Old Fashioned German Chocolate Sheet Cake: A Delightful Dessert for All Occasions

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When it comes to classic desserts, few can compare to the mouthwatering delight of an old fashioned German chocolate sheet cake. This timeless treat has been a favorite among families and friends for generations, thanks to its rich flavor, moist texture, and decadent toppings. Whether you’re hosting a special occasion or simply craving a sweet indulgence, this cake is sure to satisfy your taste buds. In this article, we’ll delve into the delightful world of German chocolate sheet cake, exploring its history, ingredients, and the step-by-step process of creating your very own masterpiece.

The Origin and History of German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake doesn’t actually originate from Germany. Its name is derived from Sam German, an American baker who developed a unique type of dark baking chocolate in the late 19th century. This chocolate was then used to create a delicious cake that gained immense popularity across the United States.

The original German chocolate cake recipe was first published in a Dallas newspaper in 1957, and it quickly became a nationwide sensation. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the sheet cake version gained prominence. The simplicity of this format, coupled with its ability to feed a crowd, made it a hit at family gatherings, potlucks, and celebrations.

The Ingredients That Make It Irresistible

Creating an old fashioned German chocolate sheet cake requires a handful of staple ingredients that come together harmoniously to create a symphony of flavors. The key components include:

1. Chocolate: The star of the show, German chocolate cake relies on high-quality chocolate for its distinctive taste. Opt for a rich, dark chocolate that boasts a cacao content of at least 70% for an intense and indulgent experience.

2. Butter: To achieve that moist and tender crumb, it’s essential to use unsalted butter. Its creamy richness adds depth to the cake, ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth sensation with every bite.

3. Sugar: A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar brings sweetness and caramel notes to the cake, balancing its richness with a touch of subtle sweetness.

4. Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent and contribute to the cake’s structure. They also add moisture and richness to the final product.

5. Buttermilk: Buttermilk gives the cake a tangy flavor and helps to keep it moist. Its acidity also reacts with the baking powder and soda to create a light and airy texture.

The Step-by-Step Process to Bake Your Own German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Now that we’ve explored the background and ingredients, it’s time to dive into the baking process:

Step 1: Preparing the Cake Batter


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix well using a whisk to ensure all the dry ingredients are evenly distributed.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated after each addition.

Step 2: Baking the Cake


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a large sheet cake pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

2. Pour the prepared cake batter into the greased pan, spreading it out evenly using a spatula or the back of a spoon.

3. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 3: Preparing the Coconut-Pecan Frosting


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and reaches a pudding-like consistency.

2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans. Allow the frosting to cool slightly before spreading it over the cooled cake.

Step 4: Assembling and Serving


1. Once the cake has completely cooled, carefully spread the coconut-pecan frosting over the top, ensuring an even distribution.

2. Slice the cake into squares or rectangles, depending on your preference, and serve it on a platter or individual plates.

3. Optionally, you can garnish each slice with a sprinkle of shredded coconut and a pecan half for an extra touch of elegance.


Old fashioned German chocolate sheet cake is a timeless dessert that continues to captivate taste buds with its rich flavors and delightful textures. From its humble beginnings as an American creation, this cake has become a beloved classic, perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, hosting a family gathering, or simply treating yourself to a well-deserved indulgence, this cake is sure to please. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and embark on a baking adventure that will leave everyone craving seconds!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I substitute the dark chocolate with milk chocolate?

No, the rich and intense flavors of dark chocolate are a crucial element of this traditional German chocolate cake recipe. Milk chocolate might result in a less pronounced flavor profile.

2. Can I freeze the cake for later consumption?

Yes, you can freeze German chocolate sheet cake. Wrap individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

3. Is it possible to make this cake without buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute by combining one cup of milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for five minutes before using it in the recipe.

4. Can I add additional toppings to the cake?

Absolutely! While the coconut-pecan frosting is the traditional topping for German chocolate cake, you can get creative and add other toppings such as whipped cream, fresh berries, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

5. How long does the coconut-pecan frosting stay fresh?

The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure to bring it to room temperature and give it a good stir before using it to ensure a smooth consistency.

Now that you have all the knowledge and steps at your disposal, it’s time to embark on your German chocolate sheet cake baking adventure. Enjoy the process and savor the delicious results!

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