German Chocolate Cake

I have long associated German Chocolate Cake with Father’s Day, although I’m not entirely sure why. I think I remember my mom making it for my dad once or twice growing up (although never on Father’s Day, ironically) and the correlation must have stuck somewhere along the way. Although I don’t have a distinct memory to tie the two together, German Chocolate Cake just seems like a “man’s man” cake, doesn’t it? So many chocolate layers with a sugary pecan-coconut filling in between and then iced in more chocolate… it’s certainly not a cake for the faint of heart! With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I’m sure this cake could make many men in your life happy!

Up until recently, I thought that this cake actually originated in Germany, hence the name. Turns out, it’s as American as the Big Mac. Who knew?! Way back in 1852, Sam German developed a brand of dark chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company and the resulting product, Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him. Then, in the late 1950′s, the original recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake”, which used the baking chocolate, was submitted by a homemaker to a local newspaper. It became insanely popular, so much so, that the company that owned Baker’s Chocolate noticed and distributed the recipe to other newspapers across the country. Reportedly, sales of the chocolate increased 73% , and the cake became famous. Here’s hoping that homemaker from Dallas who came up with the recipe got a little piece of the action!

This recipe was actually my second go at German Chocolate Cake recently, and I’m pretty confident it will be my last. I first turned to my usual trusted source for classic recipes when I set about making the cake, but ended up being surprisingly disappointed. The cake layers were wispy thin and the chocolate flavor was severely lacking. I started my search over and when I came across this recipe I thought it looked extremely promising. It was described as a “big, tall” cake with four layers brushed with a rum syrup, lots of filling and iced with a fantastic chocolate ganache. This cake delivered and then some.

You can’t taste the rum in the syrup, but it accents the chocolate flavor and keeps the cake nice and moist. The filling is studded with toasted pecans and toasted coconut; the toasting takes mere minutes but adds so much in terms of flavor and texture. Finally, the icing isn’t overpowering, but a perfect complement and finishing touch to the cake – you don’t want to skip it!

Are you making anything special for Father’s Day on Sunday?

One year ago: Creamy, Lighter Macaroni Salad
Two years ago: Oven-Fried Onion Rings, Take II
Three years ago: Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo

German Chocolate Cake

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup + ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the Rum Syrup:
2/3 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dark rum

For the Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. Melt the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Use either a double-boiler or microwave on 50% for 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Stir until smooth, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1¼ cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the melted chocolate until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, mixing until combined, and then add the remainder of the flour mixture.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the ¼ cup of sugar and beat until they form stiff, glossy peaks.

6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

7. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers completely (leave them in the pans). While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup and icing.

8. Make the Filling: Stir together the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, salt, pecans and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170 degrees F.). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

9. Make the Rum Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Set aside until ready to use.

10. Make the Chocolate Icing: Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

11. Once the filling and icing are both cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour.

12. Assemble the Cake: Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally using a sharp serrated knife, so you have four cake layers. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush the top of the cake layer with the rum syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, brushing the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

(Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)

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155 Responses to “German Chocolate Cake”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Mary @ Bake Break on June 14, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Thanks for the history lesson – I had no idea! Also, German chocolate cake is one of my FAVORITES and this one looks fantastic!!

    Reply

  2. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 14, 2012 at 1:44 am

    This looks heavenly…the rum syrup just makes it perfect. I can’t believe German chocolate cake is not German! :)

    Reply

  3. Candy on June 14, 2012 at 2:17 am

    This cake looks so delicious! Here Father’s Day was three months ago, but I’ll keep the recipe for next year.

    Reply

  4. KitchenMason on June 14, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I have never tried this cake before but it looks divine!

    Reply

  5. Villy @ For the love of Feeding on June 14, 2012 at 3:15 am

    *Gasp*. It looks perfect!

    Reply

  6. IdaBaker on June 14, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I love learning the origins of food, and when it’s cake, it’s even better.

    Please save me a slice. :)

    Reply

  7. Kathryn on June 14, 2012 at 4:54 am

    This cake looks just fabulous!

