German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

All of the delicious gooeyness and flavor of German Chocolate Cake comes together easily with this recipe.  A decadent chocolate sheet cake with an irresistible filling that leaves room to frost this cake without the mess of traditional German chocolate cake.

This is a very simple and impressive cake.  The chocolate cake is moist and filled with a sweet coconut-pecan center and topped with an amazingly delicious frosting.

I still don’t know what the best part is; the rich, chocolate cake, the gooey German chocolate filling or the fudgy milk chocolate frosting.

My Recipe

For this cake, I wanted the German filling of coconut, pecans and sweet milk to slightly sink in the cake to make it moist.  The result?  A less messy and goopey cake that is too sticky for plates and makes serving difficult and undesirable.

To be honest, I’ve never really liked German chocolate cake because of the sweet sticky coconut filling/frosting.   The over-moist topping is just uncomfortable to eat and overpowers the cake.  With this cake, I did things a little different and the results were phenomenal.  This sheet cake is delicate yet very flavorful at the same time.

After the cake was done baking, using a sharp knife, I cut off a thin layer from the top to allow the moist German filling to spread in the cake. I love it like this, it is so delicious and not as messy as traditional German Chocolate Cake that is a big, gooey, floating mess on the top.  If you want it messy and more traditional, leave the cake as is.

German Chocolate Cake Bar Recipe

A No-Fuss Alternative

I am not a big fan of boxed, pre-made dry baking mixes, however, if you need something quick dry mixes (Betty Crocker) will work.  I have made the cake both ways and you most certainly cake make the cake layer with a pre-made boxed mix like Betty Crocker.  If using this method is easier, the ingredients listed on the box will be needed to make the cake.  Follow box mix directions.  Additionally, you will need the ingredients for the German filling and frosting.  Follow my directions and steps below.

German chocolate cake is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting.  Instead of doing a traditional cake with 3 round cake pans, this cake is made with a pan that most resembles a sheet cake.

Since I was making this cake for a friend and knew that he would not like that much frosting, I scaled the frosting recipe back and included the thin frosting recipe.  If you would like a must more dense frosting, double it.

Enjoy this German chocolate sheet cake layered evenly by coconut and pecan filling and chocolate frosting.

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

German Chocolate Cake

All of the delicious gooeyness and flavor of German Chocolate Cake comes together easily with this recipe. A decadent chocolate sheet cake with an irresistible filling that leaves room to frost this cake without the mess of traditional German chocolate cake.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine German / American
Servings 12



  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 eggs , beaten

German Filling

  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pecans , chopped - optional


  • 1/3 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350?F. Prepare a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan with foil and grease then lightly flour.
  • In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, cocoa, and water to a boil, stirring frequently and pour over the sugar-flour mixture. Add the milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon and eggs. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow cake to cool a bit. If cake is domed, lift foiled cake out of pan and slightly cut off top of cake to level it. If cake is level, move to next step.
  • Mix sweetened condensed milk, coconut flakes and pecans together and evenly spread over cake. Turn oven on high broil and broil for 1-2 minutes; just until coconut is lightly toasted.
  • To make the frosting, heat butter in microwave to melt. In a medium bowl fit with an electric mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat on low setting and slowly add milk. Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.
  • Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake to frost. To get a thicker frosting because this is very thin, double frosting recipe if desired. Allow frosting to harden slightly before removing/serving.
  • Store tightly covered in refrigerator.


**For this recipe, I thinly sliced the top of the baked cake off so the German filling of sweetened condensed milk would moisten the cake.
**For a quick alternative, use boxed, pre-made German chocolate cake with the ingredients needed to make the cake. The filling and frosting will need to be prepared separate. Bake according to directions.

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it's accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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