The Best German Chocolate Cake Recipe

The German chocolate cake unites the richness of chocolate, sweetness of coconut and caramel, and the buttery taste of pecans in one delectable dessert. Unlike other frosted cakes, the sides of this treat are bare—revealing its beauty and flavor right away.

milk chocolate barsContrary to its name, the German chocolate cake originated from the United States. “German” was derived from the employee at Walter Baker & Company who developed the sweet chocolate first used in this recipe. His name was Samuel Germany. The chocolate he developed was labeled German’s Sweet Chocolate™, still sold today by Baker’s Company. Described as a “creamy chocolate with a milder chocolate flavor”, this traditional ingredient plays well with the nutty sweetness of coconut and pecans.

The original German cake recipe calls specifically for Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate. However, this ingredient can be replaced with any kind of high quality semi-sweet chocolate with at least 48% cacao. At Sulpice Chocolat we like to add a hint of coffee to the recipe to emphasize the rich notes of chocolate. As for the coconut pecan frosting, roasting the pecans in a 350-degree for 8 to 10 minutes will further bring out its flavor.

Recipe for German Chocolate Cake and Coconut Pecan Frosting (adapted from Joy of Baking and My Home Cooking)

Ingredients for German Chocolate Cake:

  • 4 oz. of Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (not boiling)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, melt combine the chocolate and hot coffee. Stir until the chocolate is melted and completely dissolved. Set aside an cool completely.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the egg yolks until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Slowly add the chocolate and coffee mixture and vanilla until they are mixed well with the batter.
  4. Sift the cake flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
  5. Alternately mix the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the batter until the batter is smooth.
  6. Beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Working quickly, gently fold in egg whites into the batter. Folding them in, instead of stirring or beating, will make the cake light and airy.
  7. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment or wax paper then divide the batter equally into the three pans.
  8. Bake from 30 to 40 minutes. Avoid opening the oven before 30 minutes to prevent the cake from sinking in the middle.
  9. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before flipping it onto a cooling rack.
Ingredients for Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • 1 ¼ cups of roasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ vanilla or vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens and begins to boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the coconut flakes, pecans, and vanilla extract. Let cool until firm but spreadable.
To assemble:
  1. Let the cakes and frosting completely cool. Divide the frosting into thirds.
  2. Place one layer of the chocolate cake onto a plate and cover the top with frosting.
  3. Place another layer of cake on top. Repeat two more times until the topmost layer is covered with frosting. Leave the sides bare, garnish with more pecans and coconut flakes. Enjoy!


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