    Reply

  8. Sharon Peek on June 14, 2012 at 7:05 am

    My mother took orders for several varieties of cakes to supplement the family income when I was young. This was the most requested cake. The cake she made was moist and delicious but differed in that the icing was used all over the cake and in between the 4 layers. The icing utilized evaporated milk instead of whip cream. The evaporated milk gave a distinctive take to the frosting. I am anxious to try your adaption to see the difference. Your cake looks amazing.

    Reply

  9. Katrina on June 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Sweet goodness, YES! This sounds so awesome and looks just as lovely.

    Reply

  10. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on June 14, 2012 at 7:07 am

    If a layered chocolate on top of chocolate cake is my all time favorite dessert (birthday worthy) does that make me manly? This recipe looks great and I loved reading about the history of the cake! Trivia like that always fascinates me.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 14th, 2012 at 10:36 am

      I always say that I feel like I have more of a “meat and potatoes”, “manly” food preferences than lighter, “girlier” fare. I don’t see anything wrong with that ;-)

      Reply

  11. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on June 14, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I have been looking for a good german chocolate cake recipe, and this looks like a winner!

    Reply

  12. Jeri Barry on June 14, 2012 at 7:25 am

    This cake is beautiful. Your photography is incredible as well. My dad is in the hospital with a collapsed lung…we are hoping to have him home for Father’s Day. I will definitely surprise him with this cake…it should be especially delicious after eating hospital food!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 14th, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Hi Jeri, I hope your dad is home soon and recovers quickly!

      Reply

  13. Jennifer on June 14, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I’ve made this cake a few times because people at work have requested it as their favorite cake. I’d never even had it before until I started working at the publishing house (where they request this cake). It’s a good cake! I love the historical info you added to the post today. Fun stuff!

    Reply

  14. Brittany @ Brittany Cooks on June 14, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I had no idea German chocolate cake wasn’t a German recipe! Thanks for the recipe. :)

    Reply

  15. Lori on June 14, 2012 at 7:48 am

    This cake looks amazing. You are really talented. It’s too bad my sons are allergic to nuts :( It cuts down on my choices.

    Reply

    • Diane on March 13th, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      You can probably omit the nuts. I think it would taste just as good with all coconut!!

      Reply

  16. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on June 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

    This looks delicious! My dad has been asking me to make this for some time, so this is definitely what I’m making for Father’s day.

    Reply

  17. Jen on June 14, 2012 at 7:58 am

    German chocolate cake is my husband’s favorite cake, and I have made it for his birthday (in July) for the past 4 years. I have always just used the recipe off the back of the box of German chocolate, which is what my mother always used, and it is good, but I can’t say it’s “great” (it’s hard for me to call this cake great anyway, since I do not like coconut and am mildly allergic to pecans.) My husband has raved about a childhood friend’s mother who made a German chocolate cake that was to die for when he was a kid — here’s hoping this recipe can live up to it!

    Reply

    • Wolfgang on June 15th, 2012 at 2:32 am

      Dear Jen,
      no fear ,dear Jen, I’m an “origin” german man (now aged over 60) living in Cologne and I love the “origin german chocolate” cake since my youth and I can say you: The real “origin” ones are NOT made with nuts like walnut, hazelnut or coconut! They are called in germany like they are: Just “Nut Cakes”! So you must not have fear about any kinds of health or special illnesss of that.
      So you can like and eat it much more.
      Many greetings from the Rhine River and from me
      Sincerely Yours
      Wolfgang

      Reply

      • Mia on June 16th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        Ahhh, thank you for that response! I´m also German and I was wondering why there should be coconut and pecans in a german cake, because both don´t grow in these parts. :)

        Reply

  18. Emily @Sweet Bella Roos on June 14, 2012 at 8:24 am

    When I saw the top picture in my feed I thought, hmm that looks good. When I saw the first slice i thought, ok now I have to have this. Looks sooo yummy and I’m not even a huge fan of German Chocolate Cake!

    Reply

  19. Terri on June 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Your cake looks lovely. I have never been a fan of this cake since I don’t like coconut. Or maybe it is just that when I was a kid and saw this kind of cake at a local bakery and heard it was German Chocolate Cake I thought the light brown stuff was sauerkraut!!

    Reply

  20. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on June 14, 2012 at 10:07 am

    This would make me and my dad happy! :) Delicious!

    Reply

  21. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven on June 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    GORGEOUS!!!! And love the story behind the cake!!

