Old-Fashioned Homemade German Chocolate Cake: A Delicious Taste of Tradition

A Delectable Delight for Cake Lovers


German chocolate cake is a mouthwatering dessert that has stood the test of time. It offers a delightful combination of rich chocolate, creamy coconut-pecan frosting, and an unforgettable burst of flavor. This classic cake recipe has been enjoyed by generations, bringing families together over the years to celebrate special occasions.

A Brief History of German Chocolate Cake


Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake does not actually originate from Germany. The name German refers to Samuel German, an American chocolatier who developed a unique type of dark baking chocolate in the mid-19th century. It was this chocolate that became the star ingredient in the creation of this beloved cake.

The first known recipe for German chocolate cake appeared in a Dallas newspaper in 1957. It quickly gained popularity and spread like wildfire across the United States. Since then, it has become a staple in American households, cherished for its irresistible taste and nostalgic charm.

Traditional Recipe: Precise and Perfect


Creating an authentic old-fashioned German chocolate cake requires precision and attention to detail. While it may seem daunting at first, the effort is well worth the reward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you recreate this timeless dessert:


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 batch of homemade coconut-pecan frosting (see recipe below)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by greasing and flouring them.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Mix well until smooth and fully combined.
  4. Gradually add the boiling water to the batter, stirring continuously. The batter will be thin, but that’s perfectly normal.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cakes are completely cooled, generously frost each layer with the homemade coconut-pecan frosting.
  8. For a finishing touch, sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on top of the cake and enjoy!

A Slice of Heaven: Coconut-Pecan Frosting


The crowning glory of a German chocolate cake is undoubtedly its luscious coconut-pecan frosting. This unique frosting adds a delightful texture and a burst of nutty sweetness to every bite. Here’s how you can make it from scratch:


  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla extract.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes golden brown. This should take around 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
  4. Allow the frosting to cool to room temperature before generously spreading it between the cake layers and on top.

A Cake for Every Occasion


German chocolate cake is a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed on various occasions. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or simply craving a slice of sheer indulgence, this cake never disappoints. Its rich flavor and nostalgic appeal make it a favorite among cake lovers of all ages.


Indulging in a slice of old-fashioned homemade German chocolate cake is like taking a trip back in time. This classic dessert, with its rich chocolate layers and decadent coconut-pecan frosting, has been delighting taste buds for decades. Its timeless charm and irresistible taste continue to bring joy and create cherished memories for families around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I freeze German chocolate cake?

Yes, you can freeze German chocolate cake. Wrap each individual slice tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw the slices in the refrigerator before enjoying.

2. Can I use a different type of frosting?

While the coconut-pecan frosting is traditional for German chocolate cake, you can certainly experiment with other frostings if desired. However, keep in mind that the unique flavor combination of the classic frosting is what makes this cake truly special.

3. Can I substitute buttermilk with regular milk?

Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and tender texture to the cake. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of regular milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

4. How long does German chocolate cake stay fresh?

Properly stored in an airtight container, German chocolate cake can stay fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, it can last for up to a week.

5. Can I use a different type of chocolate?

While the original recipe calls for German sweet chocolate, you can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the taste and texture of the cake may vary slightly.

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