German chocolate cake recipe, a delightful and indulgent dessert, has become a beloved classic in the world of baking.
German chocolate cake, with its decadent layers of moist chocolate cake and luscious coconut pecan frosting, is a beloved dessert that has won the hearts of cake enthusiasts worldwide.
Despite its name, this delectable treat does not actually originate from Germany. Instead, it owes its name to Samuel German, an American chocolatier who developed a unique type of dark-baking chocolate in the mid-19th century.
Since then, German chocolate cake has become an iconic dessert, synonymous with indulgence and celebration. In this article, we will explore its traditional preparation, and provide insights into creating this classic dessert in your own kitchen. Get ready to embark on a delightful journey through the history and flavours of German chocolate cake.
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German Chocolate Cake Recipe from Scratch
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup oil (vegetable or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
For the Coconut Frosting:
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
For the German Chocolate Cake Frosting:
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 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.
Instructions for German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a 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 (the batter will be very thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
- 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 the centre comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the German Chocolate Cake Recipe Frosting:
- In a medium saucepan add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk. Mix and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Allow to cool completely before layering it on the cake.
For Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
Whisk together the sugar and egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 120° to 130°, or until the egg whites are foamy and there are no sugar granules in the mix when rubbed together with your fingers.
- Carefully place the bowl onto a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the butter, one cube at a time, beating until combined after each addition. (If the buttercream breaks, beat for 2 to 3 minutes, and it’ll come right back together!) Beat in the vanilla and salt. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in the cocoa powder until fully combined.
German Chocolate Cake Recipe Assembly:
- Place one of the cake rounds on your serving stand or plate.
- 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 ½ inch between the filling and the edge of the cake.
- Stack the second cake round on top. Smooth chocolate frosting over the entire cake.
- Spoon the remaining coconut frosting on top of the cake.
German Chocolate Cake Recipe
German Chocolate Cake Recipe Ingredients
- Cooking spray
- 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) softened unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 ½ cups pecan halves, divided
- 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 28 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (2 cans)
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 10 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (3 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions for Making German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
- Set a heatproof bowl in a saucepan over simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Add chopped chocolate and melt, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a microwave using medium power. Let cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating between additions. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer to low speed; beat in buttermilk and flour mixture in three alternating batches, ending with flour mixture. Fold in melted chocolate until incorporated.
- Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cake until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer cake pans to a cooling rack for about 25 minutes, then remove cakes from pans, peel off the parchment paper,
- Toast pecan halves in 350°F oven until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop toasted pecans. In a large saucepan over moderately low heat, combine butter, condensed milk, and brown sugar; cook, whisking frequently, until the butter has melted, sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is smooth about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and slowly whisk egg yolks into the sugar mixture. Return pot to heat and cook over low heat, whisking constantly (switching to a heat-proof rubber spatula as needed) until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 8 minutes. Transfer frosting to a large bowl and stir in 3 cups of the pecans and the coconut, vanilla, and salt; let cool completely, for 1 hour.
- Spread half of the frosting evenly over one cake using a spoon or offset spatula. Top with the second cake layer and spread the remaining frosting on top. Garnish with the remaining pecans.
Easy German Chocolate Recipe with Almond Frosting
Ingredients for the Cake
- 1 15.25-ounce package of German chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
German Chocolate Cake Recipe with Coconut-Almond Frosting
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 7 oz. package of sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed for one minute until combined. Beat at medium speed for two minutes more.
- Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round pans. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and remove from pans. I like to line my round cake pans with parchment paper before adding batter for easy removal from the pan.
- You can also bake the cake in a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake for 38–42 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Coconut-Almond Frosting Instructions
- Combine butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and eggs in a saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 12 minutes or until thickened.
- Add vanilla, coconut, and almonds. Cool to room temperature before frosting the cake.
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Frosting for German Chocolate Cake Recipe
Coconut Pecan Frosting
Ingredients for Coconut Pecan Frosting
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten the frosting.
- Evaporated milk: Be sure to use evaporated milk in this frosting and not sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is much thicker and sweeter and won’t work well in this recipe.
- Egg yolks: You can save egg whites to make an omelette in the morning or another recipe.
- Unsalted butter: Because the frosting will be cooked on the stove, there’s no need to soften the butter to room temperature beforehand.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla is preferred.
- Sweetened shredded coconut: Be sure to buy a sweetened shredded coconut and not plain coconut flakes. It should be located in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
- Chopped pecans: Buy pre-chopped raw pecans, or buy raw pecan halves and chop them up yourself.
- 2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 (12 oz.) can evaporate milk
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cups butter
- 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 – 2 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, constantly stirring, for 12 to 14 minutes or until the mixture becomes a light caramel colour, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like thickness.
- Remove pan from heat; stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until cooled and spreading consistency.
Tips for making perfect German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Measure ingredients accurately
Baking is a science, so be sure to measure your ingredients accurately using measuring cups and spoons or a kitchen scale. Even small variations can affect the texture and taste of the cake.
- Prepare ingredients at room temperature
Before you begin baking, make sure your butter, eggs, and other dairy ingredients are at room temperature. This helps them blend together smoothly and evenly.
- Don’t overmix the batter
Over-mixing can lead to a dense and tough cake. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined, and then stop. This will ensure a tender and light texture.
- Grease and flour your cake pans properly
To prevent the cake from sticking to the pans, grease them with butter or cooking spray and lightly dust them with flour. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper to line the bottoms of the pans.
- Check for doneness
To avoid over or undertaking, use a toothpick or cake tester to check if the cake is done. Insert it into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it, the cake is ready.
- Cool the cakes properly
After removing the cakes from the oven, let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. This allows the cakes to be set and prevents them from breaking apart.
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In conclusion, baking a perfect German cake requires attention to detail, quality ingredients, and a little bit of practice. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delectable German cake that will impress your family and friends.
From the rich flavours of the chocolate cake to the luscious coconut pecan frosting, German cakes are a true delight for the taste buds. Understanding the traditions and techniques behind these cakes will help you appreciate their history and cultural significance.
Whether you’re baking a traditional German Chocolate Cake or exploring other variations, such as Black Forest Cake or Bee Sting Cake, the key lies in the careful selection and preparation of ingredients, proper mixing, precise baking, and skillful decoration.
So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and embark on a culinary adventure as you master the art of baking the perfect German cake. Let the aroma fill your kitchen, and the taste transport you to the heart of Germany. Enjoy the process, savour the results, and share the joy of German cake with your loved ones. Prost!