    Reply

  22. Heather on June 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

    This is my Dad’s favorite birthday cake. I tried making one for him one time from scratch. It tasted wonderful but it’s appearance left something to be desired! It pretty much collapsed. If I remember correctly I tried icing it too soon out of the oven. I have since learned patience, lol!

    Reply

  23. Barbara on June 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for the history! This is one of my favorite cakes and I look forward to making it…I hope it turns out as pretty as your!

    Reply

  24. Chandra@the plaid and paisley kitchen on June 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I always sthought the cake came from Germany also! Thanks for sharing! And this recipe looks amazing!!!! Beautiful photos as always!

    Reply

  25. megan @ whatmegansmaking on June 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    wow does this look good! I always thought this cake was from Germany too, and I minored in German in college!

    Reply

  26. Ally on June 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Incredible recipe… stunning presentation!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

    Reply

  27. Riley on June 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I’ll be making beignets and some yummy vanilla ice cream for Father’s Day. But I get the feeling that I’ll be dreaming of this cake on Sunday!

    Reply

  28. Julie on June 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I don’t cook/bake with alcohol – do you think just doing the simple syrup bit of the run syrup would work?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 14th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Julie, You can definitely omit the rum and do a regular simple syrup, that would work just fine.

      Reply

      • Diane on March 13th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

        They make rum flavored extract too that would probably work

        Reply

  29. Courtney @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. on June 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    So excited for this! Though German Chocolate isn’t my favorite, it seems to be the fav of many friends and family. I can’t wait to ditch the box mix and try the real thing!

    Reply

  30. Chelsea on June 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I made this cake for Mothers Day this year and it was SO amazing! I don’t even really like German chocolate cake but I couldn’t get enough of it!

    Reply

  31. CulinarilyCourtney on June 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Well, if this is a man cake, then I guess I must be a man! I would eat this in a heartbeat if someone were to set it down before me. This cake looks absolutely stunning.

    Reply

  32. Rebecca on June 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I made this cake for a friend’s birthday in January without the syrup and I agree the recipe is a keeper.

    Reply

  33. Shelby N. on June 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I used to waitress in a restraint that had the most fantastic German Chocolate cake EVER. This looks and sounds like it will be really close to that one. Your cake looks do good… I can taste it now! I will be making this VERY soon. My FIL loves German Cocolate so that’s a pretty good excuse. I wonder if he would mind if I only gave him half a cake…. Lol

    Reply

  34. DB-The Foodie Stuntman on June 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Fascinating history lesson. Cake looks good too.

    Reply

  35. Pennie D on June 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    German cake not native to Germany! Wow. Who knew. My dad and brother both love German choc. cake. And this one looks great. Also great tip on keeping the cake moist, mine dry out so bad. Am going to give this one a try and see how father likes it on his day. Thanks.

    Reply

  36. Madeleine @ teeniebaker on June 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    This looks fabulous! I love German Chocolate Cake – heck, I like anything that involves chocolate and cake!

    Reply

  37. Peggy on June 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’ve always wondered how German Chocolate Cake came about! Thanks for the lesson =) Your final result looks absolutely stunning!

    Reply

  38. Steph@stephsbitebybite on June 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Tall and chocolatey! Just how I like it!

    Reply

  39. Ashlee on June 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    OMG my dad is goin to love this when I make it for fathers day! Beautiful photo

    Reply

  40. Shirley@bells-bakery on June 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    This looks sooooo good,wish I was eating a big ol’ chunk right this minute :)

    Reply

  41. Kristy on June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    This looks so good, German chocolate cake is delicious!

    Reply

  42. Mi Vida en un Dulce on June 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    So, a German Cake maybe named by the same person who made French Fries…it curious how people named food.
    Hope I have time to make some Lemon Pie cupcakes, but now I’m dealing with a tons of cookies. Anyway, now I’m not sure if I want to make cupcakes or this terrific cake.

    Reply

  43. Kelly on June 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Hi again :) As I’ve said before our family doesn’t take in alcohol at all , so maybe would you have any substitution ideas for the rum in the rum syrup ?

    Reply

  44. Nicki on June 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much for the history lesson! When I visit the US, people never believe me when I say that we don’t even know stuff like German chocolate cake or German pancakes (not the way they are made in the US, anyway)! Now I can at least tell them why a German choc cake is called a German choc cake!
    And it looks delicious, too, I might just have to try it!

