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German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake is a light brown chocolate-buttermilk cake sandwiched with a crunchy-chewy coconut-pecan frosting. Get ready to indulge in the best chocolate cake on the planet.

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake, with its traditional stack of dark chocolate cake layers smothered with caramel frosting.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cooling1 hr
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cakes, chocolate cake, chocolate dessert, Cupcakes, German Chocolate Cake, Holidays, Sweets & Desserts, Sweets and Treats
Servings: 12
Calories: 698kcal


  • 9" Cake Pans
  • 5-Quart Stand Mixer
  • High-Heat Scraper
  • Half-Sheet Pan
  • 4-Quart Saucepan
  • Spatula Set
  • 9" Wire Whisk
  • Glass Nesting Bowls
  • 8" Chef's Knife
  • 18 x 24-Inch Plastic Cutting Board
  • Glass Liquid Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons Set



  • ½ cup Boiling water 
  • 4 oz. Bittersweet bar chocolate, finely chopped


  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • ½ tsp. Table salt


  • 1 Stick unsalted butter, softened (8 Tbsp.) 
  • 1 ¾ cups Sugar 
  • 3 Eggs 
  • 1 Egg yolk 
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup Buttermilk


  • 3 cups Sweetened shredded coconut 
  • 1 cup Coarsely chopped pecans


  • 1 ½ cups Sugar 
  • ¼ cup Water 
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt 
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy cream 
  • 4 oz. Semisweet bar chocolate,   chopped
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350° with racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  • For the cake, pour boiling water over bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl; cover and let sit 2 minutes to soften. Whisk mixture until chocolate melts.
  • Whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking soda, and table salt in a large bowl.
  • Beat butter 1 minute on medium low speed. With the mixer running, add sugar in a steady stream. Once all sugar is added, increase speed to medium and cream mixture until light and fluffy, 4–5 minutes, scraping bowl as needed.
  • Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 11/2 tsp. vanilla and the melted chocolate mixture.
  • Alternately beat flour mixture and buttermilk into creamed mixture in thirds, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 18–22 minutes. Remove cakes from oven; cool in pans on cooling racks, 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks, remove parchment, and let cool completely.
  • For the topping, toast coconut and pecans on separate baking sheets, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12–18 minutes.
  • Boil 1½ cups sugar, ¼ cup water, and kosher salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the color of iced tea, swirling occasionally, 7–10 minutes. Add cream and whisk until mixture dissolves. Add semisweet chocolate; whisk over low heat until chocolate melts.
  • Off heat, stir in 2 tsp. vanilla; let caramel cool until warm to the touch, about 10 minutes, then stir in coconut and pecans.
  • To assemble cake, spread a heaping cup of topping on each layer and on top of cake.


Per serving, Calories: 698

Nutrition Facts

1 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories698
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 43g 67%
    • Saturated Fat 25g 125%
  • Cholesterol 125mg 42%
  • Sodium 395mg 17%
  • Total Carbohydrate 78g 26%
    • Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
  • Protein 8g 16%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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    Written by Lisa Yarde

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