German Chocolate Cake Report

Last night I was finally able to cut into German Chocolate Cake number 3. Of the three, it was definitely the best and people seemed to like it.

In the end, I used the traditional recipe but with minor adjustments. To make the cake slightly less sweet, I deducted 1 tablespoon of sugar. To add a bit more chocolate flavor, I added in a tablespoon of natural unsweetened cocoa powder. And finally, to bring out more flavor, I increased the salt a tiny bit.

German Chocolate Cake

Best German Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup water
4 oz. German Chocolate (Baker’s Brand), cut up
1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (10 oz)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt — if using salted butter or margarine, omit or reduce to pinch
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar minus 1 tablespoon
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray and then line with rounds of parchment. This is a tender cake. If you don’t line the pans, it may tear.

Bring water to a boil in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup or small saucepan. Add chocolate to water and stir until it melts. Stir in cocoa powder. Set aside to cool.

Sift together cake flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; Beat in yolks, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. When very well mixed, by hand or using lowest speed of mixer, add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk; When flour is completely absorbed, fold in beaten egg whites.

Divide batter among the three pans and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until they appear set and a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out with moist crumb.s. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then carefully flip from pans. Begin making icing. It’s good to start making the icing as soon as possible, as it needs time to chill.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 1/2 sticks melted butter (6 oz)
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
A pinch or two of salt
2 cups coconut (1 bag of Angel flake)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (toasted)

Whisk butter, evaporated milk, sugar and egg yolks together in a large saucepan. Turn heat to medium and cook mixture, whisking often, until it thickens. This should take about 10 minutes. When thickened and bubbly, remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. It should look thick, but it will still be too runny to use as frosting at this point. Don’t worry, because it will thicken as it cools and will thicken even more as it chills.

Let it cool to room temperature, then stir in the vanilla, salt, pecans and coconut. If you plan on spreading only across the top of the cakes, you can ice the cake now. If you like glopping it onto the sides like I do, it’s best to chill the icing a little so it will adhere to the cake better.

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  1. Janet says

    Thank you! My cousin just told me her favorite cake is German Chocolate Cake and I showed her your blog (she was visiting here and I went online to show her the site;-) Your cake looked beautiful—no big surprise there lol! I want to step into the picture and have a piece of cake…..your photos are inviting. I printed off the malt cake and this German Choc one too…thanks for the recipes.

  2. says

    For my wedding, I had a German Chocolate cake made by someone who has since become one of Nashville’s top pastry chefs. The cake was non-traditional in that the outer layer of frosting was a chocolate buttercream, perhaps to look more wedding like, but inside was the traditional coconut pecan icing. The cake itself was pretty chocolatey and not too sweet. Overall, everyone went crazy for it! I agree that cutting the sweetness and intensifying the chocolate helps for those of us used to a more intense chocolate experience. Thanks for the fun trip through your cake experiments! Glad you found one that was well received.

  3. says

    I’m so glad that it turned out delicious! I was so nervous for you. Whenever I take food somewhere, I like knowing how it tastes before I bring it.

  4. says

    Oh, wow! I am glad this one came out well. I am glad to see that you upped the salt a bit. That is often a complaint of mine with German chocolate–it doesn’t have that…oh, I don’t know…complexity? I think that this version with a little of the sweetness cut out would be my pick for the perfect German Chocolate cake!

  5. says

    CC, I really wanted to make that cake too, but I needed to get out of the house and exercise! It’s still on my list, though.

    Janet, I hope you cousin makes the cake. I’d love a second opinion — especially from someone who really likes German Chocolate Cake.

    Lisa, that cake sounds delicious. This one is still pretty sweet, but I think it retains the true essence of German Chocolate Cake.

    Oaksusu, I always feel awkward taking pictures of my own food at parties. It’s bad enough I do it at home ;).

    Joanna, I was so nervous!

    Cakespy, salt is important. I think a lot of the old recipes use salted butter or margarine, so people left the salt out and found the cake to be okay. Now people use unsalted butter and are probably not adding the salt back into the cake.

  6. Christian says

    That’s german chocolate cake? I’m german and I’ve never seen a chocolate cake like that around in my twenty years 😀

    Sounds and looks nice anyway. Though a picture of the cut cake is missing.

  7. says

    Hello Christian,

    The origin of the cake’s name is in a different post, but you correct. It’s not really German.

    Sadly, I had to take this cake to a party and couldn’t cut it before I left.

    Thanks for visiting Cookie Madness :).

  8. joan says

    Wow, It looks absolutely delicious! So many recipes, so little time……My go-to German Chocolate cake is the Inside Out German chocolate cake, which you can find on It’s a 3-layer cake with a coconut-pecan-dulce de leche filling. What wonderfulness! The outside is then coated in ganache. The bitterness of the ganache offsets the sweetness of the filling. It’s kind of a lot of work if you make the dulce de leche from scratch, as directed in the recipe, but I have also used canned dulce de leche and it is just as good and saves hours of time.

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