Did you know know that German chocolate cake isn't really from Germany? This dark chocolate cake with coconut pecan icing was founded by American baker Samuel German. Regardless of its origin, this delicious dessert is a favorite amongst chocolate lovers everywhere. If you want to make your own, follow this step-by-step tutorial.

slice of German chocolate cake



  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • Half of a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs, yolks only
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder to put on top of the finished cake (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next, grease two round cake pans. To ensure that the cake comes out with ease, place a piece of wax paper at the bottom of the pans.


  • Mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil in a separate bowl. Then, add both the dry and wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Place the mixture in the two cake pans -- be sure to distribute it as evenly as possible between the two pans so that they finish baking at the same time.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick or butter knife in the center of the cake to check if it is done baking. If the toothpick or butter knife comes out clean, then it's ready to come out of the oven. If there's residue on the knife, leave it for 3-5 more minutes, and check again.


  • In a medium sized pan add brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolks, butter, and evaporated milk and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and add vanilla, pecans, and shredded coconut. Allow the icing to cool completely before layering it onto the cake.
German chocolate cake

Putting It Together:

  • Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand.
  • Using a small rubber spatula, smooth on a layer of frosting on top.
  • Place the second cake round on top of the frosted layer and repeat the same steps.
  • Lastly, cover the edges of the cake with icing.

Tips for German Chocolate Cake:

No buttermilk? No problem. You can substitute buttermilk by combining 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes and viola buttermilk.

Store it in the fridge. You can enjoy German chocolate cake at whichever temperature you like, but it tastes great when it is chilled.

Use room temperature ingredients. Working with room temperature dairy products create an emulsion which traps air when baking. This results in a fluffy and airy cake. Mmm!

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