German Chocolate Cake


This is the only German Chocolate Cake recipe you’ll ever need, I dare say it’s perfect in every way! The cake is deliciously rich and chocolatey and it’s covered with that irresistible sweet and sticky, coconut pecan topping we all crave.

Slice of German Chocolate Cake on a marble plate set over a marble surface.

The Best German Chocolate Cake Recipe!

I love when holidays draw closer because that means there’s definitely going to be some amazing desserts around! Amazing desserts like this German Chocolate Cake!

All we need in life is chocolate cake, right? :) Chocolate cake has a way to my heart and whomever discovered chocolate is my hero.


Truly though, this German Chocolate Cake is one of those desserts that’s so good it should become a tradition in your home for a yearly holiday like a birthday, Easter or Mother’s Day.

It’s four layers of total bliss!

Whole two layer German Chocolate Cake on a marble cake stand with a light blue wooden background.

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Whole milk and canned evaporated milk
  • Eggs and yolks
  • Vanilla
  • Canola oil and butter
  • Shredded sweetened coconut
  • Pecans

Close up image of German Chocolate Cake showing two chocolate cake layers, and two layers of german chocolate icing made from coconut and pecans.

How to Make German Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cake pans.
  • Whisk dry ingredients.
  • Mix in milk, eggs and vanilla then blend in oil.
  • Blend in boiling water and beat.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake until set, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool and frost.

How to Make German Chocolate Cake Icing

  • In a saucepan mix egg and evaporated milk.
  • Mix in sugar to dissolve.
  • Add butter and cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat, add in vanilla, coconut, coconut and pecans.
  • Cool until just warm then spread over cake.

German Chocolate Cake with slice take out. Shown from a side angle.

A Staple From Scratch Cake Recipe

This is one of those cakes that’s been around since 1852 and I have the feeling it’s not going anywhere. It’s just one of those perfectly delicious classics that you’ll want to make again and again.

In other words, add this one to the recipe book because you’re going to love it!

German chocolate cake slice.

I got this recipe from Robyn Stone’s amazing new cookbook – Add a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics.

Her new cookbook is filled with fresh takes on classic family-friendly recipes – all of which are straight forward and easy to follow and the end results look truly delicious!

I highly recommend this cookbook! If you’d like to read more about this cookbook or to buy a copy for yourself you can follow this link HERE.

German Chocolate Cake

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German Chocolate Cake

4.84 from 6 votes

This is the BEST German Chocolate Cake! It's perfectly rich and chocolatey and no one can resist that sweet and sticky coconut pecan topping. A delicious cake for any occasion!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: German Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 578 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


  • 2 cups (248g) all-purpose flour (spoon and level to measure)
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (68g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (236) whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup (235ml) boiling water

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups (295ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (172g) sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup (106g) chopped pecans, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment then dust pans lightly with cocoa powder or flour and shake out excess. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

  3. Add the milk, eggs and vanilla and using an electric hand mixer beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the oil. 
  4. With the mixer still on low, carefully and slowly pour in boiling water and mix until well combined, about 2 - 3 minutes. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 - 35 minutes. Let cakes cook 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. 
  6. Once cool spread about 1/3 of the frosting over one layer of cake. Top with the second layer of cake and frost only the top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  7. For the frosting: in a large saucepan whisk together egg yolks and evaporated milk until very well combined. 

  8. Add in sugar and whisk to dissolve sugar. Add butter and cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened, about 10 - 12 minutes.
  9. Remove pan from heat, add in vanilla, coconut, coconut and pecans. Let cool until just warm then spread over cake.
  10. *If you scoop and level to measure flour (like I do) then only use 1 3/4 cups flour.
  11. Recipe source: adapted from the Add a Pinch cookbook
Nutrition Facts
German Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 578 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 43%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 437mg 18%
Potassium 340mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 77g 26%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 58g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 7.8%
Vitamin C 0.6%
Calcium 13.3%
Iron 12.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  • Angela: Just made this tonight for my girlfriend who requested German chocolate for her birthday. While I personally dont like German chocolate it was fun to make and I would say it turned out well! She loves it and it is very moist and chocolatey. Thanks for the recipe! November 29, 2018 at 12:56am Reply

  • Deanie: I made this cake for my husband’s 60th birthday and it is amazing! September 21, 2018 at 11:23am Reply

  • Pat Sulek: Hey!
    Is not your cake.The Hershey Cocoa Cake?
    It is the exact recipe on he can of Hersheys Cocoa tin.
    Was it slightly adapted or one of the same?
    Just curious.
    Thanks for the frosting recipe. June 17, 2018 at 4:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Pat this is actually a recipe from the cookbook mentioned here so I’m not sure. Either way it’s a delicious cake :). June 17, 2018 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Alexis: Can I use vegetable oil instead of canola oil? April 11, 2018 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Connie Siebold: Oh my goodness I just made this cake for my husband. German chocolate cake is his absolute favorite cake. He just told me this is the best cake he has EVER eaten! And I would agree. I was worried because the batter seemed very runny. Not thick like a cake mix. But it turned out perfect! It was moist and chocolatey. I’ll be making this from now on. Birthdays, Easter, Valentine’s day! February 13, 2018 at 9:26pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yay! So glad you both enjoyed it Connie! February 16, 2018 at 9:46am Reply

  • Jo: Absolutely delicious! And ingredients I already had on hand. Normally I’ve had to do some special grocery shopping to make a German Chocolate cake. Family loved it and will definitely make again February 3, 2018 at 10:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear it! Thanks Jo! February 5, 2018 at 12:55pm Reply

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