    Reply

  45. Kelly on June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    This cake looks absolutely stunning!!

    Reply

  46. Kate on June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    This was always the cake I requested for my birthday! Haven’t had any in a very long time…of course, not, I stopped having birthdays! I will have to give this a try. Looks amazing.

    Reply

  47. bergamot on June 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Wow the cake is just perfect and looks really scrumptious.

    Reply

  48. Tor on June 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    This looks so, so good. The sliced shots have me at my knees, it looks glossy and dense and amazing!

    Reply

  49. brandi on June 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    this is my husband’s favorite cake -ever. it looks perfect!

    Reply

  50. Tracy on June 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    What a gorgeous cake!!

    Reply

  51. Jacqui D on June 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    The cake looks perfect, too bad my hubby doesn’t like pecan. So I will bake red velvet cake on father’s day.

    Reply

  52. Cathy on June 17, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Hey, I’ve been making German chocolate cake forever, so I thought I’d shake it up. My mother complained straight away, “What’s wrong with the old recipe.” I told her to be open to new ideas. I hate to be the spoil sport, but so far this recipe is not working for me. The frosting is pretty sweet. The cakes are cooling, but I fear I’ll need to get the ingredients for the old frosting, I’m hoping the cake is good, the batter was great. I think I’m goinge to have to stick to the Baker’s recipe. Thanks, it was a good try.

    Reply

    • Michele on June 22nd, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      So what is your inal verdict after eating it?

      Reply

  53. Ana on June 17, 2012 at 2:18 am

    German chocolate is my dad’s favorite cake, and this is almost the same recipe I use. (I use maple extract instead of rum for the syrup.) I usually try to make this cake for Father’s Day, but . . . I know this is selfish, but because I end up eating so much of the cake, I made a simple cherry pie. :)

    God bless you today, and tomorrow. :)

    Reply

  54. Debra Kapellakis on June 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    My Mom made this for us over and over and over when we were kids. lol I always thought she got the recipe from the German lady who lived up the road. lol

    Reply

  55. Dessert Photoblog on June 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

    This German Chocolate Cake looks amazing. German Chocolate Cakes were always my grandpa’s favorite. I have had my partner make one a few times but they lever looked like this. AMAZING!!

    Reply

  56. Kathleen on June 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I just made this cake tonight for my son’s birthday and it was a huge hit! I was expecting it to be a lot heavier than it was, so it was a nice surprise after a big meal that we could actually eat a whole slice of cake, too. I’m glad the frosting was only on the sides because it would have been too sweet and rich all over. My cake baked in 30 minutes (may have been due to the dark pans) so keep an eye on it if you make it. Thanks!

    Reply

  57. polly Gaity on June 30, 2012 at 12:05 am

    German Chocolate Cake! so nice Presentation. Size, Color and presentation style all are so nice. Many Thanks for such type of nice post.

    Reply

  58. Scott on July 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I found this recipe and my mother-in-law and wife made it for me for my birthday. It was incredible! Thanks so much for posting it! Seriously the best german chocolate cake we all had eaten!

    Reply

  59. Jen on July 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Well, my husband’s birthday is coming up soon and I would like to make this cake for him. As we are hosting a party in the afternoon and I will be cooking a lot of food, I would like to get as much of the prep done ahead of time as possible. Can I bake the cakes and then wrap them tightly the night before, without them getting too dried out? Should I brush them with the rum syrup before wrapping them, or just before assembling the cake? Can the filling and icing be made the night before, and kept in the fridge overnight? The recipe says they should be refrigerated for an hour, but I was worried they would get too thick if they are chilled overnight. I can’t wait to make this for him, he is going to love it. Thanks for any advice. :)

    Reply

  60. Sarah on July 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I just made it with baby changes… I used 5 8″ layers instead of slicing the 2 9″ layers… I can’t cut anything level to save my life. The final layer was topped with the ganache and not with the filling, so it could have looked prettier but that’s life.
    The components are all delicious, and the birthday girl was pleased, but the cake wouldn’t stay together and the ganache never really set up. The top 2 layers cracked on the car ride over!
    Any idea on how to fix that?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Sarah, Can you cover the cracks with filling or frosting? If not, you could cut it up and make a trifle. Or, if you’re comfortable with the people, just tell them the cake cracked but it still tastes delicious :)

