The BEST homemade German Chocolate Cake with layers of coconut pecan frosting and chocolate frosting. This cake is incredible!
A large slice of German chocolate cake laying sideways on a white plate.
Growing up there were seven people in my family, and almost every single one of us would ask for this German Chocolate Cake for our birthday.
I was super lucky, being a twin, because my mom would make both of my favorites! German chocolate cake for my sister, and carrot cake for me! What better than a little sliver of each for your birthday?

My mom always made it inside-out, with the coconut frosting in between the layers and on top of the cake, and homemade chocolate frosting covering the outside.

A beautiful German Chocolate cake sitting on a cake platter with chocolate icing piped around the upper edge and topped with caramel nut filling.
The name German chocolate cake is a little deceiving as it is not actually a German dessert and traditionally the cake is a lighter colored cake with a mild chocolate taste and the entire cake is usually covered in coconut pecan frosting.  My families version is a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting covering the cake and coconut frosting on top and in the center of the cake. This cake seriously can’t be beat, especially if you’re a chocolate lover!

A large german chocolate cake with one large slice missing from the front.


Run hot water over the eggs to bring them to room temperature. Stick the buttermilk in the microwave for just a few seconds. It really makes a difference!


I like to make the cake, coconut frosting and chocolate frosting at least one day in advance. That way, the cake is really easy to throw together.

I make the cake in 8” or 9” rounds, bake it and let it cool completely. Then I wrap it really well in plastic wrap and stick each layer in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. Frozen cakes are very easy to frost!

Both frostings (coconut and chocolate) can be made ahead and placed in a covered container in the fridge. Remove them from the fridge about an hour or so before you’re ready to frost your cake. This will allow them to come to room temperature and they will be easier to frost.


I used a wilton 2D tip for the swirls on top of this cake. SO EASY. I also love the Wilton 1M tip. I use both tips with an Ateco flex 14” reusable piping bag. Those three items right there are my favorites for cake and cupcake decorating.


I have found that German Chocolate cake tastes best when it is stored in the fridge.

You could make this cake with a box-mix, but the homemade version is AMAZING and seriously easy to make. But you know me… everything tastes better from scratch.

I hope you enjoy this delicious cake!




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4.83 from 107 votes
Homemade German Chocolate Cake is one of my favorite cakes of all time! Coconut pecan frosting, and chocolate frosting smoothed over a yummy and easy homemade chocolate cake. |
German Chocolate Cake
Print Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

The BEST homemade German Chocolate Cake with layers of coconut pecan frosting and chocolate frosting. This cake is incredible!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake recipe, german chocolate cake, german chocolate cake frosting
Unit: cup, large, Tablespoon, teaspoon
Calories591 kcal
AuthorLauren Allen
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
For the Coconut Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans. I like to cut a round piece of wax or parchment paper for the bottom of the pan also, to make sure the cake comes out easily.
For the Cake:
  1. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

  2. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes (depending on your cake pan size. The 9” pan takes less time to bake) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with few crumbs. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

For the coconut frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts and coconut. Allow to cool completely before layering it on the cake.

For the Chocolate Frosting:
  1. Melt butter. Stir in cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed to thin the frosting, or a little extra powder, until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in vanilla.
Cake Assembly:
  1. Place one of the cake rounds on your serving stand or plate.

  2. Smooth a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the cake layer, and then spoon half of the coconut frosting on top, spreading it into a smooth layer. Leave about 1/2 inch between the filling and edge of cake.

  3. Stack the second cake round on top. Smooth chocolate frosting over the entire cake.

  4. Spoon remaining coconut frosting on top of the cake.


Recipe Notes

Tips for making in advance and decorating are listed above in the post!

*If baking at high altitude add 3 tablespoons extra flour.

If you love to bake, try my Coconut Cake with Pineapple filling!

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