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German Chocolate Cake

November 10, 2011

Sooo, I made another cake this past weekend…

A very merry unbirthday to me. Yes, me.

No, no special occasion, just a random Sunday evening.

Welcome to my life. I can have my cake and eat it too. So can you. And then tell me about it because I’m starting to feel like I’m talking to an empty computer screen.

As amazing as this cake was, I have to be honest; it took me a while to construct. But it was worth every saturated fat and calorie. My best friends claimed it was “one of the best pieces of cake they’ve ever tasted,” it “tasted unreal,” and “you need to enter contests, it’s that good.” So in brief, DO NOT try to take any short-cuts on this recipe! If I find out you skipped out on the rum syrup or used premade frosting I will find you. It won’t be pretty.

German Chocolate Cake recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats (originally from David Lebovitz):

For the cake:

2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons water

4 large eggs, separated

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1½ cups sugar, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ tteaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoonvanilla extract

For the rum syrup:

1 cup water

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

For the filling:

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups sugar

6 large egg yolks

12 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped

2 2/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the icing:

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the sides of the pans; set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler (or the microwave in short bursts), melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate with the water, stirring until smooth.  Set aside until the mixture cools to room temperature.
  3. In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft droopy peaks.  Slowly add ¼ cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl and return the mixer bowl to the mixer base.
  4. In the bowl the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with 1¼ cups of the sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the melted chocolate.  Mix in the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  5. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture on low speed just until incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it.  Then fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cakes are cooling, make the rum syrup.  Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.  Off the heat, stir in the rum.
  8. To make the filling, combine the cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan.  Put the butter, pecans and coconut in a mixing bowl; set aside.  Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (170-175° F.)  Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted.  Cool completely to room temperature.  The mixture will thicken as it cools. (*Note – I found that my filling was still a bit thin even after cooling.  I mixed in more coconut and that thickened it up perfectly.  Probably depends on how tightly packed the coconut is in measuring.)
  9. To make the icing, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.  Heat the cream just until it begins to boil.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth.  Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough for decorating.
  10. To assemble the cake, cut the two cake layers in half horizontally to yield four layers.  Set the first layer on a cake circle, cut side up.  Brush well with the rum syrup.  Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach the edges.  Set another cake layer on top of the filling.  Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.  Ice the sides of the cake with the chilled chocolate icing.  Pipe a decorative border around the top layer, encircling the coconut topping.

**The first time I made this cake, I used the original measurements for the coconut-pecan filling. However, I doubled the measurements on this recipe because I found people preferred a lot more of the filling!

28 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2011 8:44 am

    That looks too good to be alone with and too high cal for me to make, but I will drool all over the pictures. A local restaurant here makes an extraordinary GCC and they add whole toasted macadamia nuts as a garnish, like the cake isn’t over the top enough, but the saltiness plays off the sweetness.

    • November 10, 2011 8:49 am

      I am the same way! I took one sliver and then pawned it off to all of my friends… It was too dangerously good to leave hanging around in my kitchen. But you can always make it for a holiday party! I like the idea of the salty garnish, thanks!

  2. bpeschell permalink
    November 10, 2011 8:47 am

    I will comment just so you don’t feel lonely :). The cake looks truly delish even though I am not coconut’s biggest fan. I love that it has chocolate frosting on the side and the little dollops of frosting along the border you added for decoration. This does look time consuming though and not something I would throw together on a weeknight. Thanks for the posting! my dad and son-in-law are big fans of german chocolate cake. I love Lebovitz’s stuff too!

    • November 10, 2011 8:54 am

      You are too sweet, Becky! I think my next Lebovitz adventure will be his Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake! What is your favorite from his site?!

  3. Pamela Butterworth permalink
    November 10, 2011 9:53 am

    This sounds heavenly ~ even at early morning hours. German Chocolate is my favorite. If I ever get a day off and access to a proper kitchen I will attempt this amazing looking cake! Thanks for offering up the temptation!

    • November 10, 2011 10:05 am

      I may or may not have dug into the cake after taking pictures of it at 8AM haha!! I hope you get the chance to make it, it’s too delicious to pass up!

  4. Jessie permalink
    November 10, 2011 9:57 am


    • November 10, 2011 10:06 am

      But is it Thanksgiving/Christmas dessert worthy?? I have a few other ideas for seasonal desserts that are equally exciting!

  5. Terrylee permalink
    November 10, 2011 12:46 pm

    Who says it always has t be about pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving? ANYONE can get pumpkin pie but no one can just go out and get one of these cakes! I say it’s definitely Thanksgiving-worthy. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s worthy of any special holiday /celebration.

  6. kelsey permalink
    November 10, 2011 2:17 pm


    • November 10, 2011 3:18 pm

      I gave it all away :(… But can we have a baking date next week? Mornings work best for me (lighting, of course)!

  7. Rachel permalink
    November 10, 2011 3:46 pm

    Will you please make this when your home?

  8. Becky permalink
    November 11, 2011 9:18 pm

    I have almost every ingredient to make this cake…IT IS FAR TOO TEMPTING. But I literally just binged on cupcakes earlier this week for birthdays, so perhaps I shall save it for another special occasion over the holidays…but bravo, this looks truly delicious! 🙂 (And beautifully decorated!)

  9. November 13, 2011 8:04 pm

    It looks so good and pretty too! I don’t think I’ve ever had a german chocolate cake before. I think I may need to change that.

  10. November 13, 2011 10:39 pm

    Stunning! What PERFECT Chocolate frosting on the edges! WOW! 😀

  11. November 17, 2011 10:55 am

    Oh my, German Chocolate is my favorite. Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ve never tried to make one from scratch.

  12. Laurel Tatsey permalink
    November 29, 2012 2:05 pm

    Amazing…. definitely melts in your mouth…. made it and it received rave reviews. This will definitely be a keeper. Highly recommend it!!!!

  13. July 13, 2013 10:52 pm

    I just made this for my husband’s birthday and it looks amazing and all of the individual components were yummy! I can’t wait to sample the end result!

  14. Sabrina permalink
    October 30, 2013 11:41 am

    I made this cake last night, it was good except for the personal mistakes i made BUT just know to give yourself a lot of time before diving into this labor intensive recipe

  15. rachel permalink
    November 27, 2013 4:47 pm

    Does this recipie amounts in the filling section account for you doubling it or do we need to double the amounts listed to get enough filling? Thank you

  16. Natasha Lamb permalink
    October 28, 2014 11:31 am

    Im making this for the second time. I made it for my husband’s birthday last year and it is hands down the best cake I have ever tasted! Definitely worth all of the effort!


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