German Chocolate Cake

Here is my hubby’s birthday cake, a German chocolate cake from David Lebovitz. I made a few minor changes, based on the ingredients I had on hand. Growing up, my Dad’s and my favorite cake to have on our birthdays was German Chocolate cake. However, this isn’t my mom’s recipe. Hers was the Betty Crocker or bought from the local bakery type of recipe. Its been over 10 years since he passed, and I am now getting back to enjoying the foods that we loved together, like this cake. I was hoping my hubby would enjoy this cake as much as my Dad and I use to, and I think he loved it more, but of course who wouldn’t? This version is the best German Chocolate Cake I have ever had. It was perfectly moist and full of flavor. I learned from David’s site that the German chocolate cake isn’t actually German at all, but an American invention by the Baker’s chocolate company. The founder of Baker’s Chocolate was Mr. Samuel German, hence the name of the first recipe, German’s Chocolate Cake.

My son thought the cake it would be more fun with colorful sprinkles and lots of candles, here it is after Julien fixed it:

And here is the cake after I attempted to fix it. I turned my back to work on the frosting and Julien then thought it would be a good idea to use the Christmas cookie cutters to try and cut out the layers. He ate a few big chunks out of the cakes, but I was pretty impressed how much I could cover with the frosting.


German Chocolate Cake Recipe



4 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted


1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons spiced or dark rum

Chocolate Icing

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter 2 - 9 inch cake pans and add parchment paper with more butter.
2. Melt chocolate in water in microwave or double boiler. Stir until smooth and set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add chocolate and mix well. Add egg yolks one at time.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
5. Add half the dry ingredients to the stand mixer, then the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Than add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Add sugar and continue until you have stiff peaks.
7. Fold about a third if the egg whites into the cake batter. Then fold the rest of the egg whites into the cake batter until you don't see the white of the eggs anymore.
8. Place the cake batter into two separate cake pans and bake about 45 minutes, or until the cakes pass the toothpick test.
9. Cool cake layers.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

For the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Add the butter, salt, toasted coconut, and toasted pecans to a large bowl.
2. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon, or until the temp reaches 170°.
3. Pour the hot mixture immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken as it cools.)

For the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil until sugar dissolves in water. Remove from heat and add rum.

For the icing:

1. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.
2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate mixture. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until mixture reaches room temperature.
3. If your room is a little warm, you may have to put it in the fridge for a few minutes to get the frosting to thicken up.

Assembly of the cake:

1. Remove cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
2. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush with syrup. Spread 1/4 of the coconut filling over the cake layer. Set another cake layer on top.
3. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 1/4 of the coconut filling over each layer.
4. Ice the sides and top with the chocolate icing. Top with the last 1/4 of the filling.

13 Responses to “German Chocolate Cake”

  1. 1
    Lindaraxa — July 13, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    You did well! and David did even better…love his decorations!

  2. 2
    Tickled Red — July 13, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    There was always a German chocolate cake around for someones birthday when I was growing up! Beautiful darlin’!!

  3. 3
    Karen — July 13, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

    German chocolate cake is what I always have for my birthday. They are one of my favorite cakes! We always had them with the coconut-pecan filling on the top and between layers. The dark chocolate side look delicious, I’m going to have to try it that way.

  4. 4
    Kim — July 13, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

    This looks outrageously decadent. Isn’t it funny that it’s not from Germany? I suppose tales from the Black Forest sound so intriguing and dark- that of course having us think it was from Germany would only add that much more mystique and desire.

    I would eat this up with cookie cutters, a big spoon, my hands…anything would do. Just gimme.

  5. 5
    Ann — July 13, 2010 @ 9:12 pm


  6. 6
    Paige — July 13, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    This is my all-time favorite recipe for German Chocolate cake! LOVE it!! I don’t care that it takes practically all day to make it… so worth it 🙂 I’m not even a huge fan of German Chocolate cake!

  7. 7
    Monet — July 13, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

    What a wonderful way to celebrate your husband’s special day!

  8. 8
    momgateway — July 13, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

    your creations are always so pretty…

  9. 9
    Carla — July 14, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

    I want a slice of that cake – ASAP!

  10. 10
    grace — July 14, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    while the combination of cake and frosting is good, i would be perfectly content to hunker down with just a bowl of the frosting–i think it’s my favorite of all cake-toppers.

  11. 11
    Foodierama — July 15, 2010 @ 2:21 am

    German Chocolate Cake #foodie

  12. 12
    Kathleen — July 15, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

    I soooo love german chocolate cake. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Nice save job btw!

  13. 13
    Austin — December 22, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

    You did a marvelous repair job!! I’ve been tasked to make one of these for Christmas dinner, wish me luck!