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The Most Amazing German Chocolate Cake is moist, rich, and layered with the most delicious coconut pecan filling. This is the German Chocolate Cake you’ve been dreaming of!

A whole German Chocolate Cake on a cake stand.

Whatever happened to good old fashioned chocolate cake? Obviously the standard chocolate cake recipe is still alive and well over here at The Stay At Home Chef, and you all sure do seem to love it! While we are still head over heels for The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake, we have also come to recognize that there is so much variety in chocolate cake out there. Luckily for you, we are here to help you navigate the world of chocolate cake.

Between devils food cake, red velvet, and German chocolate cake, it is easy to get these all mixed up. Fortunately, there are plenty of distinguishing traits once you bite into them! German chocolate is easily identifiable due to its coconut pecan filling. While the chocolate cake itself just can’t be beat, it is the filling that truly makes this the most amazing German chocolate cake ever!

Can I make German Chocolate Cake in a 9×13 pan?

Yes, you can! No changes needed! If you’d rather make this into a single 9×13 rather than a 2 layer round cake, go right ahead!

Can I use milk instead of buttermilk?

We recommend using buttermilk for the best result. Luckily enough, making a buttermilk substitute is really easy! Just add 1 teaspoons of white vinegar to your milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Voila! Buttermilk!

Dairy-Free Options:

You can certainly make this cake dairy free. Substitute the milk or buttermilk by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to your preferred plant based milk. Soy, almond, and oat milk are all good options. Let stand 5 minutes before using. For the frosting, use a dairy-free frosting.

Gluten-Free Options:

This recipe has not been tested with any of the many gluten-free substitutions and replacement options available. If you want to try this recipe using a gluten-free alternative, we recommend using a gluten free flour blend that is designed to directly replace all-purpose flour in the same amount.

 Egg Substitutes:

There are several options that work well when substituting for eggs in cakes.

  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt per egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar+ 1 teaspoon baking powder whisked together per egg
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana per egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce per egg

Buttercream: Optional?

German Chocolate Cake can be made with or without buttercream. The important required elements for this cake are the chocolate cake itself and the coconut pecan filling. Chocolate buttercream can be used to frost the outside edges of the cake and for decoration, but it is not used in between the layers or on top of the cake. Whether or not you include chocolate buttercream on your German Chocolate Cake is a matter of personal preference. 

Storage Instructions: 

Store your German Chocolate cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chocolate cake recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

A German chocolate cake on a cake stand.
The Most Amazing German Chocolate Cake is moist, rich, and layered with the most delicious coconut pecan filling. This is the German Chocolate Cake you've been dreaming of!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coconut Pecan Filling

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Chocolate Buttercream (optional)

  • 1 cup salted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch cake rounds and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed until smooth.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely.

Coconut Pecan Filling

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in sugar and brown sugar until combined.
  • Add in egg yolks, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat for 12 to 14 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat and stir in coconut flakes and pecans. Let cool completely before assembling cake.

Chocolate Buttercream (optional)

  • Make the frosting by In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy using a hand mixer. Add in cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Add in 1 tablespoon milk or cream to thin out. Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating in between until combined. Add up to two more tablespoons milk or cream as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency. Transfer to piping bag(s) for frosting.


  • Use half of the coconut pecan filling and spread in between the two chocolate cake layers. Spread the other half on top of the cake.
  • If using buttercream, spread the frosting on the outside of the cake and use a piping tip to decorate the top edge.


Calories: 659kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 691IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: German Chocolate Cake
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