This German Chocolate Cake is made with rich, chocolate cake layers, coconut pecan frosting and chocolate ganache for an impressive chocolate cake that will wow your chocolate lovers!
We’re smack dab in the middle of January and I’m here with a luscious German Chocolate Cake recipe 😉
But sometimes I struggle with getting back to routine after the holidays, and cake always helps. Especially if it’s chocolate!
I’m sharing tons of tips and tricks to make this your best German Chocolate Cake yet, including tips to make ahead and freeze, so be sure to skim through the post below to ensure success!
This German Chocolate Cake is made up of three different components, but sometimes only the first two are used. I like to add the chocolate ganache because it adds a bit more chocolate flavor and the drizzle is fun!
- Three layers of chocolate cake
- Cooked coconut pecan custard frosting — the trademark of the German Chocolate Cake, and not as hard to make as you might think!
- Chocolate ganache — just for a little extra chocolate! I like to pour it over the top cake layer before adding the rest of the frosting, because it makes fun drips and really makes it extra special.
There is just one difference between other types of chocolate and “German” chocolate, and that is that German chocolate is typically a bit sweeter.
Interestingly enough, German Chocolate Cake was actually developed by an American named Samuel German, and has nothing to do with Germany. He created the type of German chocolate that was traditionally used in the recipe.
Nowadays, most German Chocolate Cake recipes are made with whatever type of chocolate you have on hand. This means it’s easy to enjoy any time of the year! (And no need for fancy imported chocolate 😉 ).
This chocolate cake recipe is one I originally adapted from Hershey’s, and it’s one of my favorites!
It’s rich and chocolatey without being overly sweet, it’s incredibly moist and it’s the perfect complement to the sweet coconut pecan frosting.
German chocolate cake can be left at room temperature for several hours until you serve it, but any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for the best results.
How to refrigerate cake:
You can store this German Chocolate Cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
How to freeze cake:
It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months — I prefer to slice it and freeze the slices in a large airtight container, that way I can pull out a slice or two when the cravings hit!
If you know me at all, you know I love any recipe that can be made or prepped at least somewhat in advance.
Toddlers make life unpredictable, and I’m never guaranteed an hour or two when I really need it. With make ahead recipes, I can choose to make them when I don’t have a child hanging off my leg 😉
I prefer to make my frosting the day I’m assembling, but cake freezes perfectly, so I’ll often bake my cake layers a few weeks before I need them, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and they can be frozen up to 3 months.
The best part is you don’t have to thaw frozen cake to assemble! It is actually easier to frost when it’s frozen.
You can make the entire cake the day before you need it, and just store in the refrigerator. If you choose to frost the sides, you don’t even need to cover it, and the cake will actually slice more easily when chilled.
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- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour fluffed and levelled
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup hot coffee or water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 grams dark chocolate about 3/4 cup chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Lightly grease and flour three round 8″ cake pans, tapping firmly to remove any excess flour once coated. Set the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil until combined.
- Add milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder and whisk until combined.
- Slowly stir in hot coffee until batter is smooth — it will be thin.
- Divide evenly between prepared pans and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out dry or with moist crumbs. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream, sugar and egg yolks until combined.
- Add butter, and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla.
- Let cool completely to room temperature (to a spreadable consistency) before frosting cooled cakes — if you need to cool quickly, pour into a clean bowl and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, stirring often.
Ganache & Assembly
- In a small pot, melt chocolate and cream together over low heat, stirring often. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Top with 1/3 of the coconut pecan frosting.
- Repeat with remaining two layers, spreading chocolate ganache on the top cake layer and letting set completely before topping with remaining frosting (optional: you can reverse the order, and spread remaining frosting on top cake layer, then spread and drip the ganache on top). Let chocolate cool completely before slicing.
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