      Reply

    • Shirah on August 23rd, 2013 at 2:10 am

      Simple syrup followed by time in the freezer will make layers stronger. Anytime I have a layer that appears too crumbly or weak after cooling, I know it is simple syrup and freezer time. You can flavor the syrup to match your cake or just use it plain. I’ve even used simple syrup followed by a thin layer of melted chocolate if I want a fun texture in the middle of my cake. (NB: Simple syrup before freezing, then add the chocolate just before filling! The chocolate would sweat if it is going in/out of the freezer.) In THIS cake however, the crunch from a chocolate layer may be lost because the filling itself is crunchy.
      Take the layer(s) out of the freezer whenever you’re ready to work with them. And yes, work with them semi-frozen. Refrigerate the cake when done, and pull it out of the fridge for transport/serving. Should stay torgether!

      Reply

  61. Sarah Cox on September 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    My husband’s favorite cake is German chocolate, so for his birthday I gave this recipe a try. Needless to say the feedback was very positive! Thanks for the great birthday wish come true!

    Reply

  62. Una on September 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I just love your blog! Every single recipe that I’ve tried has been nothing short of spectacular! I really would love to make this for my family, but my kids can’t have corn syrup:( Can you suggest a substitute that won’t compromise the recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 25th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Una, Thank you! You could substitute brown rice syrup or agave nectar. If you need to, you can omit it although the icing will be a little thin.

      Reply

  63. Gina on October 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Hello,

    I may be late or someone may have asked this question, but how long do you toast the pecans and unsweented coconut? And if I can’t locate unsweented coconut in the store may I used the sweetened in this recipe? Thank you for your time and patience.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Gina, I toast both nuts and coconut on the stovetop so I can see them browning; I almost always burn them in the oven! I put them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toast, flipping and turning, until the coconut is evenly browned and until the nuts have started to brown and have a toasted aroma.

      Reply

  64. Anette on November 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I made this cake today and the taste is absolutely divine! The presentation could have been better but I will be putting this recipe to my baking staples book and will definitely try to make it more aesthetically pleasing next time! :)

    Reply

  65. Michelle Figueroa on December 14, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I don’t know just what went wrong! I was so excited to make this cake for my moms birthday tomorrow because its her favorite and she asked for it… I followed the recipe to the T. Everything tasted delicious but when after I cooled the cakes and took them out of the pan they crumbled to pieces… sigh…

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 14th, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Hi Michelle, I’m so sorry to hear you had trouble with the cake! I’ve had that happen with different recipes as well, although usually not when I’m lining the pan with parchment, which is curious. Some pans can be more temperamental than others. The next time you make something, I would grease the pan with vegetable shortening (Crisco), then give it a liberal coating of flour (tapping out any excess). That should keep your cakes from sticking to the pan in the future.

      Reply

  66. Kris on December 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I made this cake last weeks and it came out flat like a pancake, what did I do wrong? I really wanted it to look like the picture, lol.. :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 23rd, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Hi Kris, I’m sorry you had some problems with rising. I would make sure that your baking powder and baking soda aren’t expired, and that your oven temperature isn’t off.

      Reply

  67. Shari on December 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Te recipe looks delish. I want to make it for Christmas Eve. I’m wondering if I could make all the parts on Sunday and assemble it on Monday. What do you think?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 23rd, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Hi Shari, Yes I definitely think you could do that! Enjoy!

      Reply

  68. Annie on January 14, 2013 at 12:24 am

    This looks really good. Which decorating tip did you use?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 15th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Annie, Yikes, I used a large open star, but now can’t remember if it was a Wilton 22 or 1M. One of those two, for sure.

      Reply

  69. Gretchen on January 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Want to make this cake for DH for his birthday in a few days. It’s his absolute favorite, and I’ve never made one from scratch before. I simply can no longer stomach cake mixes. I can only find sweetened coconut (Grrrr!) Can I use the sweetened and perhaps use less sugar? Today is Saturday, and his birthday is Tuesday (Jan.22nd)

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 20th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Gretchen, You can use the sweetened coconut, but do not decrease the sugar.

      Reply

  70. Gretchen on January 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Oops! Also, I have Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, as well as a bag of Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips. Would those suffice for the chocolate or would that make this too rich? I’m so excited to making this cake for him from scratch!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 20th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Gretchen, You can use the Baker’s for the unsweetened chocolate in the recipe and the Ghiradelli chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate called for. Enjoy the cake, and happy birthday to your husband!

      Reply

      • Gretchen on January 20th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        Thank you so much! I’ll let you know how it comes out

        Reply

  71. Susan on January 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I made this cake from David Lebovitz’s website for my father-in-law’s birthday. It was so amazing…the kind of cake you would pay a lot of money for in a restaurant or bakery. If anyone wants to make something that says “I love you”, this is the cake to say that and more. Decadent and delicious. So worth the time and money that you put into it.

    Reply

  72. Mary Frances Cummings on February 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

    This cake is wonderful. I love making it with chocolate layers. I am making several for a friend and wanted them to look and taste perfect. What order are you putting the layers together. It looks so professional.

    Reply

  73. Christine on February 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I made this cake several times this past winter – it seemed to be a huge hit! I wanted to leave a comment thanking you for sharing and also, to give you a link to my blog post featuring your recipe: http://beyond-bakery.blogspot.com/2012/11/german-chocolate-cake-and-cupcakes_20.html

    Thanks so much! Your stuff is beautiful.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hi Christine, Thanks so much for sharing; thrilled that you’ve enjoyed the cake so much!

      Reply

  74. Robin on February 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I made this exactly as you wrote… IT WAS AMAZINGLY GOOD! Thank you for sharing it! It took me all day though, but worth it.

    Reply

  75. Cynthia on February 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I was just curious which brand of chocolate you used. I don’t make chocolate cakes all that often and I haven’t found my favorite chocolate to bake with yet.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 19th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Cynthia, I use Ghiradelli chocolate for most of my baking since it’s readily available to me in my local supermarket.

      Reply

  76. Jo on February 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    This is fabulous. I”m making this for my husband’s birthday Thursday!! I cannot wait to try it. Looks delish and thanks for sharing. Your photo is excellent!!

    Reply

  77. Elexia on March 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    This was my first time making a German Chocolate cake and it was a great success. My husband LOVED it! It’s his favorite and I made for him for his bday. The only thing I didn’t like was that my cakes didn’t rise like I wanted after spliting it between the two pans but I’ll just use twice the batter next time. I wasn’t able to make the four layers lol. They were thin enough to be their own layer lol. Might be operator error. LOL! I will definitely use this recipe again. Thanks BEB!!!

    Reply

  78. Laura on April 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    So excited to make this for my boyfriend’s birthday party Sunday night – German chocolate is his favorite! Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town Friday night through Sunday morning. Would you recommend putting the whole cake together Friday and then refrigerating it? Or just baking the cake layers and frosting Sunday afternoon? I’d appreciate any timing advice you’ve got! Thanks thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 3rd, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Hi Laura, I would make the cakes on Friday (be sure to cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap), and then assemble/frost on Sunday. Enjoy and happy birthday to your boyfriend!

      Reply

  79. Jennifer on April 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Made this yesterday because its my husbands fav and I don’t even like coconut shavings (it’s a texture thing) but I had a piece and its fabulous!! Went back for seconds the next day. Don’t want to over do it and all!! But wow.. Yum!!

    Reply

  80. Desiree on April 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Does the filling need to be refrigerated? Or can it be left out at room temperature. I am making cupcakes for a party, and they will have to sit out for several hours.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 17th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Desiree, They will be fine at room temperature.

      Reply

  81. Allison B on April 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Hands down, the BEST German Chocolate Cake recipe EVER. I followed it exactly as written and it was amazing. My VERY picky mother in law scarfed it down and asked to take some home. I made the components the night before and assembled it the next day. I wrapped the cake layers in plastic wrap and refrigerated the filling/frosting. The ONLY critique I have is that I didn’t have enough filling and had to make more after I started assembling the cake. I measured it out exactly, but still didn’t have enough for the top. Next time, I will double the filling AND the frosting – it was THAT good.

    Reply

  82. Tina on May 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    This cake was AMAZING! I made it for my husbands birthday and we couldn’t stop eating it. I will definitely make this again.

