filling with no problem. Easy - perfect - highly recommend .. thanks...
    I have only made the coconut pecan filling and it is the BEST! Honestly, I find that any homemade cake I have made does not live up to the moistness of a boxed cake mix, however the coconut pecan frosting from a tub is absolutely awful! I use a packaged chocolate frosting for the outside of the cake as well. I have even used the filling to fill the centers of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting tops, amazing little surprise when you take a bite! A nice change up is almond extract rather than vanilla too.
    Outstanding! Labor intensive, but worth it.
    Hands down, the absolute best cake I've ever made...and I followed it EXACTLY as the recipe reads EXCEPT (I wish I could make this part bold...THIS EASILY MAKES A 3 LAYER CAKE. Make sure you usecake flour for a more tender cake.
     2 friends and myself ate about a quarter of the cake, and I planned to take it to work with me the next day, since I don't eat a lot of sweets and my brother had refused to try it because he isn't really a fan of chocolate. Well, at 3 am, I got a text message from my brother forbidding me from taking the cake with me to work.
    Before I made this cake, I read one review that said the cake dripped all over the oven while it baked. But I decided to try this recipe anyway. I followed the directions exactly, poured the batter into two 9-inch round cake pans, and set them to bake for 30 minutes. After about 10 minutes I checked on them and noticed that the batter had risen and was overflowing from the pans, dripping to the bottom of my oven and burning. I rearranged the racks in my oven and put a cookie sheet in to catch the drips. After baking for 40 minutes, I took the cakes out and let them cool. When I took them out of the pan, they fell apart a little. They also split when I gently put the cooled coconut-pecan mixture on them. Cutting slices was near impossible as the cake just fell apart upon contact. Don't get me wrong, this cake is delicious. I made it for my dad and he loved it. But, you might consider splitting the batter into 3-4 pans rather than the 2 suggested by the recipe.
    This cake is so moist and delicious. This is the best german chocolate frosting that I've ever tasted 
    The recipe was easy. It was long to prepare, but it was easy to do. I could stand a little bit more chocolate flavoring in the cake but other than that, really great cake!
    This is the most delicious German Chocolate Cake I have ever made. In the past I have had trouble with cakes made from sratch, but this one is perfect! Made it for my dad's birthday. The filling was rich and delicious. Amazing that there was enough left to put on the cake :
    This recipe is definitely for 3 layers. Note directions for putting the cake together. Batter made 3 perfectly full layers baked @ 350 for 30 minutes.
    Everyone LOVED this cake. Moist and decadent just as it should be. Thanks for the recipe.
    I love German Chocolate cake. I made this cake and it was the best I have ever had.Better than my mothers,grandmothers and better that the backery across the street.
    THE BEST German Chocolate cake I ever had. Everyone at the birthday party agreed!!
    Delicious! The cake was moist, the filling was incredibly rich, and the fudgy frosting (the Throwdown Cookbook has a suggested recipe gave it a great balance. I'm guessing the reviewers who ended up with too much batter were using 8-inch cake pans. The recipe calls for 9-inch round pans, and I had the perfect amount of batter for the two pans.
    I have made this cake a bunch of times and it is AWESOME! I made a light chocolate icing and only put the coconut filling between the layers. Everyone raves about the cake, and is always a huge hit. People are always requesting me to make this cake! So, for me the coconut filling is enough for 2 cakes...I put half in a ziploc bag and put int he freezer until I need to make another cake!
    This is the best German Chocolate Cake I have ever had. I made several of them for a bake sale at Church and not only did it sell out first but people are still raving about it. Thanks Aliyyah
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    German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Filling

    Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen