A whole German Chocolate Cake on a cake stand
German Chocolate Cake
3 Votes
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Prep: 45 min
Bake: 30 min
Yield: 1 (8-inch) 3 layer cake
This all-American favorite hails from Texas rather than Germany, because the original version of the recipe called for “German’s” brand baking chocolate. Moist chocolate cake is layered with delicious coconut-pecan filling and topped with creamy chocolate ganache frosting.
  • 2 cups sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee
  • 6 ounces (1 stick + 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 1//2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1 2/3 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
    Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Whisk together oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined. Add to flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add coffee and whisk until smooth and completely combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly in the 3 pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans.
  4. Make Filling: Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes), stir constantly. Remove thickened filling from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool completely before using.
  5. Assemble Cake: Set aside 1 cup of the filling for topping the frosted cake. Assemble cake layers, topping the first and second layers with the remaining filling. Cover and refrigerate while preparing frosting.
  6. Make Chocolate Ganache Frosting: Place chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe container and microwave at 10 second intervals until melted; whisk until smooth. Let cool until mixture reaches frosting consistency.
  7. Frost only the top of the cake, leaving the sides “naked” to reveal the layers. Place the reserved 1 cup of filling in the center of the top of the cake and use a small offset spatula to spread the filling to the edges of the top of the cake. Garnish with chopped pecans and toasted coconut; cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • pcw says:

    is it possible to add some melted semi-sweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa powder?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi PCW, You can replace some of the cocoa powder with semi-sweet chocolate. It’s recommended to use a 1 ounce piece of un-sweet or semi-sweet chocolate in place of 3 Tbsp. cocoa. Remember, the chocolate will have oil in it so you may want to omit 1 tablespoon from the oil listed in the ingredients. Happy baking!

  • Bonnie Houseknecht says:

    What is the best way to get a cake out of a Bundt pan thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Bonnie, Bundt pans can be a challenge. We recommend that you grease and flour or spray with baking spray very well to make sure you catch all sides of the flutes. Cool for 10 – 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Happy baking!

  • Patricia Coble says:

    My husband loves German chocolate cake, but does not like the taste of coffee. Can I omit the coffee from this recipe, and if yes, should more buttermilk or some other liquid replace the coffee?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Patricia, German Chocolate is an all American favorite! You can certainly substitute the 1/3 cup hot coffee with 1/3 cup hot water and have a delicious chocolate cake. Happy Baking!

  • Shelby says:

    Brutal honesty. This is not a good recipe for German chocolate cake. The ganache is bitter. I ended up putting it on the stove and adding sugar, but still. I won’t be making this again. It should not be a 3 layer.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Shelby, We are so sorry to hear that you are disappointed with the results of this recipe. Your comments were forwarded to The Kitchen for their review and your information was forward to our Customer Relations Department. Someone will be reaching out. Happy Baking!

  • Martina Jackson says:

    I need to know if everything is mixed by hand or can you use kitchenaid blender.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Martina, This recipe is written to hand mix the butter but you can certainly use a KitchenAid mixer. Please note that the German Chocolate Cake batter is on the thinner side, you will want to keep the mixer on the lowest speed and be careful to not overmix. Happy Baking!

  • Aj says:

    What kind of coffee would you recommended ? I’ve never succeeded in making a good chocolate cake. Also I use a keurig, is that ok?

  • Laura Mabry says:

    I like making Bundt cakes! I have been playing around with the baking time. Please include all baking times!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Laura, This is a delicious German Chocolate Cake recipe! It will make a lovely Bundt cake. When baking at 350℉ in a 10″ Bundt pan, bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. We will certainly pass your suggestion to add alternate pan baking times on to The Kitchen. Happy Baking!

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