    Reply

  83. Sarah on June 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Hi! I made this cake for my birthday last week because it looked so beautiful. My mum and I both agreed that the recipe was flawless – not too complicated, and very easy to understand. We were both really impressed by how much our cake actually looked like the photos above – it was almost identical! Truly a fantastic recipe.I had featured u in the post of Here Are Seven New Ways To Make Romantic Chocolate Cakes For Fathers on AllFreshRecipes.Except ur more Eats!

    Reply

  84. cielo on July 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Is the unsweetened coconut same with dessicated coconut?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 9th, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Yes, you could use dessicated coconut.

      Reply

  85. Erin Lucio on July 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I just got through making this and everything looks phenomenal, however, my frosting is… Well, more like ganache. Which isn’t bad but I won’t be able to pipe a pretty border. I followed everything, any ideas how I could save the frosting? Thanks! :)

    Reply

    • Erin Lucio on July 9th, 2013 at 8:55 am

      After I slept on it and stopped panicking, I melted more chocolate and added it to the rest, re refrigerated it and that fixed it! Now I just have to try and not eat it before tonight.

      Reply

  86. Ellen Landers on July 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I made this cake last night to bring in to work. It was a HUGE hit… although, I did make it as cupcakes instead of a cake for ease of distributing amongst my coworkers. I did also whip the “icing” – which is more of a ganache, but is absolutely fabulous (and added a drop of coconut flavor, cause I just have to tweak stuff). Still, the moistest, lightest cake ever, not overpowering at all! Love the recipe!

    Reply

  87. Emily on July 24, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Just wondering if you have any tips on how to achieve flat, even cake layers so the cake doesn’t end up lop-sided when assembled. Also would you recommend freezing the cake layers for a few hours before icing? When putting the coconut filling in between the layers, would you recommend piping a dam of chocolate icing around the cake to prevent the filing from spilling out the sides?

    Reply

    • Emily on July 24th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Also, can I substitute cake flour for the all purpose flour? Would that give me a lighter cake?

      Reply

      • Michelle on July 25th, 2013 at 7:49 am

        Hi Emily, I would not recommend substituting the flour in the recipe.

        Reply

  88. Charissa on July 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I made this cake for my mother-in-laws birthday tomorrow and I’m SO looking forward to eating a slice tomorrow! The instructions were easy to follow along and worth taking the time to make!

    Reply

    • Charissa on July 31st, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Everybody LOVED this cake! // Once the flavors mixed for a couple of days, the tastier the cake became!

      Reply

  89. Lauren on August 11, 2013 at 12:40 am

    This is my first time make this kind of cake, and it was one of the best cakes that I have ever had. It did take a long time to make it but so worth it. Thanks you for the amazing recipe.

    Reply

  90. Erin on August 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I am just wondering if in the first step with the chocolate, do you actually mix the water with the chocolate or is that the water used in the double boiling. I am just curious because I have always been taught to NEVER incorporate water with chocolate because it will seize.

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Hi Erin, You mix the chocolate with the water. I know, it’s counter-intuitive, but it works!

      Reply

      • Jason on March 24th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        If that’s the case, would it be possible to use chocolate that has already seized? I happen to have some I was saving (e.g. for a ganache) but am wondering if I can use this instead.

        Reply

        • Michelle on March 24th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

          Hi Jason, I think you probably could. If you do, let me know how it goes!

          Reply

  91. morri on August 29, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Awesome recipe! I made this for my brother-in-law’s name-day party (to tell the truth, I’ve been looking for excuses to make this impressive cake for months!). And because he’s not too fond of coconut, I substituted 1 cup of almond flakes. After refrigerating the nut mixture got very thick and it was really difficult to spread evenly. I didn’t have any filling left to put on top, so I topped the cake with the chocolate icing and used the leftovers to pipe some roses. The cake looked and tasted wonderful – everybody commented on how good it was. My mother-in-law even said it was better than the cream pie they made, which was defiitely something :)

    Reply

  92. Krystal on September 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Michelle, My great Uncle loves German chocolate cake so much that i want to surprise him this weekend. He resides in the US but i live in Trinidad, so the ingredient buttermilk isnt at my disposal. do you think it will be a good idea to subsitute the butter milk with sour cream, as ia suppose the milk was for moisture. Help please! :)

    Reply

  93. Kim on September 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I have never made this cake before, but have, for the first time EVER, been asked for this flavor for a wedding cake! I will be trying your recipe out. Will let you know how it goes.

