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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.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German / American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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.