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German Chocolate Cake

The Alluring Aroma of Tradition: Baking a Classic German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake is a beloved dessert that tantalizes the taste buds with its rich chocolate flavor, decadent coconut-pecan filling, and fluffy cake layers. This recipe unlocks the secrets to baking this impressive cake at home, even for novice bakers.


  • For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
    • Cooking spray – for greasing the cake pans and preventing sticking
    • 4 ounces sweet baking chocolate – the base for the chocolate flavor
    • ½ cup water – to melt the chocolate
    • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour – or 2 ½ cups cake flour for an even lighter crumb (see tip below)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda – for leavening
    • 1 teaspoon salt – to enhance the flavors
    • 2 cups granulated sugar – for sweetness
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened – ensures a moist and tender crumb
    • 4 large eggs, separated – the yolks for richness, the whites for lift
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – a touch of warm vanilla complements the chocolate beautifully
    • 1 cup milk – adds moisture to the batter
  • For the Coconut-Pecan Filling:
    • 3 egg yolks – adds richness and helps bind the filling
    • 1 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar – for sweetness, brown sugar adds a deeper molasses flavor
    • ½ cup unsalted butter – adds richness and creaminess
    • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk – creates a smooth and creamy filling base
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – complements the other flavors
    • 1 ⅓ cups flaked coconut – a key ingredient in German chocolate cake
    • 1 cup chopped pecans – adds a delightful textural contrast


  1. Preparing for Baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Cut three 8-inch or two 9-inch rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. This helps with easy removal of the cakes later.
  2. Melting the Chocolate: In a medium saucepan, coarsely chop the chocolate. Heat the chopped chocolate and water over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set the melted chocolate aside to cool slightly.
  3. Dry Ingredients for the Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. This combines the dry ingredients for the cake batter.
  4. Creaming the Butter and Sugar: In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This step incorporates air into the batter, resulting in a lighter cake.
  5. Adding the Eggs: Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. This adds richness and helps bind the batter ingredients together.
  6. Flavorful Additions: On low speed, whisk in the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract. This incorporates the chocolate flavor and warmth of vanilla.
  7. Alternating Wet and Dry Ingredients: In three batches, alternately whisk half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then half of the milk. Mix until just combined after each addition. This ensures even distribution of ingredients without overmixing.
  8. Beating the Egg Whites: Wash and dry the beaters of your electric mixer. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. This creates air bubbles that help the cake rise.
  9. Folding in the Egg Whites: Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula. Use a folding motion to incorporate the air without deflating the batter.
  10. Baking the Cake Layers: Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes for 8-inch pans, or 30-35 minutes for 9-inch pans. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when the cakes are done.
  11. Cooling the Cakes: Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cooling the cakes completely is essential before assembling the cake.
  12. Making the Coconut-Pecan Filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. This creates a rich and creamy filling base