    Reply

    • Kim on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:35 am

      I made this cake last night and it tasted GREAT and I am not a fan of coconut. But toasting it makes a huge difference. The only trouble I had was with the decorative border on top. The icing was not stiff enough to pipe with without it looking sloppy. Any recommendations on making it a little stiffer?

      Reply

      • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:54 pm

        Hi Kim, You could refrigerate it for awhile to stiffen it up.

        Reply

        • Kim on October 12th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

          Last weekend I made a Wedding using this recipe! It turned out great and everyone loved it. I wish I could post a pic for you to see. It went over great and the groom, who requested the cake as his favorite said it was the best German Chocolate Cake he had ever had! Thanks soo much for posting it! Kim

          Reply

          • Michelle on October 13th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

            Hi Kim, I’m so happy to hear this! Thank you so much for sharing, I’m glad it was such a big hit :)

            Reply

  94. Donna on September 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    My husband requested a German Chocolate cake for his birthday this weekend and I decided to give your recipe a try. Rave reviews all around! The leftovers are in the fridge, and I’m doing my best to not eat them. Poor guy really should have a shot at the rest of his birthday cake. I made the cakes on Thursday and froze them, then made the rest of the cake on Saturday. It worked out very well. If I do that again though, I would first brush the layers with the rum syrup, then freeze, as others have suggested.

    This is now my go-to German Chocolate recipe! (By the way, I’m a fellow SW PA girl. :-) )

    Happy Baking!

    Reply

    • Nicole on January 4th, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      My hubby requested a German Chocolate Cake for his birthday too. I’m a creature of habit, so I did keep with the Baker’s German Chocolate — the cake recipes are extremely similar, so mine was a combination of both. But the rum syrup was certainly what separated the Bakers’ German Chocolate from yours! Wow! My husband, who comes from a family who owned a bar, generally complains he can taste the alcohol when I add any alcohol to his drinks/food. Not in this case was on his third slice, before I asked if he could taste the rum (lol). Not surprisingly, he asked me to make one for his office as a New Year’s desert. He said it was gone in less than an hour — crumbs and all.
      Thank you!

      Reply

  95. Lori on September 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I made this cake for an Oktoberfest party (yes, even though it’s not authentic German!) and everyone raved about it! The filling alone is unbelievable – I could eat an entire bowl of it! Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply

  96. Charlie W on November 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I just made this cake and followed the recipe to a tee. I have to say that this is definitely the BEST German chocolate cake I have ever had anywhere. There was a lot of work involved, but it was well worth it. This will be my go-to recipe from now on!

    Reply

  97. Lulu on November 28, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Can you tell an alternative to unsweetened chocolate because i couldn’t find it anywhere :( ? and what kind of simple syrup (no alcohol) i can use instead of rum ?

    Thank u :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 30th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Lulu, You can simply omit the rum. For unsweetened chocolate – they carry this in even the smallest of grocery stores. Look for the brand Baker’s Chocolate – it is unsweetened.

      Reply

  98. Heidi Cruz on December 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

    hey Michelle–
    I was wondering if theres an alternative for the rum . i know in the previous post you said to omit it, but i dont want to leave the icing plain, i want to add a flavour.

    Thanks11

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 29th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Heidi, The icing is actually chocolate, so you won’t be missing any flavor. For the syrup, you really don’t need to have anything else; it’s purpose is to keep the cake moist.

      Reply

  99. Eve on January 21, 2014 at 8:12 am

    This was delicious! I’m a new baker, so I only made 2 layers instead of 4 and didn’t use the syrup. I want to practice slicing layers on something that takes a little less time than this! My husband took one bite and said, “Oh my GOD!”

    Reply

  100. Aisha on January 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I was wondering which chocolate did you use bittersweet or semisweet? For the cake you used semisweet and unsweetened, what about the icing? Do you grease your pans with butter or you spray them?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 27th, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Hi Aisha, I used Ghiradelli chocolate for all of the chocolates in this cake. I greased the cake pans with vegetable shortening.

      Reply

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