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Easy German Chocolate Cake with Frosting Recipe

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

This easy German Chocolate Cake recipe features a tender cocoa cake layered with a thick and fudgy coconut and pecan frosting and can be made in just over an hour! No mixer required.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, german
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Recipe by Tessa Arias


For the cake:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder*
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 (222 grams) cups all-purpose flour, measured correctly
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (227 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups (120 grams) shredded sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped pecans


Make the cake:

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds. Butter and flour the pans generously.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared pans and tap against the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Add the milk, cornstarch, and sugar, whisking to combine. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture has thickened and comes to a boil, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans. Let cool until spreadable, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can also refrigerate the frosting to firm up even more.
  2. Place one cake layer, flat side up and spread 1/2 of the filling evenly over, pushing just to the edge. Add the top layer, rounded side up, and spread with the remaining filling. Serve or store in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

*Note: If you don’t have espresso powder, you can use 1 cup hot coffee in place of the powder + boiling water. This recipe uses vegetable oil, make sure it’s fresh and doesn’t have an off smell before using.