Homemade German Chocolate Cake

Homemade German Chocolate Cake is a yummy recipe to make the German chocolate cake, coconut pecan filling, and chocolate ganache from scratch.

German chocolate cake has been one of my favorite cakes for as long as I can remember.

cake sliced into layers.

However, I’m not a fan of the mix version. There are some mixes that are pretty good – like angel food cake mixes. I haven’t had any German chocolate cake mixes that were very good, so if I’m going to have one, it’s got to be homemade.

Pouring ganache onto german chocolate cake layer

This homemade German chocolate cake recipe looks like there’s a lot to it. It really isn’t as bad as it looks, though, because I tried to break everything down as much as possible.

coconut frosting on German chocolate cake layer

This method for making homemade German chocolate cake is an easy way to make a layer cake without having to use multiple pans.

Layers stacked in German chocolate cake

One tip – if you happen to cut one layer a little larger than the others, use that layer as the bottom layer of the cake.

Slice of homemade German chocolate cake

Disclaimer: Recipe nutrition facts are estimates.

Homemade German Chocolate Cake

Easy three-layer German chocolate cake. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 451 kcal
Author i heart eating



  • 2 ounces German's sweet baking chocolate chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup (155 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) buttermilk

Coconut Pecan Topping

  • 1/2 cup (103 g) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup (45 g) shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) chopped pecans


  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (51 g) heavy cream


  1. To make the cake, preheat oven 350 F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan, and then line with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Place chocolate and cocoa powder in small, heatproof bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water over the chocolate and cocoa powder; stir until smooth.
  4. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  5. Beat coconut oil and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until just incorporated.
  7. Reduce speed to low, and beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
  8. Stir in half of the flour mixture, the buttermilk, and then the other half of the flour mixture, stirring in each until just combined.
  9. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks, about 4-5 minutes.
  10. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
  11. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  12. Bake about 20-30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  13. Cool completely in pan.
  14. To make the coconut pecan topping, combine cream, cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Make sure that the cornstarch is fully incorporated before you begin cooking the mixture.

  15. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken and bubble, about 10 minutes.
  16. Cook, whisking the entire time, for 2 minutes more. Be sure to keep whisking because it can easily scorch at this point.

  17. Remove from heat.
  18. Fold in vanilla, coconut, and pecans, and then cool until thickened, about 30 minutes.

  19. To make the ganache, place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.

  20. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.

  21. Pour cream over chocolate, and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes without stirring.

  22. Uncover, and whisk until melted and smooth.

  23. To put it all together, lift cake out of the pan.
  24. Using a serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 3 equal-sized rectangles about 4 1/2x9-inches each.
  25. Coat the first layer of cake with 1/3 of the ganache, then cover evenly with 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling.

  26. Repeat with remaining cake layers, ganache, and filling.
  27. Leave sides of cake naked.
  28. Let cake set for 1-2 hours before slicing.
  29. Cover, and refrigerate any leftover cake.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade German Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 43%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 204mg 9%
Potassium 144mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 46g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 32g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 7.5%
Vitamin C 0.1%
Calcium 4.5%
Iron 10.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Adapted from The Sprinkles Baking Book.

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